The madness behind making the Lucius video, 'Gone Insane'


Lucius's Jess Wolfe in 'Gone Insane' video
Lucius singer Jess Wolfe in a scene from the band's video for the song, "Gone Insane." (Nathan Johnson)

No one has ever accused Nathan Johnson of taking the easy way out. The film composer, designer and director has made a name for himself, in part, by producing videos and other creative projects that require a mind-numbing amount of monotonous drudgery to pull off, but result in something magical and one-of-a-kind.

His latest mind-blower is a visually twisted video for the Lucius song "Gone Insane," a stop-motion film full of stunning effects and zero CGI. The whole thing, inspired by facial dysmorphia, was painstakingly pieced together over the course of a week using old-fashioned makeup, prosthetics and more than 20,000 photographs.

By the time it was done, Lucius singer Jess Wolfe had spent more than 20 hours in a makeup chair and four full days in front of a camera shooting the entire thing frame-by-frame at glacial speed. "Since we didn't use CGI, we needed to use simple, hidden cuts," director Nathan Johnson says. "The thing was, every time we added a new prosthetic, we had to stop the whole shoot for two to three hours so we could send Jess to makeup."

Johnson tells NPR Music in an email that his team at The Made Shop likes to do things "the hard stupid way," but that he often doesn't have a choice. "I'm definitely not trying to make things harder for myself on purpose, but in many cases, the harder way is the only way to accomplish what we're doing when we don't have a massive budget. If you're willing to go down that road, it gives you the freedom to explore something a sane person would never consider."

"Gone Insane" is from Lucius' third full-length album, Good Grief, out now on Mom + Pop Records. Here's the original video for the song:

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