These ethereal 3D light paintings bring Sam Shepherd's music to life

Discover how Pablo Barquín and Trunk’s Junior Martínez created a mesmerising video for Floating Points.

Floating Points by Sam Shepherd

The Making of Floating Points

Trunk’s director Junior Martínez and Pablo Barquín have created a stunning and mesmerising video for Floating Points, aka Sam Shepherd. You can watch it and see a behind-the-scenes video about its creation above.

The music in the video is taken from 'Silhouettes (I, II & III)', an eleven-minute overture that is also the second track on Floating Point’s forthcoming debut album, Elaenia.

The video came about when Sam Shepherd saw the light rig Barquín had built at Hamill Industries in Barcelona.

The three-axis motion rig converts digital 3D data into analogue movement to control the path of an LED, resulting in 3D light images.

The machine can be programmed to control all aspects of capturing the image, camera shutter release, lights and any other external events such as fog machines and motion control systems.

The creative team on the shoot also included director of photography Nathan Grimes, while lead producer Anna Diaz Ortuño handled the editing.

Barquín said mixing-in camera effects with digital precision has always fascinated him.

“The hardware wasn't complicated and took us around three weeks to develop and build, but the software took a bit longer, almost a month," he revealed. "The hardest part was developing the right combination of hardware, software, electronics, cameras, lighting etc and getting them all to communicate perfectly.

Junior Martínez felt the music needed a cinematic feel and came up with the concept for the video.

“I wanted to film the video somewhere that had a vast space such as a mountain range or desert," he said. "Pablo had always wanted to film in Rio Tinto on the Spanish and Portuguese border, it is deemed the closest thing to Mars on Earth, and ended up perfectly portraying the sense of space and grandeur suggested by the music."

"I wanted lights to appear in the heavens and unite on the ground, pulsating and stirring to the music. Due to time restraints I knew we had to recreate that amazing landscape in the studio, yet thanks to Anna Diaz Ortuño’s excellent editing skills the transition in the video was seamless."

"We also worked closely together to ensure the story arc was more artistic and unearthly than narrative."

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The location also led to a lot of challenges.

“Shooting in Río Tinto was really hard, as we had only five nights and a lot of material to shoot," explained Barquín. "It was the first time we used this machine for a shoot so it was kind of hard to make a shooting plan with the right timings. Sometimes an animation of 70 frames could take a whole night to get done."

"We learnt on the fly how to be more efficient. It was a huge effort: we crossed the entire country Sometimes we even had to choose a location in total darkness in the middle of a mine.”

Matinez said the tough working conditions helped the shoot in ways that were unexpected.

“Although I created animatics for each shot the unexpected always happened," he said. "During one of the first shoots in Rio Tinto, at 5am in the morning a big scary mist came down. We thought that because it was time-lapse, taking 5 minutes for each frame, that it would look weird. Yet it was the opposite, it was amazing, so we added loads of smoke when we filmed in the studio to recreate the look of that amazing shot."

"It generated a natural glow, ambient, creating a mysterious background like E.T. “

"It’s always such a pleasure when Junior sends us projects he’s working on," said Trunk's Richard Barnett.  "We have a really close relationship so it’s great to see the progression, you always know you are going to be in for a visual treat!”

Elaenia is out via Pluto in the UK and Luaka Bop in the US on 6th November.

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