I Want My MTV: Video Design for 2009

Sean Pecknold is a self-taught animator/director and auteur of visual soundtracks for bands like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear. Both bands feature a lo-fi sound that is echoed in Pecknold’s dreamy, ambiguous aesthetic that combines hand-drawn and 2D/3D animation as well as live action.

The desaturated color palette and handmade quality of the animations conceal a sophisticated design process which uses, among other technologies, digital cameras (Nikon D90) and video plus Dragon Stop Motion software and Adobe After Effects. And as brother to lead singer of the Fleet Foxes, Pecknold’s visual representations of the band’s music form a remarkable synergy between sound and sight.

Grizzly Bear’s “While You Wait for the Others” features illustrations by Toby Liebowitz and animation by Pecknold and Britta Johnson.

Grizzly Bear – While You Wait for the Others from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

“Mykonos” for the Fleet Foxes. a stop-motion animation video employing illustrations and paper cutouts by Jesse Brown. Of making the video, Pecknold explains:

“The that had me almost crying was when the triangles fall through a screen of eyeballs and they all look at him as he falls. Because everything was just kind of floating freely on the glass, and every time I moved the pupils the eyeballs would move slightly out of place, so it was a pretty painstaking 5 hours for a 2 second shot. When you are animating, time speeds by. Guess if it’s a boring thing to someone, doing one shot would feel like an eternity. But I love it. I’ve never had much patience for other thing but, for this I do.”

Sean Pecknold provides a behind-the-scenes preview of the design process for the Fleet Foxes’ sleeper hit “White Winter Hymnal.” The clay puppets shown in the video are prototypes; the final versions were modeled by artist Chris Rodgers.