Written by on Jul 28, 2010. Posted in Production News

Klaxons chooses Egypt’s White Desert for new music video

British band Klaxons has filmed a new music video in Egypt’s White Desert. The band chose the location for the video to its single Echoes as it offers a unique environment of wind- and rain-eroded chalk formations. Also, it’s accessible from the UK on a limited budget.

Getting permission to film Echoes there took about a month. Sasha Nixon, of Partizan, said: “Filming permits are required by several Government departments including the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior. Once those permits are secured, further permissions are required by the local heads of the Bedouin tribal lands that we had to travel through. Also, the heads of the Bedouin tribes in the area where we were filming had to be recompensed for their trouble.”

The White Desert is a popular shooting location, with major brands such as Nikon and Samsung having filmed there recently. However, Tania Vorster, of Birthmark Films, said: “Any shoot that entails foreign crew needs additional permits, which is what drives a lot of producers away from that location due to the usual tight timelines and deadlines of their projects.”

The production drove ten hours from Cairo to set up base camp and then it was another 90-minute jeep ride to get to the White Desert. They were accompanied the whole time by Egyptian police, military and intelligence forces, which are an official requirement.

Ms Nixon added: “They check you don’t venture into the military zones and that you don’t damage the rock and coral formations in the White Desert, which is a wildlife protectorate. Also, there have been incidents in the past where both foreign and Egyptian tourists have been attacked by desert tribespeople.”

There are other practical considerations too. Ms Vorster said: “The generator and heavy vehicles had certain spots they could reach and others not, due to the terrain. Be prepared to compromise on lighting for some of the spots within the desert. A lot of the white formations act as a natural reflector (similar to snow) from all directions anyway.”

Most of the crew and equipment was hired in Egypt. The local crew was immediately challenged by the production’s decision to use 25-625mm Angenieux 80s-built lenses. This was to help capture the video’s distinctive long panning zooms and ‘earthquake contra-zooms’.

Ben Sullivan, also of Partizan, said: “It was an aesthetic and practical choice. We used modern 35mm cameras, but we had to use the Kubrick-designed lens because it is the longest manually-operated zoom we could find. We also used a modern 25-250mm Angenieux zoom, but for certain shots the old 25-625mm was the only option.”

Ms Vorster concluded: “From a logistics point of view it is imperative to ensure one has all possible equipment and supplies that might be necessary as the closest city is about eight hours’ drive away.”

Click here to view the video.

Artist: Klaxons
Song: Echoes
Record Commissioner and Label: Ross Anderson at Polydor
Production Company: Partizan
Producer: Ben Sullivan
Production Service Company: Birthmark Films
Director: Saam Farahmand
Director of Photography: Magni Augusson

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