Head Like a Kite: “Director’s Cut”

Introducing “Director’s Cut” my latest music video and the latest track from the electronic duo Head Like a Kite (this time featuring MC Tilson).

If you’re a photo/video lover, a music aficionado, a do-gooder or any combo therein please pass this along. We created this pro-bono and it’s my hope it’ll inspire you and your friends to pull out $7 for 30 exclusive tracks from Seattle’s hottest bands as a part of our GiveSeattle.org project. Included in this uber-affordable compilation are exclusive tracks from Fleet Foxes, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), and many more. And a reminder that 100% of sales–every cent of that 7 bucks–goes directly to Art Corps and Seattle area food banks.

If you’re a photo/video nut like me and you want to know more about how we made this little video inside a video, complete with behind the scenes photos, hit the ‘continue reading link’ below.

1. Concept/Treatment. Ever felt like you’re staring in the movie that is your own life? The drama, the celebration, those stranger than fiction moments. Life can be a mysterious state where you’re sometimes not sure if you’re awake or dreaming. The lyrics to this song are a stream of consciousness about precisely this. I wanted some visuals to match. Some elements to match reality, some that don’t make sense, and some that toggled Tilson (the guest MC and “star” of the vid) both IN and OUT of that state.

2. Mood. Head Like A Kite are all about a party. They’re all sorts of crazy talented, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s refreshing. And it was important to them the the video reflected that. Hence the “cartoon-y” feel to the video.

3. Constraints.
Given a. that we’re making this video as a part of our holiday project to raise awareness for our fundraiser; and b)that we’ve set some “loose” parameters on ourselves and other vid makers for the project that we want them to be simple enough to be shot in one take or thereabouts.

4. Mechanisms. The mechanisms we used to create all three of above are pretty simple: First, we filmed a path in an around our studio WITHOUT the lead character except for the very beginning and the very end (so he could pop in and out of his life), but WITH the band popping up in various places, timed with the chorus.

“I close my eyes so I can watch the dreams suspend night. All of this time the movie reels spin in my mind”

That was shot in 3 takes.

Second, we sewed those 3 takes together into one movie. We made it black and white and we projected it a screen, at life-size proportions.

Third, we put MC Tilson in front of that screen and filmed him “inside” the projected video while he delivered the lyrics and moved throughout the lifesized world we created according to a series of choreographed moves that had him moving in and out of doorways, up stairs and around corners. We made it just real enough to make it believable but seem to the trained eye that somethings just not quite right (ala the awake/dream state.

Hope you dig. Here’s some photos to show you our setup.

Please visit www.giveseattle.org and download our #1 selling album in Seattle right now for just $7. Help those less fortunate and get some great new tunes.

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93 Responses to Head Like a Kite: “Director’s Cut”

  1. Jason D. Smith December 15, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    Great vid Chase! At first my thought was "damn, that's a big garage". But then it was "No, that's a big studio". Then I was caught looking forward to what he was walking thru next because I was never quite sure. Fun stuff!

  2. Brian Palmer Photography December 15, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Nice Nice Nice!!!! Chase that was outta control nasty man! The vid was great really like how you punched the emcee in and out at the front and back. Also the shadow on the emcee through the garage matched what he was walking through. Good work! Also Great song! I'm getting that music tonight! "…shooting the clock to kill time" The emcee in me wants to fly out and chipher with the band & emcee. Seriously, his word play was slick and the music was blaze!

  3. matt s. December 15, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Featuring CJ in a panda costume!

    That was awesome, thanks for sharing.

    My new mantra for all things creative: WWCJD?

  4. Zack Arias December 15, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    For the first 30 seconds or so I was really unimpressed. Then about half way through I started to turn my head to one side like a dog. By the end I was saying "How in the FCK did he do that?"

    Holy shit holmes. Well done. It looks simple enough but I can only imagine that was a pain in the ass! Great job!

    AND… I love that song!


  5. Eric December 15, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    Dude, I dig. Great work!

  6. Kain December 15, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    Awesome video Chase! I really dig their sound. Thanks for introducing them to us.

  7. Michael Walker December 15, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Seems like you love meta layers in your art, nice job!

  8. Frozen Forever Photography December 15, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Well done like always. I think the key part in all of your vids is everyone is having fun. Keep up the good work.

  9. Tim December 15, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Thats sick Chase. Thanks for the behind the scenes. When I was watching it I was like WTF is going on!

  10. Zack Arias December 15, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Now I've gone in and read the tech to see if it meshed up with my reverse engineering ideas.

    Well done indeed. I've purchased the tracks!


  11. Scott MacKenzie December 15, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    OKAY! I'm a sucker for things like this, but I think I get it. If indeed I DID see a separation point at 3:22, it was extremely well-hidden–But I'm still trying to prove it to myself.
    Great video. Beautiful grit, and a lot of fun to watch.

