Sacha Beeley uses repetition as a narrative tool in her first music video for Babeheaven

The animator’s first attempt at making a music video impresses with its structural charm and Sacha’s brilliant character development.

29 October 2020


Making a music video is almost a right of passage for many animators, a sentiment shared by London-based animator Sacha Beeley. Longterm fans of Sacha’s since spotting her graduate film Big Toast from Central Saint Martins, and catching up with her brilliant character design in a series of spots for Adult Swim, Sacha returns to It’s Nice That today with her very first music video.

Providing a visual narrative for Babeheaven’s Craziest Things, the short actually came together out of the animator boldly reaching out to the band with the hope of collaborating – a perfect example of if you don’t ask you don’t get. Catching them at the perfect time (“they were in the pitching process so I was able to quickly pitch an idea to them,” she says) the band and Sacha were serendipitously on the same page, leading to a hypnotic watch of a music video.

With only a month to make the short, Sacha tells us she sought the advice of Rob Wallace (aka Parallel Teeth) on how to make a music video where loops and repetition would be necessary to get it done on time. Keen to create a short where repetition would add to the narrative rather than feel tired, Rob “the master of music videos” advised Sacha on using repetition as structure, explaining how “to break the track down into sections, how to focus on different sounds and what you might want to emphasise,” Sacha tells It’s Nice That. “It was extremely helpful to spend time at the very beginning analysing the song like this,” she adds, “kind of like assigning different looping visuals to specific sections or sounds.”

Structural components in place, aesthetically Craziest Things sees Sacha once again pull upon aesthetic choices we first fell in love with her for. Utilising what has become a signature colour palette for the creative, characters sweep across the screen in Sacha’s choice of green, purple and pink. Explaining how this selection develops out of previous palettes she’s used, “I look through all my past work, particularly my illustration work, and the colour palettes I’m happiest with (it changes) and which ones suit the ‘mood’ best of the new project,” describes Sacha. “Sometimes it’s almost exactly the same colour palette, sometimes it’s a big mixture,” also preferring to choose colours from physical materials to stop her “going for the brightest possible colours on Photoshop; they’re always a bit more muted than digital colours.”

Pairing this visual tendency with the repetitive structure advised by Rob, the catchiness of Craziest Things conjured up plenty of material for Sacha to visualise. “I really like it and straight away could visualise things going with certain parts of the song,” she recalls of the beginning of the process. “For example, when she sings ‘craziest things’ I thought straight way of that bedside lamp leaping up,” Sacha continues. “There’s also a bit in the song which, to me, sounds like a kind of splashing, which is where I had the looping animation of the dripping tap. I also think the song feels quite upbeat, so I wanted to include some dancing characters (a real treat to animate) as well as the surreal objects.”

In a combination of each of these attributes Sacha’s first music video is addictive to watch. She has a knack for switching scenes and introducing (or re-introducing) new characters shaking along with the song; you’ll no doubt find yourself bobbing along, waiting to see if the next character to pop out will be a free flowing heart or a lizard-like fella dancing out the wardrobe. All housed within the concept of interrupting a poor character trying to get some shut-eye, we look forward to whatever narrative Sacha magics up in next music video.

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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