The video for Little Bird was shot with Lisa Hannigan in her mum’s bathtub. We sped up the music x4.5 (a little over a minute), shooting at 60 frames per second and then slowed it down again in the edit. Lisa was able to mime the tune at a ridiculously fast pace which was quite impressive!! I shot the submerged Lisa upside down and then flipped the footage the right way around in post which helped further remove the scene from looking as though we were in an every-day bathroom. The camera angle would have been impossible to achieve unless I was to be held upside down above the bath from a harness. It took two days spread over a few weeks to get it right.

The first day was more for practice, trial and error. I almost slipped in to the bath twice (the horror), the data on my cards corrupted for 3 takes, the water fogged very quickly and had to be emptied and re-filled three times but most of all Lisa’s hand-made nose plugs kept letting in water. I hesitate to say the reason I suggested it be black and white was to mask how red her eyes became, poor gal.  After that first trial Lisa had two weeks to experiment with other types of plugs and on the second day everything went much more smoothly. We shot the sequence 13 times and I used the very last take for the video. It was not by choice I used the very last take but because again, the data card in the camera corrupted the previous six takes. I never told Lisa and she may well find out by reading this. The dread. That 32MB CF card went in the bin.

A correspondence from Lisa during the project:

Hi Myles

Nose plug insertion

Just thought you’d like to know how experiments have been going..

Experiment 1. disaster! The moment I lay back all the water went up my nose and I coughed and spluttered and my nose was stinging for hours. After this I started investigating glass tanks for filming underwater.. Could only find one in England..

Experiment 2. This time I blocked my nose and it was fine. I could stay under the water for the minute and could open my eyes sporadically. Could defo do it more if I only had a couple of takes.

So, I’m going to get a selection of ear/nose plugs for experiment no. 3 and I’ll give that a go.

I’ve been using the bath in Mar’s house in Meath. Not massive but has shelves all around which might help with tripods and the like.

Is there any time coming up that we could pencil it in? Hopefully it will only take an afternoon. (Or I’ll be a prune!)


The album Passenger available now from