The video for Babyshamble’s eagerly-awaited release, Delivery, has been directed by HSI’s Douglas Hart –- one half of recently-reformed 80s indie band The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Hart called upon Prime Focus London to perfect his 21st century film noir promo by grading all his colour and monochrome footage to create a look that is a contemporary nod to French 1960s new wave cinema.
Shot on colour stock, Super 8 and high contrast black and white 35mm, the promo recreates the energy of auteurs like Godard and Truffaut. We see tabloid-staple, Pete Doherty, walking down a deserted city street, dressed in his trademark black suit and fedora hat, as though he is being stalked.
The video’s pace intensifies, with rhythmic freeze frames and zooms, as it cuts between Pete and other band members – Drew, Mick and Adam – who are seen driving a Jaguar. Finally, the promo culminates with all the band members taking an upbeat nighttime city tour from their Jaguar car.
Everything was filmed by DoP, Tom Townend, who used a red filter on the black and white stock to maximise contrast. PFL’s colourist, Duncan Russell, was mightily impressed when he saw the footage and immediately understood that it required minimal work. His first task was to make different types of footage look and feel the same. This involved desaturating and softening the colour stock whilst pushing it a little harder to emulate the 'grain structure' of the black and white stock.
Initially, the video was meant to contain a significant amount of visual effects work, playing around with stills, freeze frames and zooms. But the original footage was so pure and strong that the team decided against corrupting it with extensive Flame work.
PFL’s Flame artist, Pete Young, however, did have to work on some of the final 8mm shots, which were shot day for night. It was not possible to apply a day for night grade in the telecine suite as the sequences had not been captured as separate plates, ie – it was not possible to darken the sky without darkening the rest of the shot. So Pete had to matte out the car, darken the sky and the re-composite the car whilst correcting the moving car’s reflections.
PFL’s colourist, Duncan Russell, said: "This job was so well shot that it barely needed grading. The feel of the thing was so strong it was a case of just going with the flow, and not over-grading what was a very well photographed project."