Jaws Of Life

Jaws of Life

“Jaws of Life” is a freshly styled music video for the Canadian band Wintersleep directed by Sean Wainsteim (with James Mejia). Wainsteim describes the video as, “A surreal urban environment filled with animals struggling with their humanity, bizarre gems, a giant transforming robotic deer on a rampage and much more.” The video was conceptualized by Wintersleep’s lead singer Paul Murphy, fine artist James Mejia and Wainsteim.

I really enjoyed the uninhibited creativity of the piece and wanted to find out more about the production. Here are some notes from Sean about the making of this video from a recent email exchange I had with him:

This was a labour of love. This is video number five (or six) that I’ve done for this band.Took about a month and a half. The grind was mostly late nights for me for a long time, but I worked with a handful of very talented animators and designers who gave up evenings and weekends from their day jobs to lend some time.

Much of the look is derived from the artwork of designer James Mejia whose style of mixing photo cutouts with unique painted techniques was first used in an earlier Wintersleep video Danse Macabre, and expanded for this project.

We shot SLR stills on a nearby rooftop with another musician as the protagonist and then again with myself as the pigeon headed characters. Except for the images on the television screens, all of the characters in the video were shot on a digital SLR still camera. Everything was hand cut out deliberately loose and quick. This was an aesthetic decision…otherwise bluescreen would have been faster and better – but we wanted to see a different background peeking through.

Pretty much only used Adobe After Effects and Photoshop…and wood n’paint and an SLR cam. Many, many hours of handcrafting minute details, both in and out of the computer, were imperative to maintain the warm and highly detailed feel.

CREDITS (partial list)
Music video: Wintersleep “Jaws of Life” (Labwork Music)
Director: Sean Wainsteim (with James Mejia)
Production company: Sean Wainsteim
Staring Glenn Milchem as “The Man”
Painted Backgrounds: James Mejia
Storyboards and post corrections: Steve Wilson
Cinematography: Vinit Borrison (stills), Andrew MacDonald (live-action)
Animation and Visual FX: Nick Fairhead, Joel Tellier, Sean Conly, Arvydas Slabosevicius, Sean Wainsteim
Typography design: Jenny McCracken
Cut-Outs: Clint Lavado, Rachel Vulliens
Funded in part through generous grants from VideoFACT and FACTOR CANADA.

Jaws of Life