Christoffer Relander is always in for experimental, surreal, and unique projects such as his analogue double-exposure jars, often willing to test out anything the film medium can offer. Being the experimentalist that he is, he shifted from taking still images to motion pictures. By teaming up with the acoustic band The Last Dinosaur, they were able to make the ambient visual of “The Sea”. Lomography proudly presents Christoffer and The Last Dinosaur's film:
Having the opportunity to listen to the unreleased album and song thanks to his previous project with the band The Nothing, Christoffer wrote a script for the song and sent it to frontman Jaimie Cameron, in spite of having never done an analogue film before.
The music video for the “The Sea” shows a glowing man running around the island at dusk. Running for five minutes and a half, there's no straight or direct narrative to be found here as Christoffer intended it to be open to interpretation. However, Christoffer also mentioned that the song held something personal and intimate to Jaimie:
“To me, the sea is a metaphor to life and death – a horizon too far away to reach. From one end or the other. I made a visual story based on this interpretation. I also knew about the fact this album was dedicated to Jamie’s best friend, that tragically lost his life in a car accident. Jamie was in the car too and survived.”
As far as first impressions go, Jaimie found Christoffer's film to be beautiful and moving. Always fond of the analogue medium, Jaimie told us that he and Christoffer met when he stumbled upon a double-exposure image by Christoffer. The album jacket image of The Last Dinosaur's The Nothing was also taken by Christoffer. Jaimie explained further why he is more charmed with analogue techniques:
“Mediums such as Super8 interest me more than digital so I was excited at what the final result would be and interested to see what visual surprises the development of the film would have in store.”
Here are some of Jaimie's favorite stills from the film:
According to Christoffer, the track itself was the main source of inspiration of the film, but some of photographer Trent Parke's style may be seen in this music video.
The project took place on a small island, with a lighthouse that was protected from the storm by the archipelago. They would spend the night camping, with only 15 to 20 minutes of time filming with the usable light on evenings and early mornings. Christoffer spent only five rolls of Kodak Vision 3 500T on his Canon 814 XL-S. The filmmaking wasn't the most challenging process itself – it was the dedication to making everything as analogue as it can.
For Christoffer, the hardest part was creating the custom-made reflective suit for the glowing running man. He ordered many fabric samples from China before finding the suitable material – one that didn't feel claustrophobic to the wearer and would be comfortable enough for breathing. Having light reflect on the material was also was a challenge, too.
"I had to create a custom-made full-body costume with a reflective fabric that was both highly reflective and flexible. The first costume failed. After many more fabric samples from China, I found a workable option – it was not as thin and flexible as I was hoping to find but worked. However, the fabric did not breathe. Wearing the costume was claustrophobic since the material was difficult to breathe through. Not to mention how hard it was to see as we only filmed during dusk and dawn. Figuring out an optimal light to use to make the costume glow was another challenge. I learned that the closer the light source is to the lens, the less light was required to make the fabric glow really well. The more distance the brighter it reflects too."
The novelty about shooting a music video in Super8 is it's no longer the norm in the industry. However, it's the pleasure of doing things manually that makes it all worthwhile. Though this is his first experience as a filmmaker, Christoffer thinks that analogue filmmaking is the same as much as analogue photography. According to Christoffer, contrary to popular belief, Super8 cameras are actually affordable on eBay and are easier to use than 16 mm and 35 mm cameras, and are lighter to carry around.
“I realized that the jump between still and moving images was not that big. Therefore, I think it came naturally to me when I had an idea that seemed better to realize in motion. I was however interested to give filmmaking a try nine years ago already. Back then I did not have much money and I had to decide between either buying a DSLR that supported video or multiple exposures. I ended up flipping a coin... so, think it’s the same as with still images, you can’t really fake it in post. The grain, colours, dynamic range; it simply is a different world. In this case, as the Last Dinosaur makes acoustic music, shooting on digital wouldn’t give it justice.”
Christoffer Relander's known for his creatively unique projects with the analogue medium. Visit his website and scroll through his body of work. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for his personal updates. Film stills are from Christoffer Relander. You can also tune in to The Last Dinosaur's music through their various streaming channels.