He adds: “The grade and front on camera work is supposed make us feel like we’re observing it all from a distance, like we are God with a telescope, watching their little creation unfurl.”
The charming, slightly wonky feel of the project is further inspired by classic children’s animation.
The materials we used and elements we animated came from quite a Womble approach, whereby anything interesting found lying around went in the pot, with the idea of creating something tactile with elements whose origins are slightly recognisable,” he explains. “There’s lots of string, cotton wool and boxes of crumbled-up charcoal that went into making the video.”
Then it was a question of creating the roughed-up, low-fi finish.
“I did my animation course when it was all low band U-matic tapes. They were the size of bricks and the quality was rank. But it gave me a deep love for the dirtier side of things,” explains Hemming.
“So the shaky low-fi look was achieved by a combination of putting the animation on 10fps and my never-ending ability to accidentally knock into the lights and camera while sweating over the stop-frame shoot.”
Hemming worked closely with editor Nick Hristou to set the promo’s pace and structure.
“I knew when I started this that I wanted to make the editing process as creative as possible. So from early on I generated as many scenes as possible, each 10-15 seconds long,” he says.
“Nick would come in and work hard on the edit, then we would sit down and make creative decisions as to what options we should try for the next batch of scenes. This creative process carried on right up to the end of the job.”
The whites of their eyes
Free Love was one of three animations for Cornershop, all commissioned at the same time.
“I did have a minor freakout when I saw how visually different my approach was from the other videos that were being made at the time,” Hemming admits. “To make matters worse, I invited the band into Passion Pictures to view the final video – most commercials are sent off to the agency and so you don’t see the whites of their eyes. It was a nervous moment, but luckily it went down very well.”
Hemming is also pleased with how the project turned out. “I love anything that you can look at over and over again and get something new from each time – so I hope and think that this is true with Free Love,” he says.