Sonja Rohleder animates natural disasters for Keimzeit music video

Music: giant waves, gale-force winds and meteor strikes spoil idyllic scenes in this animated music video for German band Keimzeit (+ movie).

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

Director and animator Sonja Rohleder of Berlin collective Talking Animals created the visuals for the band's track Junges Blut – which translates to English as Young Blood.

After becoming acquainted with vocalist Norbert Leisegang's wife, Rohleder made a paper cut-out video for the band's 2012 track Kolumbus and was then asked to provide another animation for a new song.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

"Norbert is a wonderful artist," Rohleder told Dezeen. "He has a strong vision in terms of what he wants but at the same time he was able to trust me enough for giving me complete freedom in my work and also the decision which song I would pick."

She chose Junges Blut because she believed she could create an expressive music video without overpowering the song's message. "The song is very calm and in a matter-of-fact-way," Rohleder said.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

"For me the song is about growing up and, to be more specific, about the time in life when you understand that the more playful part of youth is gone," she added.

Rohleder decided to depict this coming-of-age tale with a series of unpredictable events such as natural disasters and accidents, which inevitably cause changes in the lives of those they affect.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

"When you're growing up and you feel that the world is still spinning and always will and that nothing that you want to hold on is going to be there forever," said the director. "So when there will be a huge change, all that you can and should do is let go and be open for all the news things that will come along."

The clip starts with a countryside scene, with images of trees, fields and wildlife accompanying the sounds of the acoustic guitar.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

This peaceful landscape is then obliterated by a meteor strike, while the music continues at a calm pace.

The video continues along a similar theme, when a cliffside lighthouse is destroyed by a giant wave then another tidal surge washes away cars and houses.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

Figures are blown away in a hurricane and a mountain is blasted apart by another meteor.

"I tried to keep a perspective that is sort of god like, not connected to a specific character and I wanted humans to appear small and helpless in that moment," Rohleder said. "No one is prepared and no one is able to hide."

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

Other accidents including a smashing glass and a blown lightbulb were included to remind that even small events can cause big changes.

"Even though it is told from a distance, I wanted emotions – good and bad at once," the director said. "I wanted the audience to be drawn into that storm just like the objects and people in the film."

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

After experiencing these catastrophes, the people and wildlife find themselves in another idyllic environment at the end of the video.

The graphics were created with a limited palette of bright colours on a black background. Shapes in blues, yellows, reds and pinks were used for the characters and landscapes.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

To create the movie, Rohleder set out a rough storyboard with drawings timed to the music, then animated scene by scene.

The cut-out-style graphics were predominantly made and assembled in After Effects, working with fellow animator Dennis Rettkowski.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

"I used a lot of different animation techniques, cut-out, rotoscoping, expression, key-frame animation, particles, shape animation all in 2D and a little 3D animation for the people floating in space," said Rohleder.

"That was a great way to work, because I never knew how I would accomplish the animation that I had in mind when I started the scene," she added.

Junges Blut music video by Keimzeit

Junges Blut is taken from Keimzeit's 2015 album Auf Einem Esel Ins All.