Chris Ullens has directed a new music video for Orange Rex County AKA Alex O’Connor and his latest track Loving is Easy featuring Benny Sings. A stop-motion performance video, Chris was given just an image of a psychedelic living room for reference, which inspired the aesthetic of the film.
“My animation brain loved all the patterns and weird objects from Alex’s reference and straightaway I imagined a room where things would start moving,” says Chris. “The track itself gave me that ‘floating on air’ feeling with it being so dreamy, so that’s where the idea came from of a performance that starts in a more realistic way and as the music plays evolves into this animated version of itself.”
Early on Chris worked with a small team to create the video with Jamie Durand as director of photography, and Jack Needle and Will Hooper as art directors. “The budget was rather restricted, so Jack and Will designed it all first with a retro-inspired colour scheme we came up with and then used their crafty talents to translate it all with very standard DIY shop type of materials, paint and so on. And it looks so rich and nice in the end,” says Chris.
The result is a charming video with trippy elements and the sweet characters, which were created by Alex Williams, bring personality to the animation. “We gave [Alex] pictures of the characters and although she was very busy, she worked weekends and evenings around her main job to come up with those two gorgeous miniature versions of Alex and Benny, with made-to-measure clothing and shoes!”
The animation of the characters and objects in the room was led by the track and its tempo. “We translated the track’s beat into a frame count so we knew how many beats per frame would happen and how many frames there were in between piano notes,” explains Chris. “The great team at Feed Me Light animated the eye blinks and Alex’s singing mouth in post-production animation once the shoot was finished and the editing done. We didn’t have the time to animate these for real and it’s always very neat and convincing when done in post.”
This project was the first time Chis had created a synchronised performance in stop-motion. “I have to say that seeing the miniature characters perform the track on their little instruments is something I find delightful and mesmerising,” he says.