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Life and Death

Finding art direction to symbolize deep meaning

entry no. 09

When A Liar's Eyes initially discussed this project, they wanted to be sure we could create something a wide audience could enjoy, but also keep a specific message to the track. Separate deals with death and it’s mental stressors. At conception of this project we knew it was important to showcase this idea while also introducing the members. As ALE's very first music video, we needed it to look of quality and be a good lead into further projects.

Our art direction was black and white, chess pieces, and dead rose petals. Minimal ideas would be easier to digest and allow a viewer to connect to the concept. Black symbolizes the darker thoughts and the feelings of death, while white could be relief, rebirth or acceptance of feelings. They obviously contrast well and set the ground work for everything else. Our chess game symbolized the game of life, with various outcomes depending on your choices. This introduced the use of macro lensing for the cinematography.

We played the game out and at moments introduced the black rose petals. The black rose deals with the songs actual history, as it’s wrote about the loss of a grandmother, Rose.

So, while life continues for the loved ones, they still have to deal with death, that can come at any point along the way.

With all of these elements in mind for the story we were able to choose our cinematography direction. We strictly shot on the Canon 100mm macro, so we could create a tight cinematic feeling and get in really close for those macro shots. Our goal was to shoot a mixture of extreme close ups and medium close ups. The wider shots would symbolize wider scope of life and looking at the bigger picture, and the extreme close ups being the intimate moments we experience. At the time, we were pulling a lot of inspiration from the intro sequence of TV series, "Wayward Pines".

We shot a mixture of 24fps and 120fps, which was a nice touch for the rose petals and symbolism for moments of loss. In these moments we can feel like time stops or life feels distorted. Amplifying this idea, we added a distorted edge to a lot of our shots in post. This was a nice branch between the story and band performance. We love when a project feels really consistent and makes sense, verses just doing something because we think it’s cool.

Outside of creative, this project was interesting to craft. Sometimes a project calls for a crazy location, but this one we were able to create everything we wanted in a small garage. It added more work but allowed us to create something on their property, so it felt more personal to the band. Set design was just utilizing a black and white backdrop and lighting the scene. With this choice we shot band singularly, which made the edit have more options and kept the story the prime focus.

With the drama of the song subject and tight cinematography, we kept the lighting dramatic with a singular soft fill and two rims from behind for most shots or totally silhouetted shots. We used a mixture of KinoFlo Selects, Arri 650w and modifiers.

The final product feels pretty big in our opinion, even with being shot in a small space.

We hope you enjoyed this look into the "Separate" production for A Liar’s Eyes.


Ross Theisen | Director + Art Director + Editor

Josh Emerick | Cinematographer + Editor + VFX

Taylor Tigner | AC + DIT

J.R. Brewer | G&E + Gaffer + PA

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