On Giving Wiping out Thousands a New Haircut

We just tore the wraps off a project I had been a part of with Wiping out Thousands. The video and the accompanying artwork were a collaborative effort with both members of the band, myself, and Matt Barnes. Taylor and Alaine approached us separately about working with them. They had asked me to make content for them before, so I was very happy to help out.

I'm the visuals creator and director, as well as co-writer and co-director of the music video. Matt fills the other roles as co-director, co-writer, and editor. He provided the studio space, equipment, and tons and tons of time. It became apparent very quickly that he and I were going to make some great things together.

The original, horrendous mock-up. Click to see full size.

The original mock-up was to establish a visual for Taylor about what came to mind when I heard the demo. It's scraped together with stock images and half an hour of time. Ultimately, this version was scrapped almost entirely because it was clunky and boring looking. We wanted something that was easily manageable, stark, and even more minimal.

It was hard to scrap a couple of the rejected covers, and it would be an injustice to let them sit on my computer with no love. It started with strict black on anything that wasn't the triangle itself. I had found these absolutely gorgeous images from the Hubble Telescope and composited them together, but with all black, it was boring.

The original working cover based on what it was envisioned to look like. It's boring and uninteresting. It does no service to the song or the viewer. Click to see full size.

It looked tacky. I was in the middle of rearranging the Hubble photos when I had accidentally marked a layer mask to be hidden. Another edit and we wound up with my favorite of the rejected covers. Taylor and I wanted to keep this one, but their manager, Kent, pointed out that it doesn't fit the video or any of the other visuals, concept or created, what so ever. Taylor and I shot ideas back and forth for a while. We ultimately landed on nixing the space background and removing the color. 

Now here's something that's nice on the eyes. Click to see full size.

Selling blue stars was an uphill battle. We finally landed on something that could fit in with everything we had already planned and created. We scrapped everything regarding color and background. I bumped up the contrast on my beloved composite and played with its placement.

We had specific requirements for what we needed, so it was difficult to decide whether or not we ultimately wanted to ditch the color. However, grayscale proved to be striking and kept the balance with the look and feel of the video.

The cover was made in a 16:9 file at larger-than-poster size so that it would be very easy to create any kind of version for every media we would need. From this file, I was able to create all the social media imagery that we launched on the morning the video released, as well as give Matt a copy that would look solid in the finished video.

I need to give a big, tremendous thank-you for the ongoing support, advice, debates, and ass-saving that Carla Barnes has provided. She is the unsung hero of this project so far. These projects have helped Wiping out Thousands assemble their own media group so they can focus on making kickass songs while Matt and I build the accompanying visuals.

We have big plans, and now that our first baby successfully left the nest, we're a lot more confident.

You can find some of the social media artwork and other Wiping out Thousands goodies I've made here.