• Blessing Borode

Delphino Productions: The Duo Behind Sam Wise's Loophole Video [Interview]

Creativity continues to expand beyond the music and the sounds we hear but in the ways in which it is delivered to us as consumers. Through animations, lyric videos, cartoon/live action videos - the list goes on. This not only maximises the way we experience the music but opens the space for collaboration between creatives.  

An example of this is Samwise’s latest release ‘Loophole’, (produced by Kadiata) featuring an animated video directed by Delphino Productions. We had the opportunity to speak to both Delphino and his parter Kai and zoom in on their creative process and input towards this project. Here they talk about their dream creative collaboration, some challenges faced while putting this video together, editing tips they live by and so much more.

You can also view the ‘Loophole’ video below and tell us what you think.  

Q: How did your interest in animation come about? Did you study the craft?

Delphino: My interest for animation started when I was extremely young. Watching a lot of Cartoon network Gems like: Ed, Edd & Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door and adult cartoons like Beavis and Butthead.

It wasn’t until I met Kai that I started getting into making animations.Observing the process first hand really made me develop a deep interest for all forms of animation .  

Kai: Since a little kid I’ve been obsessed with drawing and making things, really good at making a mess, because I’d love to get stuck in with my hands. Then I began developing a curiosity towards more digital tools around the age of 12, when I discovered MS. Paint on my old family computer. I made my first ever animation on that.

When I was going through school and further education was encouraged, I was surprised to find animation on the list of things you can actually go and study at school, so I naturally gravitated towards this option. I learned a lot of things through the experience, one of those things being that I prefer to learn in other ways. The education system has always been bare weird to me. That never changed. 

Q: How long did it take you to get to a point where you were confident with your skill set to create for others?

Delphino: Well, I’ve been making videos since 2011. Started off by filming skateboarding. Took a big break because I went through some personal problems. Then I went to college and realised that it was time to jump on it again. It all started with our first music video (Lord Apex - Null & Void) Where we took the leap and made a video with animation. 

Kai: I’d always compare myself to other animators when I was younger and not feel good enough and it would take me out of the moment. I do it because I enjoy it. You just really have to trust in what you’re creating, and not worry about what people think. It’s a very personal thing, and you’re always trying something new, you’ll always make mistakes, buts that’s how you learn, and find your direction, and people recognise that. Someone will dig what you’re doing. 

Q: Sam Wise’s video for Loophole looks to be inspired by space, was this intentional?

Delphino: This is a cool question. In a way, it is inspired by space. The fact that every video starts with a blank slate and you literally construct your own version of ‘reality’ is intriguing. Space is all around us. Inside. Outside. No matter where you go, it’s always there.  Also, this song feels like you’re floating gently, so including the stars added a touch and made it feel like we’re traveling through the cosmos. 

Kai: I’m in space about 90% of the time so it was probably subconscious haha. But no, I think the way Delphino filmed some of the shots with the steadicam, felt very lucid and floaty. It lined up with the bit “out of space out of mind” and I think the idea evolved from there.

Q: We heard the project with Sam Wise took a year to put together - when did you feel like it was finally ready to be put out?'

Delphino: Crazy Long! As soon as we pieced all the individual animations into the timeline into something coherent that had flow. That’s when we knew it was ready.  

Kai: Yeah it’s been a long journey. When we pieced it all together we knew it was ready. We put it together in post in about 1 or 2 days and it almost felt surreal compared to how long it took us to get to that stage.

Q:How many versions of the video did you guys go through till you came to the final product?

Delphino: We went through quite a few versions. Especially because we did some animations that we thought would work well, but ended up not matching the vibe. With every video it’s normal to go through several versions, but with animation you have to plan carefully otherwise you can spend a lot of time on something that might not make the final cut.  

Kai: Hard to say how many versions but towards the beginning especially there were just so many variables to shrink down. It had to be true to Samwise’s lyrics, and true to how it made us feel as not just creators but as an audience. The lyrics, the beat, the production of loophole has such a friendly, laid back vibe. To me it felt like having a heart to heart with a good friend, or that dreamy space where you’re taking a moment by yourself to vibe and reflect, so creating that otherworldly atmosphere was a constant we determined early on. 

From that it was just a process of doing what felt right, changing what didn’t. For a while I felt a bit lost, I was between uni projects and other interests, still finding out who I am as an individual and creative, not really knowing exactly what style we were going for but staying open minded,  putting heart into the work and trusting the vision.

Somehow everything just pieced together in a way so different than we could have planned for. The final piece is a reflection of the journey, and I think it’s what makes it feel so organic and just work.

Grafting all day at my day job. All my energy was drained...regardless, I kept reminding myself that this was an opportunity that couldn’t be taken for granted.

- Delphino

Q: We understand you were working a full time job while working on this. What were some of the struggles you faced?

