Rob Ulitski - 26th June 2020

Stevie Russell directs a delightful lockdown visual for Kodaline's Say Something, made entirely at his home in Dublin, featuring his 10 month old daughter Willow. 

Opening in a living room, backdropped by a beautifully illustrated night sky, baby Willow is looking through a telescope, pondering the expanse of space and what exists just out of reach.

The POV shot through the telescope showcases Russell's wife Kitty Moss' vibrant artwork, with glittering planets and shimmery constellations taking centre-stage... That is, until Willow happens upon a hypnotic and inviting yellow star.

From that point onwards, we see Willow construct a rudimentary mode of transport to get to the star, in a charming montage full of brilliantly-timed performances, masterfully edited together to make the impossible look realistic.

A stunning showcase of lo-fi CGI and VFX work adds a polish and level of complexity to the latter half of the visual, as Willow rides the spaceship to the star, and discovers a cookie waiting behind the shiny disguise.

Upon her landing back to Earth, a poignant message is displayed on screen- "Children are born to reach the stars. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they need your help more than ever". The video is promoting Unicef, with a link to a donation page. 

The pure amount of passion and painstaking work that has gone into this is astonishing, and the fact it is for such a good cause is admirable. 

From the art department through to the directing and VFX, every role has gone above and beyond what could be expected in such a short time frame, and the proof really is in the pudding (or rather more fittingly, the cookie).

STEVIE RUSSELL:

You just have to give space and time and babies will generally deliver.

"Shooting with babies is always fun. With this, it was generally easy as Willow had never seen a lot of what she was playing with so always a sure way to get a baby to concentrate.

"The opening scenes were more of a challenge, to be honest. You just have to give space and time and babies will generally deliver. The ship was constructed using wood as a base and then clad in cardboard. We then added lots of little bits and bobs, as well as building the cockpit with Christmas lights, LEGO and sweets. We also had to build a miniature that was finicky. We were on a tight deadline (of course), all in all, it took about a week. 

"Getting the look of space right was a real challenge as we wanted a very specific look and my wife Kitty Moss (kittymoss.com) was doing the illustrations for it. We found it needed to be a balance between what you would expect and something more childlike. Finding that balance was definitely a challenge but I'm delighted where we landed.

"The post company Mirriad, based in India, did a beautiful job in a very tight timeline. We were in constant contact on WhatsApp before, during, and after the shoot.

"We were lucky in a way, being at home, as some things needed to be re-shot for post and I was editing as we went. So if something wasn’t hitting right, we had to look again."

Credits

DirectorStevie Russell
Art DepartmentKitty Moss
Art DepartmentRobert Corish
VFXRajasekhar P
VFX CompanyMirriad
Lead actorWillow Russell

Rob Ulitski - 26th June 2020

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