Director: Patrick Kennelly

Director: Patrick Kennelly

Artist: Clipping.

Video: Body & blood

How were you approached for the job?

I’ve been really good friends of the Clipping. guys for many years now, and have worked with them as a group and also individually in many different collaborative capacities. Currently, Jonathan (of Clipping.) is actually the composer and sound designer for the feature film I have in post-production.

When their album was nearing completion, the guys in Clipping. sent it over and asked me if I was interested in doing one of the videos. They gave me free reign to pick out what jumped out to me, and of course it was “Body & Blood” immediately. It happened that that was a single they were leaning on, so it worked out great.

What inspired you on your idea for the video?

Because Clipping. and myself are generally on the same wavelength, there wasn’t a lot of highly specific direction given for the final result. Originally there was a very particular idea for a video that revolved around something much more abstract than what we ended up with - super-slow-motion CUs of extreme BDSM, and this idea of genderless flesh - “equal-opportunity exploitation.” When we got around to making the video, I took these initial ideas and shook it up with some other thematics and aesthetics I was interested in exploring that seemed appropriate… and, well, you see the final result!

Music videos are the short form I think is the most expansive and free for playing with narrative structure, something I’m very interested in. It’s very important to me that all of the visuals and their juxtaposition connect to core ideas and have an inevitable purpose. Whether independently or in-conjunction of what’s happening with the song. The problem I feel with a lot of music videos these days is that it becomes a lot of “throwing at the wall and seeing what sticks,” and, in turn, creating ever more outrageous (whether violent, sexual, playful) imagery that doesn’t have much to say on its own, least of all relate to what’s going on with the music. 

And that’s where it all begins for me, what stories the song is speaking to me and how I can viscerally recreate those onscreen in my own way. I don’t like talking too much directly about the thematics of a completed work. The audience projection and their individual perspectives derived are of more interest to me, but suffice it to say, one of the principal questions I had for myself was; how do you make an exploitative, voyeuristic piece ABOUT exploitation and voyeurism? As is the case with previous projects I’ve done, and similar questions I’ve posed myself, it’s about removing the anticipatory elements. Blood, physical violence, a salacious use of sexual elements and letting the audience’s minds fill in the blanks. 

Of course, how the final result is ended up with can be a bit convoluted (to explain). The way I generally like working, particularly on these smaller projects, is kind-of akin to action painting. I pick out all the specific paints - performers, images, props, what have you - and then, in the shooting, its just allowing these elements to combustively ignite and seeing what direction that story leads. I know I have the right elements, and each of these contains a seed of a narrative thread. But how they work together, I have no idea until I put it together in the editing.

What was the budget?

$1,000 USD

Tell us about the production process?

Very low key. We shot for 4 days with a crew essentially of myself and 3 - 4 others, depending on the day (not including the performers), predominantly using green-screen. 

What were the limitations you faced with the production?

It would be really easy here to say (and I’m sure many people do) money, time and crew. But, honestly, this is a weak excuse. Would the video have been any better with more money and a larger team to execute it? I don’t necessarily think so. I’ve found, one can actually experiment a lot more and get a lot more material the smaller the machine is. The small collaborative team involved in this project was there because they believed in and were excited by the project, not because of a “job” per se’. While each person has to pick up more weight, I can personally say I probably had a lot more “fun” doing this than I’ve had on projects that involve a higher budget and/or larger crew. The percentage is weighted more towards play than problem solving.

What was the turnaround?

Essentially one month. I shot the band first over a night and then all the other material was done over a 3-day weekend a few weeks later. I did all the post myself directly inside Premiere Pro CC, the comping, split screens, colour correct, everything. Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that kind of workflow.

Who were your key collaborators?

My director-of-photography was Trevor Baker, who I’ve worked with on a ton of projects over the past few years, from video art pieces to an experimental documentary we shot in South Sudan. 
My producing assistant on this was Simona Kessler, a young woman who’s been very quickly establishing herself as a strong producing force. She’s been involved in a many projects I’ve done over the past two years, most recently as a Co-Producer on the feature I directed. 
The excellent makeup artist Jutamard Kobkijtanaruang was an intern on that feature and did an amazing job here with a budget of exactly $0.

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

We shot on the Canon 5D Mark 2 and the Sony FS700. 

The FS700 was chosen because it was the cheapest we could find that would allow us to shoot very high frame-rates. Most of the video was shot at 120 or 240fps. Recording on a regular flash-card with that camera, which is what we had to do, you only get 8-16 second bursts at such framerates. So that was a bit of a trick!

In terms of lenses, we did a bit with a 50 and 85mm, but most was actually shot with a 180mm macro lens!

How involved were the band and label?

As you can see from some of my answers to previous questions, both Clipping. and SubPop gave me complete creative freedom and were nothing but fluid and supportive through the entire process. I’m pretty darn sure that’s a rare thing.

Tell us about the casting and the performers.

The casting was a combination of people I or my other producer, Simona Kessler knew. And also through an open casting call I put out. In casting, I’m always looking for particular individuals that are unique and or interest me and then I in part shape the role around them, versus trying to shoehorn specific types into roles.

Were there challenges working with nudity at all?

None whatsoever. It was very clear in the casting that it was going to be full nudes and I was very clear about the intents and purposes of it. 

Where did you shoot it?

We shot at Highways Performance Space, where I have worked for the last decade or so. I’m very familiar with this space and have shot in here many times before. 

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

Everything probably! Though the least helpful part for me of the creative and production process is looking back. 

Photo credit for the BTS: Simona Kessler


  1. Great work, deeply disturbing and moving video, fabulous professionality! I'm a fan!! - The Delusional Diva


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