Zoom Around San Francisco in a Mesmerizing Music Video—and GIFs!


Hypno SFKevin Parry's music video for Kalle Mattson's "Water Falls," creates the impression of bungee jumping horizontally across a city. It's so mind bending, you have to watch it again just to see if you can figure out how they did it. Did cinematographer Andrea Nesbitt hitch a ride on a zip line across the Golden Gate Bridge? We gave up and asked Parry, who describes the making of the video in a quick interview below. He also shares a fascinating tip for promoting a music video in the age of the Internet: harness the power of GIFs

The Atlantic: Can you tell us a little about the concept for the video and how it came together?

Kevin Parry: Kalle and I collaborated on a music video project a year ago known as “A Stop-Motion History of the World” that was fairly popular on the Internet. With a new music release (the Lives In Between EP), Kalle approached me to create another music video, this time for the song “Water Falls,” in hopes of repeating our success.

The idea for capturing San Francisco moving through space and time came out of wanting to capture the slow-pulsing, hypnotic feel of the song, combined with the lyrical theme of life passing us by. I also wanted to push the boundaries of combining the concepts of animation with live-action footage on an extremely large scale.


How did you create that amazing bungee-style zoom effect?

Parry: The bungee/zoom effect was created by first filming a zoom in/zoom out on either end of a street, and then filming the middle section with a camera on the front of my scooter, driving the street both ways. This video footage was then animated in post-production to increase speed and line up the frames.

We discovered your video via Reddit — after the GIFs were greeted with more success than the actual video. In the battle to win the Internet, will GIFs beat video (and why)?

Parry: The success of the GIFs was exactly why we created them -- in order to grab the short attention span of the internet. Both videos and GIFs have their place online, but we knew before launching that we would increase our chances of exposure if we created both. Getting the average web surfer to watch your 3.5-minute music video is extremely difficult, regardless of the content. If a GIF catches their eye, linking them to the video, there's a greater chance they'll watch.


What's next for you?

Kalle Mattson: At this point hopefully just staying on top of the "Water Falls"/Hypno SF viral craziness. At the end of August I am heading into the studio to record my third full-length release in Toronto, with Gavin Gardiner of the Wooden Sky producing. The record will hopefully be released in early 2013 and I will be spending the rest of 2012 on a cross-Canada tour supporting my newest EP and the video's success.

Parry: I'm focusing on my full-time career as a stop-motion animator. For now, I'm enjoying the success of the Hypno SF project and looking forward to relaxing a bit before developing my next personal project.

Andrea Nesbitt: I'm always working to expand my video production company, Candy Glass Productions, within San Francisco and the Bay Area.

See more GIFs at http://www.hypnosf.com/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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