Kevin McGloughlin uses "digi-cut" technique for Shit Robot music video

Music: facial features materialise from an ever-changing background of geometric graphics in Irish director Kevin McGloughlin's music video for End of the Trail by Shit Robot.

The management for Irish electronic DJ Shit Robot, AKA Marcus Lambkin, contacted the director to create visuals for the track, which features vocals by British musician and Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor.


"The brief was very open and loose," McGloughlin told Dezeen. "I was granted free licence to offer my own ideas for the clip."

His video focuses on Taylor's face, but the singer's features are depicted in layers of different graphical styles that morph between each other.

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The fluid visage is spliced with coloured geometric shapes that flicker across, around and between the portrait during the three-minutes and 42-seconds film.

"Through a kind of journey or 'trip', I wanted to represent a depth and complexity behind the eyes, a manifestation of growth and decay through an evolution of abstract thought," said McGloughlin.

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"The song itself is so wonderfully abstract both lyrically and melodically that we felt an abstract approach to the visual would be fitting," the director said. "Lambkin is very experimental with his music videos and was happy to give the green light for this rather unusual route."

To create the visuals, McGloughlin adapted a technique known as strata-cut, often used in clay stop-motion animation.

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A ball or "loaf" of clay is formed with marbled colours so a section through it appears as an image. As thin layers are sliced off the loaf one at a time, a photograph of what is revealed within is taken between each cut. The set of frames is then played quickly in a sequence so it looks the clay image is moving.

McGloughlin's variation, which he has named "digi-cut", uses a series of digital files of Taylor's face to create a similar effect.

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"The effect is created by stacking a whole bunch of layers of photographs and videos on top of each other, and extracting data from each layer at progressively higher values from the back to the front of the layer stack," he said.

Extra digital manipulations were added to the sequence to produce the final video, which was made using Adobe's Photoshop and After Effects programmes. In some sections, the face is rotated so the layers become visible.

End Of The Trail features on Shit Robot's What Follows LP, which will be released on 6 May 2016 via DFA Records.