Music Video Walkthrough: Derek Beck on "Company" by Caddywhompus

Posted by Doug Klinger on November 23, 2014 in Interviews

Staff Post

Inspired by our Art of Music Videos social media project, Music Video Walkthrough is a blog series where directors walk us through their music videos using several images. This time, director Derek Beck walks us through the sharply edited video for "Company" by Caddywhompus - a seven month long labor of love and bright colors.

Earlier this year, Rory Callais wrote “Caddywhompus’ song structure is akin to flipping through a radio dial and catching pieces of various songs.” I kept thinking about that idea throughout the making of this video and I think it’s ultimately what drove the style of the edit. We wanted to break the song down and have every note, chord, drum hit, etc. have some sort of visual companion. In other words, we wanted to create a perfect map of the song.

The makeup of this video is actually pretty simple when you break it down. At it’s core, it’s comprised of 16 performance shots and about 20 short animations made by artist Katie Armstrong. The edit took place over a course of seven months and I think it’s fair to say I became I bit obsessed with getting it right. I would edit for two days straight, take a five day break, and then get right back to it with fresh eyes.

Below you will find a few explanations behind the approach to some of the key sequences in the edit.

The very first shot of the video is a simple push ­in on the band playing atop a hexagon stage. It ends with several quick match cuts to accompany the snare roll. I think the idea was to give a slight tease of what’s to come without being too revealing.

The stage itself was assembled and built by my older brother Logan Beck. He’s an artist who currently lives in Houston, TX. The design was based on an old Beatles stage from one of their live performances.

Something I struggled with throughout the first 30 seconds of the edit was deciding how much to give away. I wanted to show just enough without breaking the bank. I sporadically plugged in a few doodles and quick match­cuts like the one’s above.

The yellow stage scroll sequence is the longest continuous clip in the entire video. It was also the very first sequence I worked on when I started the edit. One thing that I’m not sure a lot of people notice is the stage swell. If you watch closely, you can see the stage begin to rise and lower halfway through the sequence. Actually now that I think about it, that was the very last thing I added to the video.

This middle section of the song was probably my favorite part to edit and also the easiest to arrange. Everything just sort of fell into place here.

I’m a self-taught editor and a lot of the time I find myself wondering if there is an easier way to go about doing a certain trick than the janky way I am doing it. This sequence started off very simple and then I slowly plugged in more colors and motion to make it feel like some sort of kaleidoscopic Rock & Roll tennis match. A lot of trial and error here.

Throughout the edit, I was sending rough cuts to the co-­director Jono Foley and getting his thoughts. One of my favorite things he suggested was to strip it all down during the “I’m your dream lover” section. In his words, “give the audience space to breathe." Smart guy, that Jono Foley.

This section is by far the most chaotic in the song and was one of the more challenging sequences to get right. An early cut of the edit was very clean and didn’t really venture into layering too much. This shot sort of brought about that idea and ended up shaping the last minute of the video.

The final sequence went through several different renditions. Originally it was more like the yellow stage scroll from earlier but using all four colors from the wide angle. Once I had that I duplicated the sequence several times, reversed half, lowered the opacities, and let them run over one another to bring out new colors.

If you want to see some behind the scenes footage of the shooting process, check out the video below! 

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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