Behind The Artworks: Consecration - An Elegy For The Departed (Single) (2020)


For the video I created for the track ‘An Elegy For The Departed’; I decided to tie in the imagery used on the album with the lyrics, utilising all of the drawings I created for the album front cover and booklet internals. The focal artwork for this video is the piece entitled ‘The Departure’. This represents the tracks ‘An Elegy For The Departed’ and ‘To Welcome The Grey’; which both take a look at the subject of loss and grieving. This I used alongside the other artwork - the front cover, and the piece accompanying the other two main songs.

I based the drawing of ‘The Departure’ on the image of a lonely figure. Using the nude female form to represent beauty, contrasted with the theme of decay. She is covered in all sorts of rot and sores (yet still retaining a youthful and delicate appearance). A poignant image for me has always been that of a lady, looking out of a window, either seeing someone leave for the last time, or recollecting painful past memories. I wanted to capture the look and feel of that, and convey those kinds of emotions, but in a much darker way.

For the drawing itself, I have always loved monochrome pieces, so it was at the forethought of my mind to create all of the album artwork in black and greys. All drawings were produced in one of my favourite mediums – charcoal, and I utilised both willow sticks, various grade of charcoal pencil and compressed charcoal blocks for the main work, along with a putty eraser - for working back areas blocked in with willow charcoal.

The charcoal pencils were employed for the bulk of the fine detailing, the willow charcoal for all the subtle blending and for laying down blocks of tone. I love a bit of conte crayon too (just to add some rich blacks in limited areas, for a little bit more variation in tonal depth). I also used graphite sticks in places as well, mainly for fine detail on the front cover piece. Once all of the drawings were completed, they were photographed, and I then added the grey marbled effect background alongside a few other textures digitally, to tie it in with the rest of the album booklet. The digital aspect was only employed on developing the background areas, and was not used to modify the original drawings in any way.
For the video, I have different templates set up for various types of video content. For our recent lyric and artwork videos, I placed our logo so that it is quite prominent in the beginning; with a nice simple fade in over a black background. Over this was added some light and subtle smoke effects. The logo then fades slowly and ominously out - into a full shot of the album cover. For this part; I took the logo out of the image so the focus was just on the cover drawing.

The textures used as a background on the original album art was modified to suit the aspect ratio of the video. Over the album cover shot, and fading in; is some blood red title text in a stylised font, to really stand out against the overall grey colour scheme I used on the album artwork. This section sits over the introduction part of the song, and when the vocals kick in, I transition to separate clips of the pieces with the lyric overlays.

I decided, rather than having a boring single shot in the background with text over the top - I’d create extra interest by slowly moving and panning around different parts of the images I was using. I created a kind of storyboard for the sections; organising the sets of clips for each piece of artwork, with a fixed consistent duration for all of them. The first set of clips are from the drawing entitled ‘The Departure’, which as mentioned earlier, is a direct representation for the lyrics of this track. After this sequence, I focus on the front cover artwork for a set of clips, then the piece I did for ‘In Somnus Ego Morior’ - again from the booklet internal pages. I then revisit the front cover and ‘The Departure’ imagery, alternating between these until near the end of the video.

Each clip was carefully selected, focussing on a different part of the drawings; with different panning and zooming and speed settings applied, to keep interest going and lead your eye around the screen, especially when the lyrics come up. I intentionally kept the panning alternating – up on one clip, down on the next, to add to the effect and maybe make it a bit unsettling to watch haha.

For each clip, we have the base artwork with extra video effects on top. I use different transitions and apply these to vary the way the clips integrate with each other. On top of that some other filter effects and lighting effects are placed to add an extra layer of depth to the pictures. I have a set of favourite effects I now typically use, which are applied across most of our videos to maintain a sense of feel and coherency. I think the overall theme I have tried to capture links back nicely to our CD output and all of the ideas in the lyrics and artwork. The feelings of darkness, despair, desolation, grief, desperation and the like, are evoked quite well, I believe, with the techniques employed.

Lyrics were all overlaid, using the same colour pallete, with opacity and fading in and out to give a kind of ghostly quality to the text. The font was chosen to be easy enough to read, and be bold enough to catch your eye, but also have a slight italicised and classic quality to it. I hate using boring fonts like Arial and Times New Roman (no offence chaps, you have your uses!). I much prefer old script, calligraphy style fonts, and odd stuff, I think they are much more organic looking. Unfortunately however; so the text is actually readable, I had to settle on a compromise between the two aspects I wanted to represent. Getting the lyrics to fade in and out just at the right moment, with emphasis placed on certain words (playing with the placement on screen and the sizing of the font itself) I think works very well.

Towards the end of the piece, I revert back to the full album artwork shot, then fade into the actual CD cover. This is placed in the midst of an adaptation of the banner we used on our social media channels. This zooms out to showcase the full artworks used throughout the video.

I love the use of old film grain effects, scratchy and damaged video and such like; so, these effects have been placed over the whole piece, with other effect clips added throughout to focus on specific areas I wanted to highlight.

This video is very similar in style to the lyric and artwork video I created beforehand; for the track ‘In Somnus Ego Morior’. That video uses the same images, but in different sequences and quantities, pans and zooms, and alternative sets of effects added to it. A different font for the lyric overlay was also used there. Both videos in effect use the same imagery, but with the focus being more on the artwork in the booklet for that song. In that respect they are both entirely different compositions, yet retaining the same style and look.

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