  12. Ghislain December 15, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    I understand Zack's comment. But something is bugging me… When the main singer is lost in the dark and we loose contact with his eye… seems odd… I like the movement, the way it's filmed but then you see the shadow of a microphone on his face, kinda weird.! :) Not trying to minimize your work Chase, I am a big fan but I find this one weird… But I'll watch it again read your comments as well maybe there is a reason why this is done like this. :) cheers!

  13. Matt Lange December 15, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Wow, crazy simple execution with a tremendous result. As someone who does photography and video for a living, I'm impressed. Kudos to you, your team and the bad.


  14. Lucas Botz December 15, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    Awesome!! I love the way you did it and how raw it is. Way to go outside the box.

  15. stephen hunton December 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    that's sick. period.

  16. Photobby December 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Filthy. Took me till the second chorus to figure out what was up with the vid. Well thought out. High school out of the box thinking but with pro polish.

  17. Maciek Leśniak December 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Insanely great video, insanely great music! I love it! Great concept!

  18. Philip Karklins December 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    Sick job! I couldn't figure out why he was "walking" so weird… Now it makes sense!

  19. ThatcherDorn December 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm #


  20. Rob King December 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Chase this is insane. Love the idea.

  21. ONE POT December 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    my friend, you and your crew continue to amaze me – and fuckin hats off to tilson, dave, and trent – they boyz are the best!

  22. Bartek December 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Great job again, Chase!

    Panda costume ^^


  23. Jimmy Gilmore December 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    At first I thought it was chroma key. But then I thought it looked too smooth so it must be in camera. Then I was wondering how did he walk up those stairs without looking down once? So no, I didn't have it figured out. Dig the track. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Zack Arias December 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Give Seattle note —> I ordered the tracks, got the welcome email, but then the download code email never came.

    For some reason the welcome email scoots through the spam filter but my spam filter caught the download code email even though it is from the same email address as the welcome email. Strange but the good folks at Give Seattle told me this may be the issue and sure enough it was. They are working on it.


  25. Magster December 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    I second Zack. Thought it was bog standard at first, turns out it was first class! We need a how-to video, pls, thx v much.

  26. Marcin Retecki December 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Perfect idea and perfect execution. Same as Zack Arias, I wasn't impressed at first but after a bit, I was drawn in completely:)

  27. durrdesign December 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Love the song but that shadow on the bottom just keeps bothering me.

    It's great to see your evolution as an artist unfold in front us all.

  28. rj December 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    It's OK for a non-budget video. The music is not as annoying as in your previous video (the one with a nazi) and the video is OK-ish, but I won't say it's done fully professional. It looks like a rough version pre-postproduction.

    The shadow at the bottom is really annoying as well as the random shadows at the singer's face. In one moment there's clearly some f*up when the singer is standing right in front of the band and his shadow is apparently casting on green screen or some wall.

    All in all, not a great video. not totally boring for your fan as we can see more of your fabulous studio!

  29. Neil Hanawalt December 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    I would like to know how you made the shadows moving on and off of the lead character? Video was cool, and cooler still after reading your description of how it was done.

  30. Alex H December 15, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    Really liking the loose-ness of this vid Chase (and Scott and D). Not overproduced but a ton of really cool things going on with the effed up colors and shadows and perspectives. Makes my head feel a bit like a kite. On a boozy afternoon.

    Anytime you need a guy for the panda suit, you know who to call.


  31. Chase Jarvis December 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    we kept the shadow in the foreground and the in there, honestly, so it felt underproduced, projected, and artificial. if our goal was to create a "perfect" or "professional" video, we'd have siimply put two more days in shooting and another half day in rehearsal/post, and it would have been like shooting fish in a barrel.

    but we didn't. instead we did it in 8 hours over two days, on purpose, and we had a blast. it should feel like that. but you better believe we'll do it again ;)

    • AsherSN November 29, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

      I liked the ‘not so commercial’ look very much. it was a cool representation of the band. much more personal, which i think made it easier to really enjoy the music.
      I only wish i could find more of Tilson’s music!
      I have only found a short video clip about soggy rice and the other great song ft. hlak.
      Do you know any places where I could find more?


  32. Chase Jarvis December 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    @michael walker: indeed I dig the meta layers.

  33. luckyamorosa December 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Awe-Inspiring …. :-) love it the whole Idea & Concept !!!!

  34. Arthit December 15, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    Cool ideal!!

  35. Jason Collin Photography December 15, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    Sounds like a great project…good luck.

  36. Daven December 15, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    Chase, this is incredible. I think this is honestly your best video work yet. I believe that constraints — be they budget, time, equipment, or otherwise — do not close creative doors, but open them. This is proof right here. Thanks for sharing and keeping it real!

  37. mike December 16, 2009 at 12:47 am #

    Gritty and ultra urban – stoked bro!

