Written by on Oct 13, 2010. Posted in Production News

Band MGMT shoots on location in Mojave Desert

American band MGMT has filmed a new music video on location at Dumont Dunes in California’s Mojave Desert. Congratulations shows the two founding band members trekking across the sand in the company of a strange animal coming to the end of its life.

Dumont Dunes was chosen as a filming location as it offers eye-catching visuals within a manageable distance of Los Angeles and is well-serviced for filming. The production considered shooting in nearby Imperial Dunes, but was put off by the amount of traffic passing through the region. Olanca Dunes, meanwhile, lacks servicing for filmmakers.

Robert Mendel, a Location Scout on the shoot, said: “An optimum ‘package’ of production services, visual looks and proximity to affordable food and lodging made Dumont the best option. It’s filmed far more frequently than the other dunes for commercials and pilots and frankly it is possible to drive motor homes, trucks and catering trucks much closer to where the dune buggies commute. This is a major factor for making the filming days work.”

Windy conditions plagued the team during the scouting phase of the project, but they got lucky with calm conditions during the actual shoot. Ensuring the drinking water supply remained steady was the main priority, but despite the desert climate the temperatures were actually lower than expected.

The creature that accompanies the band was designed and built by Legacy Effects and dubbed ‘Duck-dog-o-saurus’. Vance Hartwell, of Legacy, said: “The puppet was made of material including foam latex and fibreglass. We had an actor inside. His legs fitted into the hind legs of the puppet and his head was at the base of the neck. With the heat of the desert and the wear and tear of the conditions there was always someone with him, both to make sure he was ok and to hold up the puppet head.”

For the duration of the shoot crew members were put up at casino hotels on the state-line where California and Nevada meet. This meant a daily round-trip of around 160 miles to and from Dumont Dunes, but, according to both Mendel and Hartwell, was worth it.

Mendel said: “Definitely stay at the state-line casinos. It’s almost the same distance to (Nevada town) Pahrump but you won’t get the same level of comfort for the money [in Pahrump]. Bring far more bottled water than you think you’ll need. Bring many more coolers with ice than you think you’ll need and hire two to three more dune buggies than your most carefully logistical planning dictates. They will come in very handy to the point of being essential. Everyone should have goggles and wind protection garb at the ready.”

Click here to view the film.

Artist: MGMT
Song: Congratulations
Record Label: Sony Music
Production Company: MJZ
Executive Producers: David Zander, Jeff Scruton
Location Manager: Brian Bird
Location Scout: Robert Mendel
Puppet Maker: Legacy Effects
Production Service Company: Willie’s On & Off Road Center
Director of Photography: Wyatt Troll
Director: Tom Kuntz

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