YDA Gold Winner Oscar Hudson on DIY Filmmaking
We speak to the up-and-coming Pulse director about his YDA Gold Screen-winning promo, Bonobo's No Reason.
One of the most talked-about promos of the year, for Bonobo's No Reason, came courtesy of up-and-coming Pulse Films director Oscar Hudson. Inspired by the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori - extreme reclusives - and shot entirely in-camera, the hypnotic film bagged a YDA Gold Screen Award in the music video (Europe) category this summer.
We caught up with rising star Hudson [pictured below] to find out more about his DIY approach to filmmaking and what's next on the agenda.
Tell us about your route into directing.
I first learned how to shoot and edit making skate videos with my friends in my teens. At university I made one-man-band type videos for anyone who’d let me and eventually I got a few opportunities making videos for iD, Dazed and NOWNESS. Slowly but surely I ended up with more credits as director and fewer as videographer.
What inspired the concept for No Reason?
I’d pitched the basic idea of a repeating room getting smaller and smaller around a person shot in a continuous sequence for the first single off Bonobo’s Migration album. They ended up making a great video for that track with Bison, but when single number two, No Reason, came around, the commissioner, John Moule, asked me to submit the same idea. I had just been to Japan and discovered the phenomenon of hikikomori [Japanese reclusives] and that really made the idea fall into place conceptually.
Why did you choose to shoot everything in-camera rather than use CGI?
I’m quite technically- and conceptually-minded and come from a very DIY background in terms of making films. I like to understand every aspect of the process before a shoot. When I first started out I had no idea how to do computer VFX, so became interested in building sets. These days the central trick of a video comes first and I build a narrative around that.
"Every aspect of this project was unusual and unconventional and there was basically no road map for how to achieve it."
How long was the production process?
About four weeks, and we needed it as there were so many props and so much construction to do. But it was great to have the time to develop the finer details of the narrative as well.
What were the biggest challenges on set and how did you overcome these?
Every aspect of this project was unusual and unconventional and there was basically no road map for how to achieve it. We had to design a totally custom grip system to pull our tiny camera, itself rigged on a DIY wooden sledge. We had to shape the set design around the practicalities of shrinking props 18 times and almost every department was working in ways they had never done before. We had gaffers gluing mini prop lamps together, construction managers cutting the camera track system and our DIT customising the mechanical crank for pulling the camera.
What did you learn during the making of the film?
How to pull a camera through a 100ft-long mousehole and how incredible my crew is – people who were my friends before we started making films together. Sometimes I can’t believe my luck that they’re also such incredibly talented filmmakers.
What can we expect from you next?
I have a few big music video releases coming up, then I’m going to make more short-form bits and bobs. Sooner or later, I’ll get stuck into a feature project.
Representation worldwide: pulsefilms.com
Keep an eye out for Hudson's new promo for Young Thug & Carnage's Homie, coming to shots.net later today.