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Thinking Metal Showreel

Welcome to our Showreel, showcasing several of our recent film projects...

Last updated : 04-Aug-22

Showreel : Sirens Promo Movie (2018)

Sirens was an album by SkinMechanix that somehow became completely and utterly trapped in development Hell. I think we worked on it for around five years between 2014 and 2019, before the whole project was just abandoned as a non-runner.

In an effort to kick-start the project one last time, Jules and I mounted a camera on an improvised gimbal and headed up to the local nature reserve, Rainton Meadows. We began shooting amongst the fading autumn foliage with the leaves tumbling around us and that gorgeous flickering amber light hovering stage left. That was pretty magical, actually. Most of the footage was captured in less than an hour, before we were moved on my looki-loos, who had never seen anybody shooting a movie before.

Later, I added the Chess Board sweeps and the Moon stills because they looked nice and gave the movie an enigmatic theme as well as some structure.

With the moody piano / synth backing, I thought the end result looked pretty good although, upon reflection, I think Jules' improvised costume would have looked better without the mask. A basic face-covering would have looked less cheesy.

Why did Sirens die? Simple, really. Too many competing projects, all screaming for attention, all demanding their time in the limelight. Sirens couldn't compete with that level of interference.

Added 04-Aug-22 by Admin

Showreel : Quietly Yours (2016)

This is an early version of the track, Quietly Yours, featuring the visuals we put together for the Never Mind the Ramones III concert.

The CGI was scripted in Processing, a Java-like programming language, and rendered into short segments of between three and twenty seconds in duration. Those segments were then compiled in iMovie as a rough cut. Live action was added later although iMovie consistently messed up the drop-in points and no end of editing would fix the problem so... We left 'the mistake' in as a feature.

I love Quietly Yours. I think the guitars work astonishingly well and it's one of those tracks that just cries out to be properly finished and released.

Added 04-Aug-22 by Admin

Showreel : Glorianna (2016)

This is an early version of the track, Glorianna, again featuring visuals we put together for the Never Mind the Ramones III concert.

The stills were taken from the Synchronicity photoshoot I hastily improvised on our dining room table using a large number of found objects. The theme was Age and Attachment, and how important memories become as you grow older and your past recedes behind you. The curse of aging is that we forget so much.

Glorianna was inspired by an actress friend, whom I met only once and will not name, but who stayed in my thoughts for many, many years after that early encounter. She sacrificed everything for her career - her family, any chance of marriage, children, a home. She had no lovers and no lasting, deep relationships that we know of and, aside from a few TV & movie appearances, she remained a minor bit-part player all her life. She eventually died alone in hospital and, whilst her obituary made it to The Times, very few people made the effort to attend her funeral. Alas, her not-insubstantial fortune ended up being donated to a Donkey Sanctuary.

Was it all worth it? I suppose Donkeys have to eat, too.

Added 04-Aug-22 by Admin

Showreel : Passengers (2018)

Passengers was composed, written and edited in just a single day in the run-up to our performance at the 2018 Northern Electric Festival. However, the visuals were never used because, as we discovered on the night, there were six other bands all sharing the same tiny stage and there wasn't enough room for our projection screen. So, yeah... :)

As with Quietly Yours, the visuals for Passengers were scripted in Processing and assembled into a rough-cut in iMovie. However, I wasn't happy with the end result, which seemed bland and uninteresting, like we were repeating ourselves.

With time running out, I came up with a solution - we would combine the previous movie sequences into a new, updated version using a split-screen technique, which I'd seen (and loved) in movies like Robert Aldrich's Twilight's Last Gleaming. Split Screen is a means of depicting the same story as it unfolds from different vantage points or, indeed, entirely different scenes.

And because there did not appear to be any suitable split screen systems available in either iMovie or DaVinci Resolve, I wrote my own, again in Processing.

The effect works well although, upon reflection, I should definitely have used the available time to sharpen up my keyboard skills instead of writing software. The performance was not one of my sharpest.

The music for Passengers was very heavily influenced by Adam Lastiwka, perhaps best known for the incidental music to the TV series Travellers.

Added 04-Aug-22 by Admin

Showreel : Romance and the Telescope

Romance and the Telescope began life as one of our stage movies - a series of short clips intended to sit behind the performer as part of a bigger performance. We liked the imagery so much that we decided to build on the ide. Over the next couple of weeks, we added a few more concepts to the storyboard and, like topsy, it just grew. A rough story then emerged, which was then developed and refined into what you see now.

We're quite proud of Romance. It's our first movie with a proper story. We hope you enjoy it too.

Added 20-Nov-17 by Admin

Showreel : It's coming back!

The Hoppings is the largest travelling fun fair in Europe, which takes place annually on Newcastle's ancient Town Moor.

We used a collection of found footage left over from a previous shoot and added our own sound track, The Art of Falling by SkinMechanix


This short film was used by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle as part of their promotional strategy for the event. Launched on 23rd June 2017, the video was seen by a staggering 11000 people in one night.

Showreel : Mandorla Trailer

Mandorla, a film by Roberto Miller, explores a man's search for a meaningful life despite conflicts between his inner and outer worlds. Ernesto is a visual artist and seeker stuck in a corporate job, who is drawn by dark magical visions to a medieval French city. There he seeks an elusive banker to help him unlock an obscure dream that threatens his job, family, and sanity.

Logoscape was the second track on Ion's 2007 album Future Forever. A three-minute filler, Logoscape formed a bridge between the bright and optimistic opening title track with the sombre and more downbeat Minerva. It took a matter of minutes to compose. Probably not even that. And yet here it is promoting a major independent movie, which was backed by some of the best known producers in Hollywood. It even found itself in the sound studios over at Industrial Light and Magic, smoothed and caressed by none other than Oscar Winner, Randy Thom.

Pinch me. I'm still dreaming.

Added 13-Jul-17 by Admin

Showreel : Zyra's Song

A promo film for SkinMechanix, Zyra's Song was an experiment in CGI animation combined with live action.

The brief went something like this : "Easy going. Arty but without being pretentious."

We created software to overlay persistent particle trails over a collection of stills, merging these sections with footage from an outdoor shoot at the local nature reserve.

SkinMechanix were delighted with the end result, which has been shown as a backdrop at many of their recent concerts.

Caution: There is some minor tasteful nudity in this movie...

Showreel : FreeFall

Produced for ambient electronica double-act Thorpe Cloud, the brief was as simple as it was complex - "Concert visuals of around fifty minutes duration, like walking around an abandoned spaceship."

With limited time and no budget, we were stuck for a solution until we accidentally stumbled across the perfect set in the virtual world, Second Life, which fitted the brief exactly.

To capture each scene, we used a simple off-the-shelf screen scraper, uShowMe, saving each sequence to disc as a QuickTime Movie file. These were then assembled using iMovie. Quick 'n' dirty works every time.

However, the greatest challenge wasn't so much technical. Sourcing more than fifty minutes of footage so that we could hit the required duration proved quite difficult. We succeeded by capturing the same scene from several different angles and by adding in other locations with similar themes from elsewhere in Second Life. We were incredibly grateful to those residents of Second Life who created this amazing space. Alas, the entire island disappeared without trace a matter of weeks later so we were very lucky to find it when we did.

With the performance out of the way, we felt that it would be a shame if the film was never shown again. Hence, we reviewed the movie and then added our own soundtrack with the goal of creating something dark and mysterious, spooky but without falling into the usual horror movie cliches.

This brief three minute edit was assembled for the students of the second year Sound Design course at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, just to show what you could do with limited time and no budget.

Added 13-Jul-17 by Admin