On 13 September, Loyle Carner’s new music video Nobody Knows (Ladas Road) dropped, and we’ve been thinking about it ever since. Produced by Bullion and directed by Uncanny, the shared studio practice of photographer George Muncey and designer and art director Elliott Elder, the video is unlike much we’ve seen before, owing to its unique blend of advanced equipment and stripped-back aesthetics.
Shot entirely in one take, Nobody Knows (Ladas Road) employs infrared to mirror the themes present in the track, in particular, feelings of alienation. Visually speaking, this meant subverting how audiences typically might see the musician. “Infrared interested us as it sort of tonally turns everything on its head,” Uncanny recalls. “We liked the idea of illuminating Loyle with this invisible force that’s not concerned with conforming to our expectations of what ‘lightness’ or ‘darkness’ is. It renders skin, landscapes and especially foliage in this surreal indescribable way making the world look almost alien.”
From the first close-up shot, the Alexa 65 camera utilised flattens both foreground and background, rendering everything with, what Uncanny describes as, a “glassy, almost porcelain look”. This called for additional considerations on set, particularly around styling and materials used. “Synthetically dyed materials were tonally identical, a grey T-shirt rendered identical to white, so it meant being intentional with what he was wearing and how that worked against the background,” Uncanny explains.
While the music video required considered choreography and attention to such small details, the use of a one-shot take was less of a source of anxiety for Uncanny. “What’s really great about the one take (and really different to almost everything else we normally make) is that there’s no dependence in the edit [...] It’s like all the anxiety in post-production of ‘Is this going to be good?’ is entirely frontloaded and just completely evaporates the second you get the shot.”
The final work, while significantly informed by the equipment used, also borrows from more physical, theatrical influences. In particular, Uncanny lists the elaborate but confined staging of early director Georges Méliès as a “big inspiration”, particularly the “renderings of alien landscapes in A Trip to the Moon”. The pair add: “The Alexa 65’s shallow depth of field really helped with this, it made the cross section feel like this self-contained macro dolls house, it really distorted the scale of the scene.” See how the duo tackled staging in more detail in the revealing behind the scenes shots below.
Uncanny / Loyle Carner: Nobody Knows (Ladas Road) (Copyright © Loyle Carner, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.