Our pick this week is the music video for Swedish pop quartet Francobello’s song, “We’re Dead.” The quirky piece has serious undertones, highlighting the amount of disposable waste surrounding modern daily life. Director and animator Samuel Lewis shared his process with us including his satisfaction at collecting all the plastic in the video off the streets of East London, cleaning it all by hand, animating and then recycling it afterwards.

From the sound of it, the project was both about saving the planet and saving time. “’We’re Dead’ is essentially a time saving experiment that came from trying to direct, design and animate a four and a half minute music video in two months,” Lewis told us. “Choosing pixilation meant that I didn’t have to build puppets and collecting rubbish off the streets of East London for replacement animation was a way of minimising the prop building process.

“After collecting so much plastic in a very short time, the environmental message soon followed and it was actually quite cathartic to vent my personal frustrations about pollution in the world today. In an effort to avoid complete hypocrisy, I only used recycled materials in the video which meant avoiding buying new plastic products and everything that could be was responsibly recycled afterward.”

“After pre-production and a detailed storyboarding stage,” Lewis explained, “came the intensive two weeks of animation where the guys heroically backed up after another tour to be animated for 6-8 hour sessions each day in shifts. I set a new personal best of animating 19.5 seconds a day and sleeping for about the same amount of time each night.

“The rest of the production was me trying to remember how to use keylight 2.0 in After Effects and compositing the lip syncing for a singing meat pie. To make the grueling schedule a bit more fun, I took great joy in hiding little easter-eggs and visual gags throughout the clip including a character from a previous Francobollo video, subliminal messages on bottle labels and a cameo from my left hand.

“As stress inducing as the time constraints were, they also pushed me to be creatively decisive and to stop overthinking everything and just animate the damn cigarette butts.”