Delphino: One of the biggest struggles was finding the motivation to power through the animations after grafting all day at my day job. All my energy was drained, and my body just wanted to relax. But regardless, I kept reminding myself that this was an opportunity that couldn’t be taken for granted. The fact that we were working with one of our favourite artists was a true privilege. Self Belief was the key to getting it done.    

Q: What was the most challenging part of this project?

Delphino: The most challenging part came in two sections: 

1. During the pre-production stages. As this was our first fully animated video, we were struggling to decide what style of animation we would use. 

2. The production stage. Powering through every frame and putting in the hours.   

Q: We’ve seen the back to back videos of your animations alongside Sam Wise in real life, how do you even go about duplicating his every move so smoothly?

Delphino: So the video was a mixture of rotoscope and freehand animation. We basically filmed a lot with Sam, then we took it to the software and traced over every frame. We then added a flare of freehand animation to spice things up and make it more fluid. 

A Lot of people want to develop a style very quickly, but I think it’s important to try as much as you can and not limit yourself to one medium.  

- Delphino

Q: What about your style stands out? How can we identify your work when watching animated videos? 

Delphino: We Stay true to what we think looks cool and what we would like to see from a video. We’re still relatively new to this whole game, so we’re still finding our space within a vast sea of millions of amazing creatives. A Lot of people want to develop a style very quickly, but I think it’s important to try as much as you can and not limit yourself to one medium.  

Kai: My style is whatever I’m feeling at the time. It will always be a reflection of myself and my environment, because I do it to express and refresh my mind. I don’t think I’ve been on this journey long enough to give a good description of my style, because it’s still growing. But me and Delphino have grown a lot together, and I feel that our styles will always have this way of intermingling to create something uniquely synergistic, as unique as our journey together. 

Q: What are some of the key symbols and animations you really want the audience to pick up on?

Delphino: Definitely the the way the birds elegantly fly through space. The beautiful and mesmerising movements of the hands and Sam’s high energy Performance.   

Kai: I’m really inspired by animals and believe they have so much to teach us. I think in the video they reflect a kind of beyond human perspective. Through the visuals, a lot of Samwise’s lyrics are portrayed very literally, but also abstracted, and I think this subconsciously plays on the idea that humans create with our words, that the way we think with words and create concepts is our superpower. But life is self explanatory. Animals get this and they don’t doubt, they just vibe with it. The way birds fly so elegantly reminds me that the most important thing is to trust your vision, and the wind will guide you.

Q: How would you describe the animation style of the Loophole Video?

Delphino: A Mish Mash of all our favourite styles. 

Kai: A mixture of rotoscoped footage (elegantly filmed by Delphino) and hand drawn “tradigital” animation.

There are many free softwares available to download for anyone interested in digital animation, one of the first software I used was a program called GIMP

- Kai

Q: If you had some extra time with the visual what would you add to it?

Delphino: Definitely an animated segment for Master Peace. We didn’t know that he would have a verse in the updated version of the song and we were pretty much done with the video by that point. Also, way more freehand animations. That’s the way forward. 

Kai: I’d accentuate the elements of the video with more freehand animation. I’d just get lost in it. It would have been cool to do a segment for Master Peace but it is what it is!

Q: Some of our favourite parts are the transitions, what software was used to make them what they are?

Delphino: Kai Beautifully crafted those transitions, she knew what would flow well to make the video have an extra kick!

Kai: My go to software that I do about 90% of my digital animation on is TVPaint. It’s really got everything you need and more, whilst still paying homage to the traditional tools of frame by frame animation. 

I also did a bit of work inside flash, and pieced things together with Premiere Pro, but really you can use anything. There are many free softwares available to download for anyone interested in digital animation, one of the first software I used was a program called GIMP, really similar to photoshop, and completely free.

Q: What is your favorite part of the visual?

Delphino: Honestly, the whole video. But one of my favourite parts is towards the end where sam is running and he swings his arms and he turns into a flock of birds. It really accentuated how sick of an artist and performer he is, and how his music travels far and wide. 

Kai: Watching it start to finish when it was done, the thing that had our heads down fixed to a screen for months and months. And we’re on the other side of London from one another working on this. Then to see our styles brought together and synergise into a single piece, was mesmerising. I love the whole thing, because watching it is reliving everything I believe in.

Sam Wise was really supportive and communicative the whole way through and really put his trust in us to visualise, and the opportunity really pushed me to go higher in my mindset.

- Kai

Q: What was it like working with Sam on this?

Delphino: “Yeah I Live up to my name” Real wise words from a real wise man. Working with Sam was one of the best experiences of my life. Just being around such a creative and positive force was truly inspiring. Sam was constantly hyped to see updates of the video and was very supportive throughout the whole process. The fact that he took a chance with us and gave us creative control was amazing. His name is wise for a reason...  

