Music videos from the band Battles always seem to be an exercise in performance art—previous videos have placed the musicians inside a mirrored cube (for “Atlas”) and surrounded by Lightning Field-esque LED lights (for “Tonto”), a collaboration with United Visual Artists. For the band’s new single, “My Machines,” they enlisted the director duo Daniels to create a video around a theater-of-the-absurd concept. The solution? A guy who falls down an escalator for the duration of the song.
In order to make it look like the entire video was done in one take, Daniels used a motion control rig, which is a programmed camera crane that can repeat any given motion, exactly the same way, as many times as you need. For the shoot, which involved approximately 10 takes with the stuntman, Daniels used the rig so that they could photograph the band separately from the falling man, the duo tells Co.Design.
It’s a common technique for movies with lots of special effects that need to have various parts of a scene photographed exactly the same way against a green screen. Daniels says it’s also used for commercials when an agency has a pre-approved camera path. “Everything you see on camera was done practically but was photographed in pieces,” they say. “That way the band could nail their performance, then we could safely do the stunts.” Sometimes you get lucky, too: The orange rolling down the up escalator was filmed exactly how it happened.
The video is part of The Creators Project and was produced by The Studio in collaboration with Warp Records. The motion control rig used for the video was built by the Santa Monica-based Camera Control. See more from Battles here.