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Behind the Scenes of the Sheepdogs’ New Stop-Motion Video

Band’s posable likenesses battle ninjas, rescue babes

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

This is the studio in which the entire video for the song "Feeling Good" was shot – it was all kept to one studio, to have controlled lighting. As pictured, the video was shot on Canon 5D Mark III, as 70 percent of the piece is still frame photography – stop motion. Everything is 1/6 scale, for the simple fact that it was the scale for the dolls, which tied in best for getting props and vehicles.

Captions by Dylan-Thomas Childs

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Ninjas!

The video was shot over eight 16-hour days, which explains why director Matt Barnes appears as fatigued as he does while stopping to pose for a quick snap. The ninjas behind him were not only selected as enemies for the Sheepdogs for a kitschy exploitation/kung-fu flick feel, but because they were easily disguised. Their attire handily avoided any copyright issues.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

The hall

Matt wanted the hall to have a sort of manly Seventies feel – hence the obligatory stripper pole, miniature poker game and the inclusion of mini models of the Sheepdogs' own beer, Southern Dreaming Bourbon BBQ Ale, alongside mini replica guitars and old music posters. (The latter don't appear in the official video but were swapped out for Matt's own photography, amid copyright fears from the label.) The handsome help is Kyle "Papi" Topping, Matt's full-time assistant, who swept the more sordid accoutrements under the vintage rug.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Detail

On account of her petite physique, as well as her proclivity for precision and attention to detail, Matt's producer Tara O'Malley was the natural nominee for the head animator role. Tara had the painstaking chore of controlling each individual action, amounting to approximately 30 micro-movements per second, per doll, vehicle and prop – a thankless task.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Bloody good

The video was shot while tethered to the laptop, so every frame could be studied, side-by-side, to keep everything consistent. The ninja enjoying his close up was one of a small stealth of ninjas, 15 in total, who were clad in white to best showcase the bloody nature of their business.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Fans

Pausing for a moment of leisure is Mike Rybinski, collaborator, cameraman and editor. Mike has documented, in a behind-the-scenes fashion, several of Matt's photo-shoots in the past, but this is the first time they have partnered on a project. As a Sheepdogs enthusiast, Mike was a natural fit.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Porta-jib

For the few scenes of actual video (i.e., not stop motion), the porta-jib was employed to give a sweeping, cinematic feel to the shots, acting as a miniature crane. In the background is one of several hand-painted backdrops measuring 10 by 15 feet, setting the scene and providing perspective for the action.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Russ Meyer

In a subtle nod to the exploitation-era cinema of Russ Meyer, female dolls were found that came equipped not only with foxy features, but movable and bendable limbs, amping up the sexy actions that each were able to pull off – when they weren't busy being busty in captivity.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Features

As demonstrated by the detail in the Ewan Currie doll, a model-maker shaped the band members' unique facial features from clay, mimicking each hairstyle, while Matt had several bespoke pieces of clothing commissioned. The bulk of the clothing was altered GI Joe and Barbie items.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Classic bike

Matt has an affinity for most things retro, which includes the first-rate 1948 U.S. Army Indian motorcycle. It's a classic slice of cool Americana with a suicide shifter and springer front end. Truth be told, Matt would love to own one, should his pocketbook allow, but in the meantime, he'll have to be content watching Sam Corbett ride the replica.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Jeep

Complementing the '48 Indian is another classic, a Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep, a vehicle made from 1941-'45. It is an iconic jeep, essentially the prototype for the modern civilian Jeep, and an additional favorite of Matt's (and not merely because they share the same initials). The Willys was mentioned in the Grateful Dead's "Sugar Magnolia," which likens a girl's jump to that of the vehicle's in four-wheel drive.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Pantsed

While the video may indulge in a fair bit of violence, Matt feels that its goofy qualities outweigh the grim, especially when one considers that the characters are all toys. A perfect example of this follows the scene here, where the ninja's pants are pulled down – an on-set joke which ended up making its way into the final cut of the video.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Martial arts

The lair of the ninjas features a unique decoration in the form of ancient footwear, as seen framing the staircase, called Mizugumo, a Japanese word meaning "water spider," which was said to allow the ninja to walk on water (a myth debunked on Mythbusters). Set builder Lee Lindfield, who holds a black belt in karate, found himself an impromptu martial arts guru on set, helping out with propping and ninja-movement.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Soup’s on

The majority of the props and materials used in the video were salvaged from in and around Matt's studio, including items found in the parking lot and, shamefully, the Dumpster. The oil drums, for instance, pictured off to the side of the action, were repurposed Campbell's tomato soup cans, spray-painted and mussed up to add depth to the set.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Hero shot

The propping is as extensive in this, the lead-up to the hero shot, as in any other spot in the video. A mini C4 explosive briefcase, miniature metal folding chairs and a recipe of sawdust, coffee grinds and dirt all played their respective parts in setting this scene, which was a chance for the Sam Corbett doll to have his moment: He disarms the bomb while his bandmates free the groupies.

sheepdogs behind the scenes video

Matt Barnes

Into the sunset

The final shot, photographed separately and not appearing in the video, was Matt's showpiece – a chance to show off a bit of everything while doubling as a press shot for the band. Featuring the vehicles, the weapons and the band looking particularly badass, the shot is backdropped by a hand-painted sunset – the same sunset that the band and babes rode off into.

In This Article: The Sheepdogs

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