The Beatles get two new animated music videos, harnessing type and 1300 oil paintings

Filmmakers Danny Sangra and Em Cooper have been tasked with visually renewing Revolver tracks for today’s audience.

4 November 2022


Two new animated music videos have launched to mark the release of a new expanded edition of The Beatles’ Revolver. The first is from illustrator, artist and filmmaker Danny Sangra, tackling Taxman with an energetic use of typography which launched on 14 October. Meanwhile, Em Cooper – a live-action filmmaker who creates rotoscoped animations with oil paintings – delivers a music video for I’m Only Sleeping, using the same labour-intensive processes that we saw employed on a Berghaus campaign in 2018.

Em Cooper: I’m Only Sleeping (Copyright © Apple Corps, 2022)

Both videos employ entirely different styles and techniques. Em Cooper achieves a distinctive fluid effect for I’m Only Sleeping by hand-painting every frame. The entire process took months to complete and entailed Em working on an animation rostrum on sheets of celluloid, producing a total of 1300 oil paintings. The result hopes to explore the space between dreaming and wakefulness:

“I began with the thought that this would simply be John drifting in and out of sleep, flowing between wakefulness and memory and peppered with surreal moments, dipping into the history of The Beatles [...],” Em says. “But the meanings of the film soon began to spread out, encompassing The Beatles’ anti-war feelings, and reflecting on our place in the world.” The animator continues: “It was a project that I felt an immediate spark for right from the word go, and somehow that momentum carried me right through to the end. [...] The song itself evokes such a mesmerising, languid, dreamy state, in a way my job was only to follow its lead with a paintbrush in my hand.”

Danny Sangra: Taxman (Copyright © Apple Corps, 2022)

Danny Sangra takes a more digital approach on Taxman. In the past, the animator has produced several Beatles-related videos, even working on a year of Beatles commissioned animated birthday messages to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon. Here, Danny is offered free rein to push new concepts forward, delivering vibrant graphics with a focus on expressive typography – in keeping with the liveliness of the track.

“As a Beatles fan and Revolver being my favourite Beatles album, it was an ideal project,” the director’s site explains. “There’s a finite amount of Beatles material. Rather than take away from it, I chose to add to it. My approach was influenced by Yellow Submarine mixed with comics and Saturday morning cartoon shows.”

Both tracks are now available on The Beatles’ official YouTube channel; Revolver Special Edition is available everywhere in a range of physical and digital configurations.

GalleryDanny Sangra: The Beatles, Taxman (Copyright © Apple Corps, 2022)

GalleryEm Cooper: The Beatles, I’m Only Sleeping (Copyright © Apple Corps, 2022)

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Danny Sangra: The Beatles, Taxman (Copyright © Apple Corps, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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