Portfolio Review: Top 5 Videos and Interview with m ss ng p eces

We caught up with the Brooklyn-based creative agency behind Panda Bear's dope "Surfer's Hymn" video. Their work will have you asking "How'd they do that?"

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Panda Bear - "Surfer's Hymn" Music Video

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Client: Panda Bear "Surfer's Hymn" Music Video

Ari: The story is: we had these surf-skateboard (hybrids) and we didn’t know what to do with them and one day Sam, our friend who is one of our directors, called up late one night and said “I got it. It’s skeletons rising from the grave, ready to surf skate the night.” And I think the second, more evolved incarnation was the idea of the surfers that had been taken by the sea, to give it a little more emotional impact. And then we had to convince the cemetery…we can’t say the name of the cemetery, but it’s in New York, and they were kind enough to let us do it.

Josh: We had recently learned about phosphorescent paint and UV black lighting, and actually those two of our films have that same technique in them. We should also mention that there’s a pretty serious undertone to the film, that the director Sam wanted to pay tribute to these fallen surfers. So, that’s the basis through which we could get access to the cemetery.

Ari: And Sam is a recent surfer inductee, so he’s probably in far Rockaway right now, surfing the waves.

PANDA BEAR "Surfer's Hymn" from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

Memory Tapes

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Client: Memory Tapes - "Yes I Know" Music Video

Kate: We have a friend and frequent collaborator named Eric Epstein who directed this music video and it was his directorial debut. Just from the tests, you could see how special it was going to be, and it’s really his vision and his aesthetic and his talent that is really fully realized in this film.

Ari: Yeah we feel like we really enabled a really special talent in this film. It’s a very unconventional process. It’s a new way of doing 2D on 3D.

Josh: We’ve received the widest cross-section of responses to this video. There must be some element of eternal truth in the look and the feel of it, very emotionally. Everybody interprets it very differently, but in a very personal way. 

Kate: Because it is so unlike anything anyone has ever seen before, I think that’s reflected in the process Eric went through. And his ability to work with the tools that were available to him, and no one else had really done that before.

Memory Tapes "Yes I Know" from Najork on Vimeo.

Levi's Waterless

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Client: Levis Waterless Denim

Josh: We watch a lot of reference films and keep up with the pace of what other artists are doing, and this film sort of pays tribute to a lot of awesome things that are being made in our creative community. So we borrowed the talents of four animators who we work with, all local in Brooklyn. We worked with a bunch of dirty underwear we found at the Laundromat. We collected dust balls from the dryers. It was a real collaboration and actually it was really just pretty much four-day long party in a Laundromat. In the end, it’s a communications film about Levi’s creating a new product where they use else water in the finishing process.

And the music is also an original score by Julio Monterrey, and it was custom made for the piece. And then we had a whole rock band assembled to score it full force. So he brought the idea, and then it was realized in our friend’s studio. So that was a really fun process as well. 

LEVI'S WATERLESS from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

The History of Light

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Client: GE 

Josh: What we tried to do was make a film that was as authentic to the pop-up book medium as it could be. So we actually set out first to work with paper engineers to actually create a full scale pop up book, but after about a month of research and speaking with all the top paper engineers in the country, we realized that this would be exponentially difficult if not impossible to exercise because of the scale of the book and how we wanted the book to act. So to pay homage to the medium, we actually created the first moment in the film as a real pop up book. And then from there, the images were painted with phosphorescent light and lit with blacklight and we worked wit a team of stop motion editors over a five-day shoot. 

I think that the first day on set we filmed something like one and a half seconds of stop animation...definitely less than five seconds. We working in miniature, so we were really wrapping our heads around this other world. From there the production sort of took off and it took a lot of focus and a really great crew, we were able to come up with the final product. There’s also something to be said for the musical score. It’s an original score by Julio Monterrey, who’s our in house musical director.  

THE STORY OF LIGHT from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.


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Client: Personal project about artist Jonathan Harris

Scott: Jonathan Harris went through this process where he took a picture every single day and was writing a little story, and it went well over a year. And the next thing u know he just decided to stop. And a week or two after that, you know, I had gotten so used to becoming a part of that. He never failed. And it was such a great bonding experience for myself and a lot of artists that were into this as well. So when he disappeared, it was just like “how can you explain this to somebody. How an you touch on how it touched me?” So I went to talk to Jonathan, and we just chatted and I  cut into a six-min pattern of hi talking about some of the most interesting elements of the project. 

And in the sense of creating a missing piece: You couldn’t explain that project to anybody. You couldn’t get across what that project meant without watching some kind of video, so I wanted to create something that didn’t exist to help him tell his story and also…speak through him as well about some elements I feel aren’t in media. Where an artist is saying “the more I find out, the less I know.” It just had a greats sentiment to it.

TODAY from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

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