Blending spirituality, rabbits and plenty of tinfoil, Chris Hemming’s promo for British indie band Cornershop’s track Free Love is an offbeat, charming affair.
It resembles nothing so much as the happier moments of Watership Down, as reimagined by the team behind Button Moon.
The promo, which Hemming made through Passion Pictures, features a cast of hundreds of 2D rabbits, who hop in an orderly fashion through a tinfoil city that appears to be set on a giant wheel, before diving off into trippy, kaleidoscopic skies. It’s a defiantly low-fi affair that Hemming says had a very loose brief.
“Cornershop wanted the video to have a religious theme, with a sense of different faiths joining together, and they didn’t want it to be specific to one location, like London,” explains Hemming. Everything else was left completely up to him – “which is always a fantastic plus.”
He quickly settled on the analogue approach that defines the promo. Hemming says: “I’m a big fan of making something with lots of variables in it, and then sitting back to watch the happy accidents.”
Tinfoil fitted the bill, as it changes depending on the movements, surroundings and lighting. “I knew it would look good, but just didn’t know exactly how,” he says.
The focus on happy accidents and low-fi characteristics dovetailed with Hemming’s interpretation of the song.
“As the piece is all about love, the universe and everything – all rather new age stuff – I felt it wouldn’t sit very happily with a visually slick delivery. So I moved it back to the less cynical era of [Bagpuss creator] Oliver Postgate, where love, peace and soup dragons ruled the day,” he says.
We built this city
Illustrator Kate Slater made a two-metre circular city out of tinfoil for the promos. Hemming then laboriously animated it in stop-motion, then added in the hand-inked rabbits, which he had coloured in Photoshop.
“Most elements were shot in a fixed position, either under the camera or on paper, then animated afterwards in After Effects to give me absolute creativity and flexibility in the composition,” he says.