Decommissioned Forests: A Comforting Uncertainty

The video for A Comforting Uncertainty was released in February 2022, ahead of the launch of the album Industry on 1st April. I had an idea stuck in my mind for a couple of years for a short dystopian science fiction film which I'd been hoping to make. I pitched this idea to the band as a possible music video narrative and they quickly got on board with it. As the run-time of the song is almost ten minutes, a fairly complex and immersive story could be told within that time.

The filming was done over two days in London, one spent in the Mansion House/Seven Sisters area and one at the Barbican Centre. Post production took me around a month and a half, using Zbrush and Maya to build the 3D models, SynthEyes to track them into the shots, Mental Ray to render the CGI and After Effects to do the 2D motion tracking, compositing, grading and editing.

 

The video had its official premiere at the kino London open mic film night in Angel on the 11th February with all band members in attendance.

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Polygonal modeling for the Sharestation, the surveilance drone heads - and various other objects seen briefly in the background and in vision sequences - were constructed in Maya. The Sharestation was one of the lengthiest builds as I also had to create fully animated graphics (in After Effects) to show the different media feeds on its many monitors. On this item particularly I took a lot of inspiration from Syd Mead's design work for Blade Runner. They were tracked into the various shots using a combination of 2D tracking in After Effects and 3D tracking in SynthEyes, where the camera was moving freely throughout the environment.

The flying heads later went on to be featured in artwork for the single release of Ants Part 1 and Drop Brick.

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The CGI faces shown briefly in this shot were the Sphynxes from Ants Part 1, the other Decommissioned Forests video which I had worked on a couple of months earlier. They were featured again here to provide a sense of thematic continuity between the clips.

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The scene featuring 'The Moderator' is significant because it's the first time I tried sculpting a 3D character using Zbrush with the intention of rigging and animating it. While this one probably wouldn't have looked great walking or performing complex movements, it seemed to blend into the scene quite well and I was pleased with the end result.

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Copyright 2022 Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner CG