Kai: I’d heard of Sam Wise around a year or so before the project started, his music quickly grew on me. I really valued his style and energy, and I remember we ran into him at a jam in the summer and he was the nicest guy. I felt honoured that my work was being recognised by such dope artists, mainly grateful that my work was attracting good people that I could get on with and have a good time with. But I was also a bit nervous because I had never done a full length music video before, and I wanted it to bang! 

Sam Wise was really supportive and communicative the whole way through and really put his trust in us to visualise, and the opportunity really pushed me to go higher in my mindset. I’ll be grateful for that forever.

Q: How do you adapt your style to fit the vision of the artist?

Delphino: It’s all about feeling for us. If it resonates with us, we’re able to conceptualise a vision. Making a music video is a very collaborative effort. Both sides have to be flowing on a similar wavelength to make something creative. It’s all about energy!  

Kai: It’s got to feel right for both of us, it’s really got to resonate with the artist’s vision and for our style to flow it has to come from how the music honestly makes us feel, it has to be from the heart. Communication is key.

Always make sure you plan everything to the bone! pre -production can save you a lot of hassle when actually making the product.

- Delphino

Q: What’s next for you this year?

Delphino: This year we want to expand our horizons and venture into more narrative based/heavily animated videos. Also delving into the world of still image and exploring those avenues. Personal projects too. Also, we’re building a team, slowly but surely. You can’t do it all yourself! You need to have a strong team behind you to make the vision come true. 

Kai: I just want to keep creating every day and trying new things, to collaborate and bounce with more artists and keep pushing things in all directions.

Q: Who’s your dream artist/creative to collaborate with?

Delphino: In terms of musicians, Jesse James Solomun, Little Simz, Octavian, Yuseef Dayes and so many more! In terms of filmmakers, Krish Sharda, Loudhouse, Frank & Tyrone Lebon, etc. So many people to collaborate with. The more I learn about life and art and how they are connected,  the more amazing people I will find! 

Kai: I don’t even know.. I wouldn’t say I’m more excited to work with one artist over another, because you never know what someones gonna put out next and it may just completely align with something you’re feeling at that moment and send you to another planet! There are so many inspiring artists out there seen and not seen, you just never know who you’re going to meet. It would be sick to do something for the drum and bass scene.

[Delphino Productions x Fin Foxall Collaboration

Q: Do you have any editing tips or things you stick by in order to create a successful project?

Delphino: Always make sure you plan everything to the bone! pre -production can save you a lot of hassle when actually making the product. Having a concept alongside a storyboard and all the logistics is vital. We’ve had to learn this the hard way. Also, the edit should happen before you take it to the software. Having a basic edit structure in your head during production can help you to piece it together bit by bit, so when it comes to actually working on it, it’s less stressful.  

Also Writing notes everyday. This is a good habit to cultivate, as you start to become more organised with your thoughts and you can see them clearly in front of you. 

Kai: Pre-production is probably the most important stage of the process, it’s where you get all your initial ideas, concept arts, and start fleshing out ideas. This is where you settle on elements that are really gonna hold structure to your video, and following that through from the beginning is going to make everything else run smoothly. At the same time I feel it’s important to balance this in a way that accommodates spontaneity. I always find ways to make things more effective as the process continues, some of my best moments are spontaneous, and sometimes that means going back and changing some things to accomodate a new idea. Expecting this in the pre-production and leaving room for interpretation really gives you a sense of freedom and allows your work to flow better, but that’s just the way I work. I feel like less rules and restrictions on creativity, the better.

Q: What advice would you give to other animators who are just starting out and are looking to start collaborating with artists?

Delphino: This goes out to film makers and all creatives. TRUST YOUR VISION. Whenever you get a gut feeling to create something. Make it happen. No matter if anyone likes it. Do it for yourself. There will always be someone out there that resonates with you creation. 

Personal projects are a great way to showcase your talent, as they allow you to be as creative as possible with no limits. If you really want to make something with someone, the best thing to do is ask. You’ll never know if they will say yes/no. Be willing to do things for free and help out people whenever you can. BE-KIND-SHOW LOVE.  Anyways, thanks for reading this. I appreciate everyone that is doing their thing and making a living from it. Thank you to the New Wave crew for reaching out to us and kindly asking us to be a part of this. Have a Blessed day and stay tuned for future projects. Kai: Go for it. Animation is a broad umbrella term. You’ll be surprised what you can create with a phone camera and some bits and bobs, so if you’re just starting out don’t limit yourself to just one medium, explore what animation means to you. Though if you’re particularly inspired by any specific form, it pays to be observant to all aspects of life.

Animation is basically creating an illusion of movement or life. So what you bring to life is up to you, just keep it true to yourself and have fun.

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