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Trunk animates Julian Lennon’s Saltwater 25th Anniversary

On 09, Jan 2017 | In Press | By Pip

Trunk Animation were delighted when Julian Lennon’s art director Dick Carruthers commissioned them to create a new video for the re-working of his chart topping single ‘Saltwater’. It is 25 years since Julian’s world-wide hit drew attention to man’s negative impact on the environment. While the hole in the ozone layer he sang about in 1991 is slowly being healed the song’s central message is sadly as relevant today as then.

In their treatment they wanted to avoid clichéd imagery of famine, stranded polar bears, and melting glaciers to instead show that, although we may now be more aware of the various environmental crises the world faces, mankind is increasingly disconnected from the world. The video features a solitary character- a girl staring into her phone (a device that was in its infancy when “Saltwater” was initially released.) She remains glued to her phone throughout the piece, drifting obliviously over a landscape that encompasses themes of desolation and delight. During her journey she is unaware of the decaying world but she also misses beautiful moments emphasising the song’s call that we have to be more aware of our fragile environment.

Trunk’s directors Layla Atkinson and Jock Mooney joined forces for the first time to co-direct the piece. While both had worked for each other on various projects this was the first time that they had collaborated as joint directors. They both enjoyed the process of combining their skills and experiences.

Jock and Layla combined hand drawn illustrations, textures, scanned photographs, vector graphic elements and 3D characters to create a mixed media collage.  They wanted to create a psychedelic landscape alluding to themes in the song. Layla notes, “We used a range of visuals that were driven by the song, for example when Julian sings of walking on the moon we used Jock’s drawing of an astronaut, yet at other times we used less obvious correlations such as a cracked baby’s bottle to convey the emotion of a hungry child”. These subtle devices mixed with more literal images successfully created the abstract and surreal landscape they were trying to construct. Jock notes, “ The video has multiple layers and images that on repeated viewing reveal themselves”

Fellow Trunk director Rok Predin lent a fresh pair of eyes and his immeasurable skill in compositing and 3D rendering to pull the video together. A full range of software was used including Cinema 4D, After Effects, Flash and Photoshop to deliver the film. Producer Richard Barnett notes “ Last Christmas we created a lyric video for Kylie Minogue and James Corden, a light festive song that captured the season’s themes. It seems fitting that we finish this tumultuous year with a far more mature and melancholy song that asks bigger things from us as we head into a time of uncertainty. Julian’s stunning new arrangement is powerful and orchestral in feel and the finished video captures that depth and complexity beautifully”.

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Track: Julian Lennon ‘Saltwater’ 25 Years
Directed by Layla Atkinson and Jock Mooney
Illustration: Jock Mooney
Animation: Leslie Dart, Rok Predin, Simona Ciraolo, Layla Atkinson
Compositing: Rok Predin
Artworking: Mehmet Ulusahin
Producer: Richard Barnett
Commissioner: Dick Carruthers
Production Company: Trunk Animation