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“Winter Songs” with Crush Design

December 16th, 2009


Crush Design UK’s John McCulloch and Helen Crawford-White are responsible for the sweet music video for “Winter Songs” by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson. Below they tell us about their process and the best way to keep warm in the winter (no, not that).

Channel Frederator: Where did you study animation/filmmaking?

John McCulloch: Helen Crawford-White actually studied Graphic Design at Brighton University, UK, and I studied illustration at Portsmouth University. Working at Crush we have the opportunity to work on such a wide variety of projects that our skills all kind of merge together. As far as studying animation, we are always collecting things that we like and on the look out for things that are visually inspiring and animation is something that we are both really interested in.

CF: What gave you the idea for “Winter Songs”?

JM: We were asked to create the album cover for a compilation which featured the ”Winter Songs” track and the animation was really a development from that initial artwork and idea. We took lead from the actual song in the way that it builds up into a final crescendo after the initial slow soft beginning. We knew we wanted the tree to be the final focus at the end of the video as a symbol of hope and love and the future which they are singing about so we built this story of the two characters, based on Ingrid and Sara, working through this winter season when it feels like a bit of a slog.


CF: What programs did you use when animating it?

JM: The artwork was mostly done in Illustrator, and then animated through Flash, with some final touches in After Effects

CF: When creating music videos, what inspires you the most? Music? Lyrics? Or do you get very specific instructions from a client?

JM: With “Winter Songs” we were really inspired by the mood of the song, the lyrics and the fact that it was for the Christmas season. Once we hit December in the studio it’s Christmas songs all the way, so we we’re pretty happy to be working on a festive video!

CF: Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?

JM: We have just finished another (smaller scale) animation for a book publisher in the UK. This was to promote the launch of a book in the new year. It was quite an unusual task to undertake for the publishers, but we managed to have some fun and even make sure our senior designer was featured behind the doughnut counter!

CF: Favorite way to keep warm in the winter?

John: An active game of Monopoly!

Helen: Climbing into bed.

John: (Helen is very small!)

CF: Understandable! Although, a vigorous board game does sound like fun…

Thanks for the interview! We can’t wait to see more from Crush!

You can check out “Winter Songs” right here on Channel Frederator!

-Bailee DesRocher

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