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Michael Battcock - Echo

on Thursday, 09 May 2013.


What’s your background and how did you get into film-making?

I studied Music, Multimedia and Electronics at the University of Leeds and had originally wanted to be a sound engineer. I had messed about with film when I was younger but only started to consider it seriously around 3 years ago when I decided to take the plunge and by a 5D mark II. From there I just started experimenting with the camera and learning as much as I could.

How did the idea for the video for Echo come about?

Wild Swim approached me with the song which was based around the story of Echo and Narcissus who have references in Greek mythology. Echo is said to have had been wondering through a forest when she came across Narcissus who is gazing at his own reflection in a pool of water. She professes her love to him but he is totally consumed by his own beauty and spurns her love. Driven to madness by despair she disappears into nothingness, with only an echo of her name to remain. The band also really liked a video I  had done of ink in water ( and wanted to incorporate that into the video for Echo. So there is a very subtle reference to Narcissus in the reflection of the ink in the water which looks like a (Narcissus) flower.

How did you go about finding the seemingly perfect locations for the video?

That was actually down to my friend's suggestion. We drove out to Otley Chevin forest, just north of Leeds, and found this amazing rock with a big overhang which served as the precipice from which Echo throws herself.

Are there any added challenges from combining special effects from live footage?

With visual effects you composite other elements on top of the original live action footage, so it's always a bit of a challenge to imagine that whilst filming the footage and picture how the final shot will end up. It's really exciting when it comes together in the end though!

How much creative input came from the band on how they wanted the video to look?

There were some brief discussions before filming but they largely left it up to me. They are mostly based in Oxford so I went down for one meeting where I presented my ideas for the film. They were keen and liked the style of my previous videos so they were happy to let me take the reins on the look of the film, which was great.

How did you go about casting the actor in the video?

She's actually my girlfriend and hasn't done any acting since playing Queen Elizabeth in primary school! The weird thing was that after agreeing to be in the film we actually broke up so filming it was a bit awkward, the tears she's crying just before she throws herself off the rock are actually real tears! We must have made a good team though as we're back together now! 

Did you encounter any unexpected difficulties in making the video?

I knew the underwater shots would be tricky but that was my first time filming underwater and it was even harder than I expected! Since there was a very low budget I was using a pretty cheap underwater housing (essentially a thick plastic bag) so controlling focus, aperture etc. was a nightmare. Plus there was a fair amount of air in the housing which was obviously making it float, and since I was floating too I ended up having to put a metal table on the bottom of the pool and hook my legs under it to stay down properly!

What advice would you give to someone interested in making short films or music videos?

I guess it would be just to do as much as you can and get involved with as many projects as you can, preferably working with more established film companies as well as with friends or on your own. Also be prepared to do a lot of work for not a lot of money when you're starting out. It's pretty tough at the moment as it seems everybody is making music videos on the cheap, but that also means there's a lot of rubbish on the internet so if you're good your work will get noticed eventually! 

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