Every now and again something shakes me from the day-to-day and I'm reminded what a miracle life is. You may know that I'm a sucker for sunsets and rainbows and so it's no surprise that I found this film by Henry Jun Wah Lee to be one of most stunning displays of beauty I've ever seen. It's paired with the song "Legend" by Mono, the lead-off track from its new album, For My Parents. On it's own, the Japanese four-piece band can have a huge sound. In fact, it's hard to imagine the majesty they create getting any bigger, but here they're partnered with the Wordless Music Orchestra, and the combination is explosive.
We asked the band and the film's director to talk about the collaboration.
From Takaakira Goto of the band Mono:
There is a variety of noise music out there and each kind generates different waves of energy. These waves of energy have the power to make people feel joy, sadness, anger, or celebration. I want to create the sound of joy, the noise of reaching through darkness and finding joy at its center. We all eventually lose the thing that made us. It's the way of nature. I was inspired by the idea of a young boy spending a lifetime growing out of his childish ways, and learning how to embrace his parents as they became elderly and frail. Even when their bodies perish, they live on in the life of their child. So we hope that this song serves as a gift from child to parent. While everything else changes, this love remains a constant throughout time. We were very fortunate to collaborate with Henry Jun Wah Lee, who is a nature filmmaker from Los Angeles. Through his vision, I could hear the rhythm, breath and whisper of the earth. It made me remember that there are still beautiful places in nature that are untouched by time.
Director Henry Jun Wah Lee:
All of the shots were time lapses. This was so that we could capture movements or changes in nature that we as humans would not normally be able to perceive, such as dramatic movements of clouds or changes in light. To do this we use DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex) cameras to shoot stills at regular intervals. Intervals vary depending on the types of movement we want to capture. Some are short — 15 minutes — while others are long — six to eight hours. These stills are then later taken back to my office where, using a computer, they are put together into sequences that become video. The advantage of using a DSLR over a standard video camera for this film are several. On one hand, stills from a DSLR are much higher quality than a still frame captured by video on a video camera. Stills are also much higher resolution — more than four times more pixels than a 1080 HD cam. That means more room to crop, zoom in, pan, edit, and show a higher quality end product. Using a DSLR opens up options for a wide variety of light, high quality lenses. It also allows me to output 4K resolution video. You may have noticed that most of the shots have an extra dimension of movement. That is because they were shot with cameras mounted on portable motorized dolly systems. My assistant and I brought two of these rigs, made by Kessler Crane, to Iceland. One was a three foot track called the Pocket Dolly. The other was a modular 12 foot track that could be broken down into four foot sections called the Shuttle Pod. Each comes with a motor and a controller to program the speed at which the cameras would travel down the track. My behind the scenes video has me using these rigs in the field but I do have some stills on my Facebook page that you can access: www.facebook.com/evosiastudios