B52s: Strobe Light – 1982 student video

This is a pop video I made on the final year of my BA Graphic Design degree at Coventry Polytechnic in 1982. I managed to rescue it from a ropey VHS I found laying at the bottom of a drawer and transferred it to digital. The quality is a bit rough but it manages to add a authentic rawness.

StrobeLight-lipsThe B52s were one of my favourite bands at the time and this track, although never a single, had great lyrics for creating visual scenes.

I shot the original on 16mm film in the college studio having made/acquired all the props weeks before. The captions were filmed in two passes on a rostrum camera using back-lit lithographic film and coloured gels. This strobing effect could be created in minutes today using Photoshop and AfterEffects but in the day was long, time-consuming process with little room for error. When the film arrived back from the developers I spent weeks editing the it on a Steenbeck flatbed film editing suite.

StrobeLight-TimStrobeLight-JanetI’ve lost touch with the two actors in the film, Janet and Tim, but I hope they one day find this video and have a good laugh at themselves although, as the video is viewed today, I still think they look great and their performances are fabulous.