When the It’s Nice That team first saw the video Hamill Industries has created for new Floating Points track Last Bloom there was some serious debate about how it had been made. In the film, which launches today alongside the announcement of the electronic musician’s new album (due out 18 October on Ninja Tune), the viewer moves through a totally magical, ethereally lit landscape of growing plants and flowers. We watch seedings burst out of the ground, succulents bloom luscious flowers, Venus flytraps spring closed, and even an intricate network of roots systems light up like nerve endings. If it was CGI how on earth did they get the textures and movement so incredibly realistic? But no-one could be crazy enough to attempt shooting this IRL, could they?
Turns out Hamill Industries (aka the Barcelona-based studio founded by Pablo Barquín and Anna Diaz) could. Filmed over 30 days, the team built numerous scale models of each of the otherworldly landscapes, and fitted out the set with five-axis robot arms, proprietary motorised sliders and turntables to allow the camera to seamlessly glide through this vertiginous world. Enlisting producer Belén Palos and director of photography Nathan Grimes, Hamill Industries used a whole host of different lenses (including a macro probe lens) to capture the complexity of the worlds they’d created. The entire project required a crack team, including plant arrangement help from Jeanette Ramirez and Sauvage Studios, props by Carles Clemente and landscaping by Enric Sant.
“Most of the effects were achieved in-camera by using lasers, motion controls and computer-controlled LED lighting,” the team at Hamill Industries tells It’s Nice That. “The time-lapses seen throughout the film were shot in some cases over several days with the use of programmed rigs.” In the final wormhole scene, more than 14 meters of tunnels were either built or 3D printed, and the final section was LED programmed to achieve the colourful lighting effects. “The whole sequence was later stitched in the compositing stage to achieve the dramatic odyssey towards the video’s meta-final,” the team adds.
Alongside this feat, Hamill Industries will also be creating a live show for Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd) to accompany a tour coinciding with the album release in October. Whereas previous live collaborations between Shepherd and the Barcelona studio have made use of their reactive laser technology, this new show will create responsive landscapes where flowers of rainbow-hued bubbles will morph to match his beats. The visuals may “look like a cosmos of colour going on,” Shepherd says in a statement, “but it’s actually a tiny bubble with a macro lens on it being moved by frequencies by my Buchla, which was also the process by which the LP artwork was made. It means putting a lot of Fairy Liquid on our tour rider.” Watch the video below.