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The old-school approach behind St Lucia's 'Help Me Run Away'

Engadget Engadget 15/06/2016 Richard Lawler
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How do you fit a story arc centered around a lovelorn pair of sneakers into a five minute music video? For St. Lucia's song Help Me Run Away, director Norton relied on a combination of practical effects and CG to animate Converse sneakers on a cross-country road trip to find its matching pair of high heels.

When I spoke to the director, he referenced movies including the original Jurassic Park, where the combination of CGI for longer shots and live-action robots for close up. The behind the scenes video below shows how puppeteering on a custom-built rig or green suited dancers wearing the shoes created movement that's realistic, without the uncanny valley that overused computer renderings can produce, even in current movies. (Of course, practical effects can have their issues too.) There are some instances of computer generated rendering for close-ups, like when the shoes are waving their shoelaces in the breeze.

As described by St. Lucia's Jean-Philip Grobler, he and Norton took their cues not just from cheesy 80s movies (note the quick zooms) but also Pixar's knack for bringing forth a hidden life from everyday objects. The human characters in the video are played by the rest of the band, transforming the song from Grobler's idea of his own journey from South Africa to the US, to something else entirely. even the journey isn't just green-screened, as the video was shot on both coasts, before being edited in Adobe Premiere and adding CGI from Stratostorm.

St. Lucia (YouTube)

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