Naivety, freedom and happiness, three blissful mind states the artists at Pleix (a virtual community of digital artists based in Paris), set to explore when creating this self-generated short film. The inspiration came from Magritte’s juxtaposition of familiar objects in an unfamiliar context. ‘We didn’t want to push the funny aspect already in the film. We wanted to go further, to transform dogs into creatures, into strange shapes’.
The repetition and sequencing makes ‘Birds’ pretty mesmerising to watch, with the slow motion adding to the awe and magic it projects. Shot over two days at a 2000 frames/second speed to capture the dogs ‘in flight’ (in real time the action was really quick) and with a cast of 11 dogs of different breeds, some of which were not ‘professional’ camera hounds. Leti from Pleix explains: ‘We did research on all dogs breeds, trying to find the ones that had a strong personality. Dogs have sometimes more charisma than people, they are really sensitive, instinctive and emotional beings. They have this naivety that could be compared to little hairy children’.
However, there was bound to be some challenges to get the right performances on demand from such eclectic cast. ‘There was so much lighting, as if the sun was shining directly on them, all the dogs went really quiet. They were not scared, as if they already knew they were the stars of the film’ Leti adds. The team at Pleix explored different ways to make the dogs jump, yet ultimately and surely enough, giving them treats did the trick. No pun intended.
The score by Vitalic was selected for its 80s dance floor tempo (peppered with moments of euphoria): an electro track with a sense of melody which complements the use of the graphic laser lines that punctuate the film.
Images courtesy of Pleix
Credits Birds (2’34”), directed and produced by Pleix. Music by Vitalic (Pias Records). Editing by Neil Smith at ‘The White House’. Téléciné by ‘The Mill’. Special effects by ‘Mac Guff Line’. DOP by Tim Green. Distribution by Pleix.
Have you ever imagined Amy Winehouse or Nick Cave as a Chihuahua, Neil Young as a Vizsla, or PJ Harvey as an Afghan hound? That’s exactly what San Francisco-based artist Michael Gillette has done through his unique illustration project, blending beloved, iconic music legends, both past and present, with their dog counterparts. Pack of Dogs, our first foray into book publishing, is a joyful title designed for music, pop culture and dog lovers alike.
August 25, 2020