Young Fathers 'Holy Ghost' by Oscar Hudson

Young Fathers 'Holy Ghost' by Oscar Hudson
  • By David Knight
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Oscar Hudson returns with his first music video since winning Best Director at the UK Music Video Awards last year, and delivers another gem of in-camera visual effects ingenuity for Young Fathers, shot on a Scottish moor, where all manner of odd things are happening.

Now available everywhere, following its Apple Music exclusive, Hudson's video for Holy Ghost uses thermal image technology to combine a video with a breathtaking look, together with a slow release of dark humour. It's also a performance video, involving lipsync and choreography, executed over a vast expanse of land - all captured on one camera. 

That was a rare, high-powered military thermal camera, which led the footage to look infra-red - or as  Young Fathers’ Graham ‘G’ Hastings has dubbed it: “Shot in Infra-Dead™” – and zooming in onto a distant hillside where some very strange things seemed to be happening. As Oscar Hudson explains below, finding the camera and then using it for the purposes of making a music video was a very unusual experience.

Shot on location in Perthshire in Scotland, Holy Ghost is a technical marvel, combining cinematography, survelliance and choreography to unique effect. Most importantly, a wicked sense of humour runs through it, from the opening (non-infrared) shot, to the last.  

From the director

OSCAR HUDSON: 

“The film was shot on a long range thermal surveillance camera, a piece of kit generally used by the military for border security and other unfriendly war-zone type operations that involve spotting people who are a long way away.

"It was super difficult to actually get our hands on one as they aren’t very many of them out there, and the ones that do exist circulate solely within the surveillance industry rather than the film industry. It was really interesting reaching out across that line because whilst the two worlds share so much in common, they speak entirely different languages and operate in very different ways. But after months of scouring the earth in search of one that wasn’t stuck in a war zone we found one 30 mins away in Hertfordshire (big thanks to Silent Sentinel who let us take it out!)

"I didn’t want to use the camera for it’s haunting aesthetic alone, nor do a video medley of experiments with hot and cold stuff. Both those aspects are great but I was mostly interested in the camera's range and functionality as a piece of surveillance gear. So we worked to make that aspect a core part of the language and narrative of the film - so the camera itself becomes a character as does it’s operator and we fully embraced it’s electronic movements and wobbles throughout.

"The whole film is shot from one single camera position 300m away from our location at the top of a wet mountain in Scotland. We spent the whole day up there wrestling with the camera which was more or less operated via a calculator. For such a high tech thing it had an amazingly lo-fi user interface, it was like a fax machine. We had to pre-program a list of every camera position then whilst shooting dial in and execute each individual move manually.”

Credits

Director
Oscar Hudson
Producer
Maurizio Von Trapp
Production Company
Pulse FilmsPulse Films website
Executive Producer
Rik Green
Director of Photography
Ruben Woodin Dechamps
Camera Assistant
Rob Rowles
1st AD
Stuart Cadenhead
2nd AD
Sean Hind
Production designer
Laura Strong
Art Department
Linzi St Clair
Stylist
Ian Tod
Production Assistant
Tamara Yazbek
Production Assistant
Hilaire de Cacqueray
Editor
Oscar Hudson
Colourist
Jessica Vile
Grading company
Framestore
VFX Company
Framestore
Post Producer
Chris Anthony
Post Producer
Ben Stell
Flame
Paul O’Brien
Flame
Omar Akkari
Flame
Tim Greenwood
Commissioner
Theresa Adebiyi
Thermal Camera Tech
Rob Rowles
Runner
Ryan McCann, Monika Grabowska, Gavin Smart
BTS
Christopher Cook
Nurse
Aileen MacDonald
Hole Diggers
Dick & Big Pete
Pissing Voyeur
George Finlay Ramsay
Wolf
Kali
Thermal Camera supplier
Silent Sentinel
Special Thanks
Louise & Paul Ramsay, Aileen Brown, Aileen MacDonald, Framestore, Hilaire de Cacqueray, Lorraine, Dick, Andrew Mitchell, Rhian Howells, Drew Harris, George Rumsay at Panavision, Aileen MacDonald

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