Knifeworld: High /Aflame

It’s been a while since the last Knifeworld video. The band has gone from strength to strength and the new album “Bottled Out Of Eden” shows a new confidence and strength of vision. I love it when you see something evolve from the early ideas to the finished product. Kavus had been semi-secretly sharing the title of the album for a while, enjoying its sound and connotations. I was very excited to get a copy a while ago.

Knifeworld had opened with High/Aflame the last few times I had seen them and it grabbed me from the first time I heard it. So I was a bit disappointed when it wasn’t the first choice of track to make into a video. But after a bit of inter-band discussion they wisely decided to go with it and I was very pleased indeed. Hurrah!


One of my favourite bits about making a video is bouncing ideas around, preferably over booze (although coffee also works). Mel, Kavus and I steadfastly approached the topic over lager. I am nervous about taking credit but it might have been me who suggested collaborating with Chris Tomsett. Chris does psychedelic lightshows, principally in Brighton, as Innerstrings. I had photographed some gigs where Chris had done the lighting and loved it. I had also seen lots of other gig photographs where his beautiful work transformed quite prosaic spaces into kaleidoscopic landscapes.

Chris works with a mixture of old school oil-based lights and digital elements that can include real-time footage captured by a couple of HD video cameras. The work he did on this video was digital and included manipulated real-time footage of the band. Chris has a great collaborative style and was happy to be directed and to offer excellent suggestions; above all he was able to create exactly the sort of visuals that we had hoped for. It made life very easy for those of us pointing cameras.


On this occasion, we used none of my Canon kit. This whole video was shot on the new generation of Sony cameras. Most of the footage was shot on the state-of-the-art Sony A7S II, using the Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS lens. The second camera was the also very new Sony A7R II, mostly with the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS.

The A7S II is notoriously excellent in low light and it didn’t disappoint for a second. One very odd thing was the visual hum lines we got with the massive projections. By “hum” I mean slow-moving stripes of colour that travel from the top to bottom of the image. The issue relates to the synchronisation of the projector’s own refresh rate and the camera’s own capture rate. I experimented with different shutter speeds and learned that if we used 1/40s (instead of the usual 1/50s that one traditionally uses when shooting at 25FPS), the hum vanished.

The 28-135mm f/4 is a servo-powered zoom lens, which is VERY unusual at this price point. F/4 is pretty slow, but combined with the A7S II’s excellent low light handling it did a superb job. I think we shot most of the A7SII footage at a whopping 8000 ISO.

Second camera on this shoot was Sue who did her usual excellent job of assisting: quietly pointing out mistakes and making suggestions. Sue and I get on really well and have a great working relationship. She put in a long hard day on the shoot and never so much as rolled her eyes at me.

We shot some footage of Kavus using the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f0.95 ASPH at F/0.95. Mostly because we could. This footage proved invaluable in the final edit, although you can’t tell it was shot on such an impossibly posh lens because it was “somewhat” processed.


Kavus had some images that were created by the Knifeworld sleeve designer, Steve Mitchell, that he wanted to show at the start of the video. You can see Steve’s beautiful work here.  These were a simple disk with the song title and a new clean version of the Knifeworld logo.   I felt like the disks were nice but I would like to create a three dimensional animated version of the disk.

For this I needed a vector graphic version of the logo to animate in After Effects.  Although the image I was given was a bitmap and quite low resolution, I was able to convert it using Adobe Illustrator with just a couple of clicks.  Very cool.

The Knifeworldworld planet that you see in the animation is Steve’s sleeve art Bottled Out Of Eden wrapped around a sphere.

Here it is:   

Posted on March 7, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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