ALBUM COVER PROJECTION

Dominic Fike – What Could Possibly Go Wrong

It had been our ambition since founding Double Take Projections to feature projection mapping, on a high-profile album cover. We were blown away when the opportunity arose to shoot for the long-awaited debut album from Florida-based singer-songwriter Dominic Fike. Building on the immense success of hits like “3 Nights” and “Phone Numbers,” Fike’s debut is a fleshed-out continuation of his candid songwriting, built on a fused soundscape of rock, alt-pop, and hip-hop. We were tasked with producing an all-encompassing image that touched on Fike’s personal experiences and frustrations that are featured throughout the album.

“What Could Possibly Go Wrong” – on the shoot? Plenty, it turned out – a global pandemic, a supermoon and some of the worst weather we have ever shot in.

HOW WE DID IT

Outdoor Projection Art

Client – Dominic Fike & Columbia Records
Location – Buachaille Etive Mòr, Glencoe, Scotland
Date – May 2020
Creative Director – Reed Bennett
Portrait Photographer – Daniel Prakopcyk
Landscape Photographer – Adam Robertson
Album Graphics – Clayborne Bujorian
Project Partners – Psycho Films
Projector Spec – 4 x PT-RZ21K 21,000 Lumen Laser Projectors

Mountain Projections

When we started discussions with Fike’s creative team we were excited to hear that they were fans of our work – referencing ‘On the Massacre of Glencoe” where we projected poetry onto the mountainsides and landscapes. They loved the scale of the projections and its juxtaposition with the natural world, astronomy, graphic design and light.

When they tasked us with recreating this effect at Monument Valley in the Nevada Desert – needless to say, our team were up for the trip… and then the world went into meltdown with Covid-19. With our travel plans up in the air we researched alternative options in Sweden, Switzerland, France and Ireland – before Fikes’ team in LA agreed that the best option was staring us in the face. We determined that Buachaille Etive Mòr, just outside Glencoe, was the surface we wanted to project onto. It had the scale and drama they were looking for and would be the perfect hero image for two sides of the album cover.

Even though the chosen location was in our home country – there were still huge travel and logistical issues for our team to overcome. After gaining the relevant permissions from the Scottish Government and following Covid-19 guidance, we had no option but to massively reduce the size of the crew. We had the added complication that we were not permitted to stay in Glencoe over the three-day shoot and would have to travel the 4 hours home to Edinburgh every night after we wrapped.

Historic Projection Mapping

The creative team had a strong vision for what they wanted us to achieve before we set off for Glencoe. With skeleton staff, we travelled prepared with the agreed projection positions, site mock-ups and the graphics provided from LA. We needed the light conditions to be perfect for our desired moody effect. We studied the weather and moon cycles in advance but in typical Scottish-style, the heavens opened un-forecast and wrote off the initial evening’s activation. On day two we came across a completely unexpected problem – a supermoon. Usually, on these shoots we prefer projecting during a full moon so that the landscapes are evenly illuminated by the moonlight – allowing us to create a balanced shot. We couldn’t believe when we edited the RAWS that they resembled daylight. Frustrated, our team set off back to the wilderness, needing a break in the conditions.

Thankfully the heavens parted and allowed us two hours of perfect conditions to beam x4 20,000 lumen projectors onto the mountainside. Our projectionists perfectly positioned the text and logo onto the landscapes and our photographer captured the panoramas of the stunning stars. An extra stood in the foreground to help the photographer focus the foreground where Fike would later be superimposed.

We were delighted with the images – clouds perfectly hugging the mountainside, the red glow of the projector beam illuminating the foreground and clarity of the text. All we had to do was drive home and help deliver the edit – the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men.

Projection Installation

For a number of reasons Fike was unable to travel to Scotland for the shoot, so we agreed in advance that we were going to superimpose him on the front of the cover. We wanted the portrait to compliment our landscape image and were wary it could look photoshopped. LA based photographer Daniel Pratopcyk & creative Reed Bennett took on the responsibility of shooting in the studio. They cleverly used the same lens and subtly matched the colour from the projector beam for the lighting in the studio. Fike’s gaze up at the album on the mountains was a stunning touch, encouraging the viewer to wonder about the possible lyrics of the album and the artist’s thoughts.

Clayborne Bujorian brilliantly pulled everything together – expertly grading the panoramas, combining the portrait and adding the extra album lyrics in a vinyl cover ratio. We were delighted with the final result and laugh about all the things that did go wrong. Looking back – it’s been one of our favourite projects.

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