Creating a promo often poses a unique set of challenges – convey a message, stir the emotions, point people to Christ and showcase an event – all within 90 or 60 seconds. These things seem simple in theory, but to do all of them with success takes time and often means working, and re-working ideas until they are refined to the core.
The theme for Colour 2015 is ‘Be Found’ – a bold statement that brought to mind a myriad of different images and scriptures. Very early on in the process, we decided that we wanted to do something different – something that had a more graphical edge, something that would change dynamically with the pulse of the music.
We also wanted to keep the concept simple – evolve the imagery from being messy/obscured/hidden (the antithesis of ‘being found’) to interspersed imagery, ramping up towards the end where it is more singular – highlighting the ‘Be Found’ concept with a simple visual device.
There is a great deal of back and forth that happens between our (Film/TV) team and the Communications team. On this project we sat together to try and flesh out what things needed to look like and how we can marry what we do (film/tv – motion) with what they do (print/web – static). What works as a still doesn’t always work in motion, as things that have motion, need to evolve. We knew from the outset that the film concept was going to utilise a lot more visual devices than the print concept because of this need for evolution, but this wasn’t an issue as print would also need to evolve throughout the year. Thus, print could in-turn utilise some of the devices used in the film – which has already happened (as you can see on the Hillsong Instagram feed)
We conceptually hemmed a lot of the language (text) in the promo on these scriptures:
MATTHEW 5:13-16 (The Message)
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
PHILIPPIANS 3:8-9 (The Message)
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
Our original intention was to avoid using a voice over, but as we started working on the film, we realised that we needed an auditory device that would guide us through the span of the promo. I started trailing through old archive films and found some really interesting vocal recordings that explored the idea of ‘pioneering’ and ‘travelling into new horizons’.
It was a message that carried particular significance for Colour 2015 as the overarching theme of ‘Be Found’ was framed around the words ‘A New Day, A New Era’ – an echo of the ‘Pioneer Again’ thought.
I think one of the most challenging aspects of this project was trying to establish a visual look and feel that felt coherent but also evolved with the simple narrative. It had to be simple and colourful. The shooting process was relatively uncomplicated, as we knew that we wanted to create a ‘human mirror/kaleidoscope’ effect, by utilising a white wall as a backdrop and simple ‘kinetic portraits’ of girls from various backgrounds and ethnicities. After messing around with shots from the first shoot, we realised that we were going to need a lot more movement and dynamics and so we organised a group of dancers to do a few solo performances to the reference track. We were then able to key these performances and use the dancers’ silhouettes as a canvas in which to place mirrored and overlaid images of cities/landscapes/colour moments.
This visual device really solidified itself late on Wednesday night – the night before Colour started. We were up until 5 AM (Thursday morning) implementing this new ‘look and feel’ throughout the promo to try and make everything feel coherent. Our initial edit didn’t have a lot of colour, so we had to re-engineer some of our work to make it ‘pop’.
I’ve realised that most projects feel very rough at 95%, but it is the last 5% of work that typically brings it to life. Our desire is always to point people to Jesus, and with ‘Be Found’ we wanted to make that directive fun and colourful.
For more information on Colour Conference please visit colourconference.com
For more from Hillsong Film please visit hillsong.com/film