Pretty Lights “The Visual Project”

In our most ambitious film project to date in both size and scope, a year’s worth of shooting, editing, and custom video effects went into crafting a video accompaniment for Derek Vincent Smith’s first full-length release in over two years “A Color Map of the Sun”. Pretty Lights pulled out all the stops on this one and so did we.

A Color Map of the Sun’s visual accompaniment in sixteen short films

For this album Derek decided to take a much different approach to the creation of his unmistakable sound and actually orchestrated recording sessions with studio musicians to comprise all new sounds, eventually to be pressed into his own vinyl records to sample from. At the inception of the visual side of this project we decided that we too would take the analog approach.

So we grabbed all our old lenses, film cameras and digital alike, and created our own visual effects catalog rather that relying on computer generated ones that have become so common place in the industry. The experimental video days were filled with trips to the local science store  for high powered lasers and magnets, anything we could get to glow or burn, and a variety of diffracting crystals. To put it over-the-top we turned to a true master analog visual artist, Brownshoesonly, to create a collection of effects created through a custom modular video synth and host of old-school video and electrical equipment.

To capture the look we were going for took us all around the country. We took to exploring the decaying and otherwise forgotten buildings around The Rust Belt, capturing the eery beauty of industrial neglect. We had a rare opportunity to follow and film an underground street artist in San Francisco, careful not to reveal his identity. We spent a day filming oil and gas refineries in Wyoming at a super high frame rate, capturing the maze like architecture of their pipes and fittings.  We astrolapsed Joshua Tree National Park while doing light experiments to enhance the already alien surroundings.

This project was a pleasure and a challenge at the same time and we are truly delighted to see its release after being so dedicated to it for so long.  Working with Derek always pushes us to progress and innovate and we love the process almost as much as its completion.