  38. David December 16, 2009 at 3:49 am #

    That was stinkin' rad! x-D

    Had to re-watch after seein how you did it. Now where's my credit card…? *looks around*

  39. Jeff December 16, 2009 at 5:39 am #

    I really dug the video the first time watching it (the song is great!). But, after reading and seeing how you did it and rewatched it, wow, that is frigging wild. The sense of motion through the scene from the camera angle and Tilson's body positioning is just too cool!

  40. Squeeker December 16, 2009 at 6:20 am #

    Holy Cow! I LOVE this video and the music! I can't stop watching it!

  41. earl December 16, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    ok, i'm gonna get flamed for saying this but that was about 100 bazzillion times better than your last music video, i was connected, i was engaged and most importantly it FELT like a chase jarvis "joint" (is that the hipster phrase for it?), it had your style all over it, and thats why it works. it was fun and free and engaging, and you didn't try to over do it, plus that dude looks like someone you would want to hang out with.

    so in your language…"that was sick stupid shkeezy weezy flip floppy fly on the download kicking it old school style..", sorry, i'm 38 and not hip :-)

    great work.

  42. J.W. Ramp December 16, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    I just bought and downloaded the GIVE Seattle album and tossed it into iTunes – bummer, because there's no metadata in the tracks – such a pain in the ass copying all the artist names over into the proper fields…

    Do you have any pull with the GIVE Seattle crew to get those files remade?

  43. Michael Plaxico December 16, 2009 at 11:50 am #


  44. Zac Crow December 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Is anyone else having trouble viewing the vids?

    I am using Safari.


  45. fxmixer December 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Dude, there's so much awesome here! Don't know if it was intentional or not, but the garage door going up and down at the beginning looks like level meters on an amp; so sweet. Keep the creativity coming!

  46. Christopher Stampar December 16, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    This is brilliant Chase! Such a creative way to shoot the video, very different and vastly entertaining. You never cease to amaze. thanks for the breakdown too!


  47. Jason Collin Photography December 17, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    I really like the garage door closing on the band shot, very cool.

  48. Nima December 17, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    Amazing song and music video. Very refreshing to see.

  49. John Hildebrand Photography December 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    cool video with good edits keep it up

  50. JJNJ December 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    I've been checking out Head Like a Kite on LALA, I am into them now.

    Thanks Chase

  51. Frozen Forever Photography December 22, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    Very nice vid. I like how your doing more and more now. keep up the good work.


  52. nevton December 23, 2009 at 4:32 am #

    hey give us foreginers – lirics for this song
    please please
    i can understood while reading in english
    no good while hear and also write :(

  53. Head Like a Kite December 27, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Hey Nevton. Dave from Head Like a Kite here. Here are the lyrics:

    Film with no edits Life's one take
    Get a body double for the close-up
    Up-close personal problem with daily's
    Last minute rewrites we
    wrongs casted
    pre productions post production
    Onscreen Love interest off screen actress stays in character method thespian theater trained thespian all lines remembered and delivered on cue motion picture debut lighting is an issue scouted location cinematic impact directors vision intact a movie made for the lead I didn't have to read but when I hears action watch their reaction Plus I'll do my own stunts what more do you want before we roll tape'n what's my motivation other than
    Budget camera time and nominations or the criticism false words
    from conversation

    " I close my eyes so I can watch the dreams suspend night
    All of this time the movie reels spin in my mind"

    Feel like an extra in my own life stand'n around with no parts don't look directly in the camera when the scene starts don't look directly at anyone that has parts just stay on mark right there stay parked as I keep shooting at a clock try'n kill time me joy on cutting room floor They done killed kind tell the grip ta get a grip and anything than can lift No thanks to your support I'm making guerilla short Soon to be on IFC then pan back to me Then pan back to me Aces Deuces answer print black bag frame rate day for night depth of field jump cut shutter Gate

    "I close my eyes so can watch the dreams suspend night
    All of this time the movie reels spin in my mind"

    With a Co star So I'm in
    STAR Co -m-p-a-n-y
    Dolly on super 8 emotion like emlution
    Developed at the magic hour silhouette on silver screen safe area room tone work print Color temp Light so ambient Academy leader numbered down
    were sidewalks float above the ground
    you have to leap to meet the street street street
    street car named no tires will take you on the fastest trip you've ever known

    "I close my eyes so I can watch the dreams suspend night
    All of this time the movie reels spin in my mind"

  54. Sam Rogers January 5, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    This video was a breath of fresh air… really dope!!!

  55. Simeon Rodgers January 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    LOVED IT! WOW that was AWESOME! That song was great and the video was very well done! Good job to all involved!

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  1. BlueVioletStudios.com » Blog Archive » Head Like a Kite: “Director’s Cut” | Chase Jarvis Blog - August 1, 2010

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