Director: Chino Moya

Director: Chino Moya

Artist: St Vincent

Video: Digital Witness

How were you approached for the job?

It came through Beth and Carrie the music video reps at HSI, my production company in London.

What inspired you on your idea for the video?

Mainly the idea of creating a dull and simplified world. Something in the verge of being CGI, but still real. Some kind of colourful upbeat dystopia.

The locations in the video remind me so much of Jeffery Smart's paintings. Was his work a major influence for the video's look?

Didn't know about his work. It has a very similar vibe actually. The painter that was a big influence was Neo Rauch. Not much in the look, but in the tone and the absurd functionality of the character's actions.

Did the client have any pre ideas in the brief, or was it an open brief to begin with?

The brief was quite open, but they mentioned things like "tecnoparanoia" and sent a few references from artist's that I really like, like Ryan Trecartin. I gathered from their brief that they were looking for something slightly dystopian. But without the usual ominous morals, so I offered them the idea of a colourful simplified world.

What was the budget?

The budget was 20k GBP, so we had to pull endless favours to make it happen.

Tell us about the production process?

As in most of music videos there were a lot of time and budget constrains. For this particular project we had a very limited time for the pre-production. Only four working days.
I'm still surprised we managed to pull everything together. We needed to find a lot of locations with a very specific look, a cast of 18 people, make the entire wardrobe... And it was the week before Christmas. We actually shot it on the 22nd of December.
Luckily we had a whole month for the post-production. Which was just enough.

Who were your key collaborators?

DOP: Pau Castejón
Set Designer: Stephane Carpinelli
Stylist: Maria Elena Soria
Hair and Makeup: Beatriz Matallana

Have you worked with any of them before?

I've worked with Stephane, the set designer, and Maria Elena, the stylist, a lot of times in the past. Pau and Bea are new additions to the team, but hopefully we'll all work together again. We are either friends or have friends in common. 
I like establishing personal connections with the people I work with and ideally become friends with them. The process, which is rarely easy, becomes more enjoyable.

What did you shoot on? What lenses did you use?

We shot with two Alexas with Zeiss T2.1 (primes) and a zoom angenieux 17-102mm.

Where were the actual locations you shot at?

It was all shot in Madrid, where I grew up. Ten years ago, during the housing bubble, they built a lot of new areas in the outskirts of the city. But they ran out of money they couldn't build the subway, schools etc, as they promised so the areas ended up half empty and half finished. Now there are just a bunch of big buildings standing in the middle of nowhere. 

Was there much compositing done for those external scenes?

There was a lot of compositing. Every single exterior shot has been retouched. And also a lot of work was put on deleting everything from the streets (cars, people, road signs, windows, trees...). It was entirely made in Nuke over a month by a post house in Madrid called UserT38.

Here is a breakdown of the post-production:

How involved were the band and label?

I always wish there would be more time for pre-production in music videos, but that is how the industry works. In any case Annie Clarke, the artist, and Adam Farrel, from the label, were fully involved in the process and made wise comments all the way through. They pushed it always in the right direction.

If you had a chance to approach it again, what would you do differently?

Many things and none... It's hard to say in this one. It is one of these projects in which we were very lucky. All the things that could, had gone wrong - and there were a lot of them - nothing did go wrong. There are obviously some little details here and there that I could had changed, but only small stuff. The kind of things that used to bother me as I finished the video, but that I don't notice anymore.

You can see the rest of Chino's work at his website: 


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