Spotlight: For This Music Video, Michael Wiehart Created Dancing Droids

By David Schonauer   Tuesday May 7, 2019

Do androids dream of electronic dance steps?

They do in a video from musician Ali Hashemi’s new music project Hooked on Bionics, whose first song, Are You Human?, is, Hashemi notes, “a robot love story for the ages.”

The song, with vocals from Adnan Sabir and Linda Gardens, is electronica with a human heart. And to create a video for the music, Hashemi turned to someone he’d collaborated with on commercial projects in the past — New York-based director and creative director Michael Wiehart.

“I did write the script and develop the visuals for the music video, but the storyline generally follows the song: Boy finds girl, they fall in love, loose each other, but come together again at the end,” says Wiegart. “This story is a deeply emotional for the musician and I was respectful of that developing the story and visuals.”

Wiegart went on to shoot, direct, edit animate and composite the project by himself. “All the work was done off hours, weekends and in between jobs, and please don’t ask me how much time it took me … I don’t want to know myself,” he says.

After coming up with a loose script, Wiehart shot footage in locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn where his robotic duo would dance. “They needed to be quintessential New York, but I stayed away from overused NYC iconography and postcard imagery,” he says. Wiehart shot with a Sony a7, a DJI Osmo camcorder, and an iPhone.

The robots are all CGI. “I used motion capture for some scenes and animated on top of it to give them more character,” Wiehart says. “The robots were animated and rendered in Cinema 4D, a 3D modeling, animation, motion graphic and rendering application. The camera tracking was also done with Cinema 4D. I edited in Adobe Premiere and composited and color graded in Adobe After Effects.”

“I did this project just for the fun of it,” Wiehart says. “Every once in a while it is great to do something with no restrictions attached. Hopefully, this will get some brands inspired to have me tell their stories.”

We have previously featured work by Wiegart, founder of the production company Visual Comforts, including his abstract short RE:LEASE, which he calls “a musical travelog through an atmospheric world in black white and red.” The film, inspired by experiments done at the C.E.R.N. particle collider in Switzerland, combined live action and show-motion shots of liquids captured with a high-speed digital camera and 3D animation.

We have also featured his video The Tiny Odyssey, which explores dangerous dark depths — and a child’s adventurous spirit. “It was interesting to see how far I could push this without the help of a big team and render farm,” he says.

See more of Wiehart's personal and commercial work at Vimeo.


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