Workshop artists bend time and space for homegrown astronaut

Question: what do Weta Workshop's artists and technicians do after work and in the weekends? They chuck together a makeshift anti-gravity simulator and get busy creating music videos for independent Wellington artists. In this case, lap-steel guitar sliding singer-songwriter turned spaceman, Thomas Oliver.

The music video for Oliver’s latest single, If I Move to Mars, premieres today on YouTube. The video features Oliver as a wayward guitar playing astronaut slowly spinning towards Mars.

Space detritus litters the scene, glowing white as it catches on Mars’ atmosphere. But as dire as the situation almost certainly is for this serenading space oddity, the song is about as laid back as you’ll find on this planet, or any other, for that matter. “If I move to Mars, will you come with me?” Oliver sings over satellite blips and Floyd-esque guitar slides, before casting off the slide bar and watching it float off into the distance.

Weta Workshop stalwarts Ben Hawker and Stephen Lambert conceptualised the video in their downtime, with Ben directing and Stephen providing VFX. They called on the problem solving and creative powers of a wide range of Weta Workshop crew to bring the ethereal effect to life, from design right through to manufacture.

“Pulling off budget-friendly anti-gravity in a back room takes some tinkering with. But once we knew how we were going to achieve the effect, it all sort of fell into place. I’m pretty happy with the finished product.”

- Ben Hawker, Director

Weta Workshop Creative Director and Co-founder Richard Taylor proudly supported this independent project, providing equipment and allowing his crew time to work on the video, when they weren’t busy on Workshop projects, of course.  Weta Workshop has a long history of encouraging and supporting the independent creative endeavours of their artists, and other creatives in the arts and entertainment industries.

If I Move to Mars, is available now on NZ iTunes and Spotify. An album will follow in 2016. Check out the video and photos below to see how they did it.


Made with the help of NZ On Air Music
Directed by Ben Hawker
VFX by Stephen Lambert
Director of Photography: Simon Godsiff
Gaffer: Simon Oliver
Grip: Jan Kleinheins
Stunt Coordinator / Body Double: Luke Hawker
Art Department / Rigger: Rob Murphy
Design: Christian Pearce
Microgravity Rig engineered and built by Luke Fisher
Additional Engineering: Robbie Elliott
Cloth Fabrication: Bryce Curtis
Onset photographer: Wendy Bown
Craft Services: Diana Godo
Lead Roto Artists: Kieran Smith, Marty Chung
Roto Artists: Johnny Chan, Brian Holloway, Patrick O'Sullivan, Michael Thingnes, Rhys Humphrys, Reuben Smith, Senol Akbaba.
Spacesuit by Wonderworks Ltd.
Artist management: Cushla Aston
Produced by Ben Hawker, Steve Lambert and Hayley Gray 

Produced, recorded and mixed by Thomas Oliver
Mastered by Vlado Meller
Synths: Ed Zuccollo
Bass: Reupena Rimoni

NZ On Air, Richard Taylor, Tania Roger, Dave Wilks, all the gang at Weta Workshop, Leonne Kassler, Tony Pratt, Jordan Thompson, Tasha Guillot, Brick Price, Eilish Sacks, Andrew Durno, Paul Malthouse, Erik Hay, Dave Tremont, Joel Ahie-Drought, Rob Gillies, Rik Athorne, Alistair McDougall, Warner Emery, Stuart McAra, Angela Littlejohn, Lyse Beck, Sharon Lark, Gareth Dinneen, Sadie Wilson, Merkato Fresh.

Copyright 2018 Weta Workshop