Elam-trained Campbell Hooper and partner Joel Kefali have been staking a claim as NZ's music video-makers par excellence, since pooling their talents in 2007 under the moniker Special Problems. The duo have crafted distinctive promos for Kimbra, Gin Wigmore and Brooke Fraser, plus award-winners for The Naked and Famous. Their design house also makes commercials and short films (eg Tribeca-selected 43,000 Feet).
The thing that’s in front of us, while we’re working on it … it’s our whole world. We don’t look at anything as a stepping-stone to something else, because I think if you do that it degrades the thing you’re working on. Campbell Hooper
Though gifted with a typically driving chorus, this Naked and Famous track evokes a state of limbo and dissatisfaction. Winner of a New Zealand Music Award for Best Music Video of 2014, Campbell Hooper's clip is permeated by mist and mysterious, possibly violent events. Is that a murder playing out on screen, or merely someone getting the firewood ready? Are those men doing exercise, or punishing themselves? And is that Michelle Ang getting out of the pool? Longtime collaborator Hooper directed the video in New Zealand and the band's base in Los Angeles.
The Sun was perhaps the most daring and experimental video yet for directors Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper. Collaborating once more with electropop band The Naked and Famous, they scored their second award for Best Music Video with another track taken from breakthrough album Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010). The widescreen video is built around a series of split second shots of a man and a woman getting intimate. As the video continues, the images fracture, multiply, and become increasingly kaleidoscopic. Warning — this video is not suitable for younger viewers.
'Something in the Water', from singer-songwriter Brooke Fraser's third album Flags, is a giddy, infectious love song with a rollicking country/folk setting. It was voted Most Performed Song of the Year at the 2010 APRA Silver Scrolls. The partly animated video, made by the Special Problems production team of Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali, loosely recasts the song as Homer's Odyssey with a multi-costumed Fraser as Penelope waiting for her Odysseus to return from across the water (but not above a playful poke of the tongue to finish off proceedings).
This Silver Scroll winner from the debut album by The Naked and Famous became a breakout hit, winning global notice and playing on a number of teen TV shows (Gossip Girls, Skins). Directed by Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali, the promo won 10 million+ YouTube hits, playing no small part in announcing the band. Via a catalogue of Dazed and Confused-esque imagery, the clip puts its thumb on the pulse of the soaring synth-pop celebration of ‘Young Blood’: bonnet jumping, sparklers, skating and Badlands-style skylarking. The song won a Silver Scroll and an NZ Music Award.
A man lies under a tree, a guitar chimes, the music grows in intensity, the song becomes an impassioned declaration of love ... and people start falling from trees. Was he a daydreamer or did he fall too? Frantic animation follows, more bodies fall - with respite only from a dancer in a Warholesque sequence. HowYe was made by the Special Problems team of Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali (makers of notable videos for Naked and Famous, Mint Chicks and Dimmer) and shot in Cornwall Park and Pt Erin Park in Auckland. The dancer is Benny Ord (formerly of the Royal NZ Ballet).
This bright, electro-poppy blurring of the lines between human and robot was the debut single for Zowie — a persona created by Auckland musician Zoe Fleury (the artist formerly known as Bionic Pixie). For the video, production team Special Problems eschewed CGI and had Zowie spend a day lying on a floor while their pinball machine inspired arrangements of dominos and machinery fell all around her. A Best Video finalist at the 2011 NZ Music Award, it lost out to another Special Problems clip (for 'Punching in a Dream' by The Naked and Famous).
This music video continued the fruitful collaboration between The Naked and Famous and directing duo Special Problems. Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper brought their trademark mix of graphic design, film and painting to the synth-driven pop song. As vocalist Alisa Xayalith moves through a dreamscape, she sleepwalks, runs, skates and flies through pine forest, snow, sand, and a manor. Ice hockey masks and hoodies add menace. It won Best Music Video at the 2011 NZ Music Awards, part of a major awards haul for the group. The song has featured on a number of TV shows.
The lyrics detail the intensity of thwarted love, and the accompanying video is a DIY delight — mixing an origami fortune teller concept with back-projected Animalia-style shadow puppets. From the 2008 EP This Machine, this video marked the first collaboration between design studio Special Problems (Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali) and the band. The fertile partnership would go on to yield multiple music videos (including the breakout promo for ‘Young Blood’), plus the artwork on a number of their releases.
At least 3080 Polaroid photographs appear to have been taken for this piece of animated cleverness, which was created by Kelvin Soh and Simon Oosterdijk from Auckland design company The Wilderness. The clip offers viewers a stuttery cavalcade of beautiful faces, including guest vocalist Anika Moa. The series of scrawled numbers visible below the photos give a viewers an effective lesson in how animation — and filmmaking — is ultimately a series of still images, laid in a row. 'Come Here' comes from Dimmer's second album, You've Got to Hear the Music (2004).