Looking to expand my filmmaking skills and delve into the world of practical and analogue effects, I wanted to create a personal project that would push my creative boundaries. It wasn't long after this decision that I stumbled upon David Cronenberg's iconic 1983 film VIDEODROME, and I knew instantly that this would be the perfect film to make a homage title sequence for. I self-funded this project and worked with a talented cinematographer and two actors to help bring this vision to life.
At the beginning of every project I dive headfirst into a brainstorming session, jotting down every idea and concept that pops into my mind. I try my best not to overthink this stage, and simply allow my mind to wander. Next, I start building a collection of visual references that align with my brainstormed notes. For this particular project, I honed in on three key concepts that captured my imagination:
1 - Analogue screens/glitches
2 - Light trails
3 - Macro liquid reactions.
To create the storyboard, I compiled a list of all the shots I envisioned could be needed for the sequence, then used ShotDeck and google images to find reference shots. I wasn’t seeking a match in terms of composition or lighting, my aim was simply to select reference shots that effectively conveyed the story I was telling. The reason for this is that I believe the search for close references can be both helpful and harmful in the creative process. While it's important to have a direction to aim towards, relying too heavily on close references can limit your creativity and result in a lack of your own original expression.
On the studio shoot day, I had one day on location with the actors to get all the shots I needed. Me and the cinematographer arrived early to dress the set and set up the lighting, then the actors arrived shortly after we were finished. As mentioned earlier, I had created my shot list and discussed it with the cinematographer prior to the shoot, so we knew precisely what shots we needed to capture.
In the original film, the ‘videodrome signal’ takes over the protagonist’s mind and body, then begins to control him. To symbolise this metamorphosis I wanted to use practical effects, and with that in mind I decided to explore macro liquid reactions. The results of the liquid reactions perfectly captured this transformation - chaotic and unpredictable.
- White medium + acrylic ink + isopropyl alcohol
- Pills in water + ink + oil
- Ink/paint + oil + isopropyl alcohol
- Ferrofluid + magnet + ink
I had recently got my hands on a Video Synthesiser and I knew it was going to be a game-changer for this project. It was the perfect tool for adding an analogue retro aesthetic and unpredictable video glitches that would have been impossible to achieve using digital effects.
- Video Synthesiser (created by Tachyons+)
- CRT Trinitron 14" TV
- Sony A7iii (to film the CRT TV)
Laptop -> Video Synthesiser -> CRT TV -> Camera filming TV
Below is a compilation of my favourite video synth treatments that never made the cut.
My initial desire for this project was to capture every shot through practical filming. However, with a self funded budget and limited time I knew I needed to explore alternative options.
In the film the protagonist watches a programme called Videodrome, and after consuming the 'videodrome signals' he begins to hallucinate. The videodrome signals are never pictured in the original film, so it was completely up to my own imagination to depict them.
With AI-generated art becoming increasingly popular, I was curious to see how I could incorporate it into my process. To do this, I decided to dedicate one shot in the title sequence to AI. The results were really impressive, although very limited in making custom adjustments.