Hooligan, a New York-based postproduction boutique that specializes in offline editing and visual effects, recently collaborated with design studio karlssonwilker to create an animated music video for “Mexico,” the title track from GusGus‘s ninth studio album via Kompakt Records.
Experimenting with various 3D technology, including video game engines, karlssonwilker transformed live-action footage of GusGus into animation. The resulting abstractions visualize the Icelandic group’s new dance track.
“Like many other projects here at karlssonwilker, we thrive when the process takes us to places we didn’t know existed,” said company founder Hjalti Karlsson. “We cherish the path and use the result as the next beginning. When it came to editing ‘Mexico,’ we trusted Hooligan fully, so the process was exciting and moved forward with ease.”
“I’ve seen work like this as an effect, but not as the primary medium for an entire music video,” said Hooligan editor Shane DeBlasio. “The final renders are beautiful and look as though they weren’t even captured on camera.”
Looking to expand on the video with an editorial eye, karlssonwilker brought Hooligan into the fold after creating the renders and producing a rough cut in Adobe Premiere.
“It was exciting to edit such a kinetic, VFX-driven piece,” said DeBlasio. “The caliber of design and the range of experimentation that karlssonwilker brought to mapping out all of these 3D points in 2D space took the footage to captivating heights. Editorially speaking, the collaboration allowed me to go beyond the norm, both creatively and technically. It’s amazing how the technology-hacking trend continues to open artists and filmmakers up to seemingly infinite new perspectives creating within their medium.”
Exploring which song would best suit the visual concept for the video, GusGus and karlssonwilker ultimately decided that “Mexico,” the album’s only instrumental track, was the right match.
“While lyrics often inform the visual narrative and mood of music videos, ‘Mexico’ offers a refreshing twist on the genre,” DeBlasio said. “Musically, it had the right dynamics to compliment the medium with which we were working. Creating the final cut, my goal was to simply find a through-line to make the eclectic sequence of shots as fluid and seamless as possible.”
Embarking on the project with volumes of data-heavy footage, DeBlasio says he had to clear the project’s biggest hurdles early on. Converting the footage to Hooligan’s system using Final Cut Pro allowed him to generate QuickTime movies, rather than deal with problematic individual source frames.
“It was a challenge getting a handle of the footage without the computer freaking it out, but once we made sense of everything, it was awesome to edit,” said DeBlasio.