Stars In Battledress: A Winning Decree
I have been a fan of Stars In Battledress since I first saw them supporting Cardiacs in 1999. Tim Smith was and is a big fan of this unique duo; they are brothers Richard and James Larcombe. Elder brother Richard sings and plays intricate phrases on his crystalline ES-335 while James provides the keyboard and piano parts that intertwine and mesh with the guitar parts in a way that defines their unique sound. Like a few of of the bands I follow I find it hard to believe that Stars In Battledress don’t have a global underground following.
I was very excited to have the chance to work on a project with Stars In Battledress, not least because it meant I would hear the new album before most people. I have loved their first album since it was released in 2003 and the second album has been anticipated by “the people who know about these things” for a long time.
This video was very much the brainchild of Richard and he found the location and story-boarded the whole thing. Collaboration is a funny old business and it always works best when you are working with people with complementary skills. Richard has a strong performance background and my role was more cinematographer than director.
One of the things I wanted to try for this video was to run at a fast shutter speed to give a panicked frenetic look to the section starting at 4:19. Normally you set a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second for 25 frames per second video. You an find lots of resources on this online that explain how this emulates the way the shutter works on a film camera. By using a faster shutter – this is at 1/200s – you lose the smooth motion blur and gain a slightly hyper-real nervous sort of a look. It’s been used in lots of famous action sequences and I wanted to add some energy to this section of the video. It’s a risky strategy because you make the decision before you start filming – it is not a post production choice. But I think it really works here.