Video Chats: Nautico on "The Rising" by Five Knives

Posted by Doug Klinger on June 12, 2013 in Interviews

Staff Post


One of our favorite features of this year’s Los Angeles Music Video Festival was their Life’s a Pitch contest, in which four directors (or director duos) were given the opportunity to pitch music video ideas to the band Five Knives for their song “The Rising.” Of the four directors who pitched ideas, the band liked the duo Nautico’s idea the best, which centered around a pickup truck that the band assembles and then rocks out on. Nautcio was then given $7,500 and 48 hours to make the video. The video then screened in front of a full house on the last night of the festival. We talked to Chris Westlund and John Heeg of Nautico about the process of making the video in 48-hours, how it fits into their aesthetic, and working with the LAMVF.

Doug: How did you guys get involved with the Life’s a Pitch competition and the LAMVF?

Chris: We first met Colleen and Sami at a DANIELS screening that LAMVF put on, and that was the first time we had heard about the festival.

John: At the DANIELS screening, our friend Carl, who does sound design and had seen our work, introduced us to Colleen. And she said, “yeah, let me check out your stuff.” So we emailed it to her, and then I guess they liked it, and then a week later they asked us if we wanted to do the competition, and we submitted a reel.

Doug: For this project, besides the 48 hour time limit and pitching the idea in front of a live audience, are there any other major differences from your other work -at least from a production side?

Chris: It was different in that we had the band in the video, our previous work is strictly narrative.

John: I thought it was a good challenge actually, and good for us. It ended up being so much fun to make.


Doug: Was your concept based heavily on the fact that you had to make the video in two days?

John: We took the 48 hour limitation into consideration, but ultimately our pitch was aimed at striking a chord with the band and their label. Something entertaining and exciting. The song doesn't needs to be like related to heavy concepts. It’s something more fun, simplistic, and light-hearted.

Doug: It seems like the idea that you guys were naturally gravitating towards lent itself to the 48-hour time limit. Because you guys basically were able to not take so much time on those little elements that you normally do. Is that a good assumption?

John: I don’t know if that’s necessarily true that our concept would take less time. It was still a lot of work.

Chris: In the story, they actually go dumpster diving and find all these pieces, and they take it back to the garage, and they build a car, and then they drive it down the street, and they take it to this house show. That’s like five or six locations minimum. That’s super ambitious to do from a production stand point.

John: We did have to make some sacrifices though due to the time limit. This was the first time Chris and I have done anything that didn’t have a storyboard. Normally every shot is discussed and argued about before we shoot - it’s typically a two to three day process.

Chris: We usually location scout as well, which helps a lot with the process of telling a story visually and planning all that out, but we didn’t have that with this video. We just had to lock down a location based on one photo or a memory of what it looked like. We just improvised.


Doug: Getting into the 48 hour aspect of the video, what aspects of the video did you guys have ready going into the pitch?

Chris: We had a couple of locations based on word, the truck on hold, we had a couple of core crew members, and the camera.

Doug: What about the car aspect of it, did you know that you were going to be able to pull that off when pitching the idea?

Chris: Yes, we've worked with the production designer, Bryan Fulk, in the past and he’s amazing. Everything he does is incredible. We really like his work and felt very confident in his abilities to do that.

John: Yeah, he’s amazing. He did the production design and the special effects for another music video we did for Idiot Glee "That's All For Everyone," where the guy is running away from aliens that abducted him, and he rips out a probe from his neck that had been implanted there. He's the one who made that happen. They did a fantastic job on both that video and the most recent one.


Concept art of the truck, shown during the Life's a Pitch contest at LAMVF

Doug: Within the 48 hours, how did you guys get it all done: transcoding all of the footage, getting all of the editing done, shooting it all. Did you do any of the post work on set in order to fit it into that span?

Chris: Yes, we had an amazing crew. We had our 2nd AC Ben Volk downloading and transcoding, and then our editor Erik Butts (a.k.a. Talltree) was on site, editing as we went.

Doug: Even with that, were you guys editing up to the last minute?

John: Honestly, no. Chris and I normally edit our own content together, this is the first video where we didn’t. But we had worked with Erik a little bit before. He’s really talented. He commented on our music video for CANT "She Found A Way Out," so I looked at his site. He does a lot of compositing, and he helped us out a bit for the Lotus Plaza "Black Buzz" video. He stayed up all night editing it and finished at around 10 in the morning the next day.

Chris: Because we had only worked with him briefly I didn’t know what to expect, but he really killed it.

John: I thought Chris and I were going to have a bunch of notes, and each of us saw it and we didn't. He did exactly the things that I would want to do. It’s like he read my mind.


Doug: After only getting 48 hours to do the video, I thought you might want to do some last little touch ups before wide a release. But based on what you're saying, it sounds like you guys didn't do anything like that, is that true?

John: It needed to get reconnected to the raw files and colored, but that was pretty much it.

Doug: Is it still the same sense of accomplishment after this video versus your other pieces?

John: It’s a different sense of accomplishment.

Chris: It was rewarding for us to be able to accomplish that in 48 hours. I was super proud of the crew and the way it was received. But yes, it was a different sense of accomplishment.

John: I think this is rewarding in a different sense because we got it done in 48 hours, and then there was so many people at the festival who go to see it live, and then came up to us and said, “Good job.” You don’t get that when you release something on the internet. You don’t get to screen it the day after you shoot and hang out with a bunch of people who just saw it/worked on it. And then there was the after-party which got real crazy.

Chris: Yeah, probably the most fun thing was sharing it with everybody there at the theater on the big screen. As stressful as it was, it was still a lot of fun.

John: It was a totally different experience than just releasing something by yourself and reading the Stereogum article ten times. It was more real and tangible, which is so nice in our world right now because so much of our time is behind a laptop/phone. It was so good to get to have the physicality of the festival. It was a great chance for people to together in the theater and appreciate art together. Needless to say, thank you Colleen and Sami!

five knives, lamvf, nautico, the rising, video chats

Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.

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