Sunday, 18 December 2011

Walking in the Air

Had hoped to post this a little sooner, but various external variables prevented it happening, which can be attributed to laziness but shall not be....myself and Greg French, of the band The Brilliant Things, which have just had their first single released in Ireland, 'something to say', and ended up being playlisted on BBC radio2 and had Graham Norton raving, grew up together of sorts in Wexford back in the day. To be exact, he lived there, and I visited my granny up the lane and hung out on his fathers hay bales and chased cows (neither are euphemisms). Greg, and his fiance Marie, the exquisite singer from the band asked me to direct a video for them for their version of the song Walking in the Air, which I happen to think is a stunning version and I happily said yes. Mainly because I had nothing better to do and it gave me an excuse to work with Emmett Scanlan's beautiful daughter Kayla, who surely must be destined for greatness, the child is wonderful.

The idea was something very simple to not take away from what I figured was the epic soaring nature of the song, and so I thought just Kayla walking through the streets alone at night would bring something different, and the child holds the camera so well and with such verve that she could pull it off. The idea was meant to culminate with her ending up on the same bench she awakens from, but the timing didnt quite work and because it was 6am when we shot, and cold, there was only so many times we could keep at it. The girl is 9 years old after all. So in the edit I had to cut it down or risk making a 5minute video which was just too long.

The result is below. I'm very proud of it, being all one shot, and I think it compliments the song nicely, and has a warm soulful Christmas feel to it. It's open to interpretation a little, but is essentially simple. Simplicity works best I believe. Most of the time.
Emmett, a long time friend of mine, who many know as Brendan Brady from Hollyoaks, and will know as Charlie Casanova in the film of the same name which I also shot, has a lovely rapport with Kayla, and he is an exceptional father, the two are very cute together. Makes me proud of him.

The video was shot on the canon 5-d, on a 50mm 1.4 prime Nikon lens, and even though it was steadycam, the focus was a bitch cos the focus rack wasnt working so I had to manually focus, as well as operating, and because the 5-d is so light, the weights wouldnt hold so it was a struggle, not how the steadycam should be, so it takes away from some of the smoothness. I shot it on 20mm also, and the result is obviously much more clean and smooth, but it took away from the intimacy of the video and from Kayla, which is the focus, her features and her emotion is what the video is all about really.
Kudos to Marie for singing a beautiful version of the song, and to Greg for being a legend. And to people on South William st at 6am on a saturday for leaving us alone when they should. I say that with absolute sarcasm......

And of course, below, on youtube, is the video, so Happy Christmas, and hope you enjoy it, and it brings you some pleausure....


  1. Brilliant video. Really love this song, and the voice. Hope to see more. Helan Noir

  2. Wow, I'm impressed you did this in a single shot, especially with the equipment difficulties you describe. As I mentioned on Twitter, Kayla is an amazing nine-year-old; her face just soaks up the light. No wonder you enjoyed working with her. She must have been a joy to shoot (not to mention a trooper at 6 AM in the cold.) Thanks for posting this.

  3. Is there a more wonderful image of love than a child giving away her stuffed toy to a lonely person? I was moved from the moment we began to accompany the girl on her walk through the nightly street, but needed tissues at that beautiful gesture.

    Moments like that always get to me – to watch someone being kind, be it in a film, on stage, a book or in real life (and, thankfully, they are there in real life!), I’m moved to the core. In particular when I am not expecting kindness.

    In this video it came as a little surprise, too, and went right to my heart. Well done, Eoin. This is a very beautiful video. Thank you.

    And, of course, I only teased you on twitter about finding it appalling and boring… what could a gal reply when you dare us to not enjoy it? No, it’s a lovely piece of film. The girl Kayla has such a touching face, one could easily imagine her to be an old soul in the body of a sweet girl. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was.

    I hope you’ll have more chances like this to work with your talents on your passions. It must be the best kind of soul food for you.

    So, allow me to wish you many more opportunities like this and a very merry Christmas. May you and your loved ones be blessed, Eoin.

  4. 1) I think the focus rack not working was to your benefit. The "fuzziness" at times lent to the ethereal beauty of the piece and only served to highlight the dream-like quality.

    2) I can understand why you would want her to return to the bench at the end as if this was a dream perchance. What parent in their right mind would let their child walk alone at night in the city like that? Much better to leave that thought to the imagination. Which, is howI interpret this piece.

    3) Having said that, you still managed to accomplish that not only because of the manual focus, but by the coloring. The use of light from the shop windows transcended the imagination throughout the piece making it almost surreal in stasis. Then, with the introduction of Marie, Kayla stayed bright while Marie seemed out of place in her darkness. It could have simply been the black sequins coming across as an almost velvet sheen paired with such a matte skirt that the light seemed to suck right in to her. She was not part of the dream, but of reality. The dog (that was a dog, right?_ then being passed to someone sitting in the light... such a dichotomy in juxtaposition.

    You didn't need to return her to the bench because in the end, it still looked as if her dream were over. Not all dreams take place whilst asleep, anyway.

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  6. Nerhe, I'm glad you see it that way. Those were aspects I was hoping would come across, especially with the colouring (filter), and the disparity between Marie and Kayla, which was enhanced when Marie would have disappeared however, thus completing it as a dream sequence. Oddly enough by it not being complete it seems to have allowed different perspectives to be taken from it, such as Jas' interpretation of the child giving the teddy bear, that wasn't actually intended as a loving gesture to a lonely person, but when the shot completed she found it again, so it was meant to be a 'coin' as it were, an acceptance of her passing into the underworld without realizing it. Of course by leaving out that segment that doesn't come out obviously!
    But therein I find is the beauty of such pieces, people see different things in them, but yes Kayla is a stunning child....

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    There is something hauntingly surreal about the whole video, with the lighting and Kayla and everything.

    The song, too, is gorgeously haunting.

    Alkjdlkjadk that was beautiful. :')

    You sir, are brilliant!

  8. This is truly fascinating, Eoin, thank you for revealing what you intended with that piece!

    I'm with you, here - I love the different perspectives. When I watch a film with friends, we come up with different aspects, sometimes utterly opposed, but that enriches the experience.

    Thus a film (it's just like that with books, I think) becomes something like a breathing creature, showing just as many facets as are to be found in a human being.

    Oh, my, that sounded more philosophical than I meant. Don't mind me. Today's work made me feel a tad like being under siege. And my mind then tends to go to, well, a tad weird places...

    Thank you. Cheers, Jas

  9. Okay, now you have me intrigued enough to want to see the originally planned ending so I can compare and contrast. I mostly say this because I don't think of this piece/version as sad, and your talk of the underworld makes me think Marie as Persephone, the man as Phlegyas and the bear as Cerberus [that's really a dog and not a bear, isn't it?].

    The passing of the bear felt more like the end of an era to me. As if Teddy was the catalyst for the dream. His removal and passage to another meant it was their turn now. Kayla's dream was over.

  10. Beautiful. I hope to see more of your work from the other side of the camera in the future. This does not mean that I want you to stop being in front of the camera. My eyes appreciate both. :)