Simon Gibbs

Film and Video Editor

The Imogen Heap Promo

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

As of writing this, the latest edit I’ve done is a promo video for Imogen Heap. Being a fan of hers this was quite an exciting edit, but I possibly underestimated how much time this snappy 60 second promo would take.

Imogen Heap has recently been playing improvisation sessions to raise money for The Creative Passport, a way of utilizing blockchain technology to allow musicians to keep their details in a decentralised database allowing for royalties to find their true owner.

Imogen has an app to interact with fans, and on it she requested for some help editing a promo for these sessions. The deal was that she would do a personalised cover in return for a sixty second promo, this is something that had a value of £500, but for fan, to have a song of your choice sung for you – it’s priceless.

The first thing I needed to do is watch as much of the improvs as possible as I wanted to encompass all of them. The longest Improv session went on for six hours, and there was 9 of them!

Imogen performing in Improv 9

After cataloging much of the footage, I started to get an idea.

Imogen Heap had been using the idea of sparks, and her last album was called “Sparks”, and these improvs spoke to me as exactly that. These little improv sparks that are causing emotion, inspiring others, or even (as some are now!) growing into a song. I wanted to play on this and animate the currently used branding.

So before editing I filmed a sparkler in my garden. This was attached to a pot and filmed in darkness on a DLSR.

The raw sparkler

The footage of the sparkler was then taken to the editing suite and I edited the colours to make the footage black and white. I then sampled a bit of the bottom of the sparkler and layered it over the top, this hid the stick of the sparkler. Finally I used the image as a track matte over Imogen performing. This resulted in the logo being animated with a flickering blast of Imogen singing.

Animated Imogen Heap sparkler logo

I had found one of Imogen’s improvs that I particularly liked the loop of, so I placed that on the timeline with the logo over the top to get a feel for the video that I wanted to make.

On the other side, Imogen’s team had requested a few particular beats – including a fan-inspired jam which resulted in “The Chicken Song”. This moment began with clucking and resulted in a song that started mentioning a certain political figure in the white house. This was warmly received by fans.

To add some extra texture to this moment I decided that Imogen could have some chickens moving behind her, so in After Effects I rotoscoped her, along with her piano and placed a revolving carousel of Chickens behind. Originally the clip was going to cut later into the song and there was going to be more chickens in a grid pattern. As I got further through the promo I realised that time was of the essence and in the style I wanted to achieve, things needed to be quick.

The Chicken Song

With these two moments on the timeline, I used my notes from the initial watches to start building up the timeline. My goal was to focus on the music and have clips from the sessions running throughout the video; moments of improvisations, fan favourites and covers. I then layered moments of Imogen talking to give some context of what was going on throughout the video.

The final timeline

In reality I feel like an extra 20-30 seconds could have given more context to the Creative Passport and show a bit more about what might happen in the improv sessions. Still Imogen and her team liked it that they requested no changes from the first draft and it was then used on their social media channels.

In return, Imogen sang a cover of Linkin Park that I requested. This was performed live on the evening of the 29th August. Out of a choice of five songs she chose to sing “Sharp Edges” a track from the band’s album, “One More Light”.

An edited video of the performance can be watched below.