Connor Campbell and Harry Butt on creating the animated music video for Dua Lipa’s latest track – in one week
For their first collaboration, Harry Butt and Connor Campbell create the visuals for Hallucinate, a single from Dua Lipa’s Mercury-nominated new album, Future Nostalgia.
- Jyni Ong
- 3 August 2020
The project kicked off with a mere two words and a week to complete the job from start to finish. Motion designer and art director Connor Campbell, and graphic designer Harry Butt were presented with no mean feat, but by looking at the result – Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate visualiser – you would never have guessed it.
Those two words were “90s rave” an appealing starting point for the first time collaborators, who immediately started to conjure up all the classic tropes: lasers, strobe lights and of course, dancers. Following this, the London-based creatives considered rave flyers, an aesthetic DIY language which informed the typography of the bopping, head-nodding track. Drawing on these references in equal measures with a nod to the vivid clothing from the era, the visualiser for Dua Lipa’s three-and-a-half-minute banger was complete.
“Harry and I had been trying to find a chance to work together since the start of the year,” Connor tells us of this much-anticipated collaboration, “so we really saw this as our opportunity to make something that is a true fusion of our skillsets.” Throwing an amalgamation of motion tests, typographic lockups, quick experiments back and forth to one another, the final video is a culmination of this playfulness; evident in the fast-moving energy of the flowing animation. Expressing his excitement for the project from the other side of the screen, over the past few years, Harry “just wanted to find a way to be in Connor’s world somehow.”
After forcing his way into a social relationship with Connor, he tells us cheekily, “I recently broke through to his animation brain and now we both live there.” It’s a fruitful partnership that the two will continue to grow, there’s a new studio on the cards, a “super exciting” development which will accompany both creatives’ respective practices. “If lockdown has taught me anything,” continues Harry, “it’s the importance of sharing a physical space with people you work with. I’m not great on Zoom.”
Working on the visuals from opposite sides of the country (Harry and Connor’s respective lockdown residences) it wasn’t easy to ping renders across given Connor’s unstable countryside wifi “where I have only one spot in the middle of a field that gets any decent signal to hotspot my phone to,” says Connor. So whatever’s in store for the next collaboration, Connor and Harry have much to look forward to – a smoother internet connection for starters.
Aside from the technical issues that have come hand in hand with the current times, as you can imagine, the one-week turnaround also spun its own limitations. After designing a range of typographic lockups to accompany the liquid-like visuals, there simply wasn’t enough time to try animating all of the experiments. In turn, Connor and Harry had to make some tough decisions from the get-go, ruthlessly cutting the least favourite designs and swiftly moving onto the next aspect of the work.
In a whirlwind of email introductions and Zoom meetings, there was a lot to consider and a lot of people to keep in the loop. One of many discussions revolved around the kind of dancing figure Connor and Harry wanted to represent. “You see a lot of overly-sexualised skinny 3D characters and it’s not really helping anyone’s mental health around body image,” explains Harry. “We have the opportunity in 3D or even art and design, in general, to redesign what a body can be – the possibilities are literally infinite. So why lean on damaging body types?” Keen to use this opportunity to explore alternative silhouettes for a human figure in the pop world, Harry hopes to explore this concept in further detail in the future.
Breathing inspiration and injecting sparks of fluorescent colours to Dua Lipa’s latest hit, the final film brings the definition of the title Hallucinate to life. “This is definitely the first of many beautiful collaborations to come for Harry Butt and Connor Campbell (AKA Butt-Bell™ (unofficial title)),” Connor goes on to say, “and we’ve proven we can work really well together under pressure. So with that in mind, hopefully, our next project won’t be so time-sensitive so we can have lots more room for exploration and refining. If this is what we can do in one week, imagine what we could do in two!”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.