Foo Fighters ‘Chasing Birds’

Bomper Studio directs a stylised, acid-infused music video for legendary rock band, Foo Fighters, for the track ‘Chasing Birds’

After working on the music video for ‘No Son of Mine’, RCA approached Bomper Studio looking for a whimsical film for the dreamy and immersive track ‘Chasing Birds’. Described as “weird and mellow” by keyboardist Rami Jaffee, the initial brief was to explore motifs within the song through taking the band on a psychedelic, technicolour journey; reminiscent of The Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’.

Taking Influence from the 1960’s psychedelic art movement, the film is an animated hybrid 2D/ 3D look film which follows Foo Fighters on a fantastical voyage through a colourful desert, filled with dreamy and surreal visuals. However, as the band explores this colourful utopia, things begin to take a dark turn as they fall through the earth into a hallucinatory hellscape, filled with increasingly bizarre distortions of wildlife.

The team has an absolute blast working on this tripped-out and whimsical narrative. The film plays with scale, eye-popping hues, and the cartoon form through animation that squashes, stretches and breaks throughout; ultimately delivering a film drawn straight from the subconscious.


Client: RCA Records 

Production: Bomper Studio

Animation Director: Emlyn Davies

Animation Co-Director: Josh Hicks 

Producer: Nicholas Robespierre 

Producer: Kristen Welsh 

Producer: Robyn Viney 

Technical Director: Colin Wood 

Production Coordination: Molly Stracy 

Lead Character Artist: Eder Carfagnini

Character Artists: Mark Procter, Francis Ogunyanwo

3D Artists: Emlyn Davies, Colin Wood, Rhodri Teifi, Zach F Evans, Josh Hicks, Mark Procter, Craig Rothwell, Phil Highfield 

FX Artist: Colin Wood, Zach F Evans

Lighting: Emlyn Davies, Colin Wood, Rhodri Teifi, Zach F Evans 

Lead 3D Animator: Alan Towndrow 

3D Animators: Alex Watson, Mervenur Ulcan, Joanna Adamska, Beáta Ujj, Jesiel Almeida, Brian Martinez, Sebastian Pfeifer 

Rigging: Alan Towndrow, Gene Magtoto, Dan Dan Kang 

Texture Artists: Colin Wood, Rhodri Teifi, Zach F Evans 

Character Concepts: Josh Hicks, Guillaume Poitel

Storyboards: Josh Hicks, Mark Procter 

Compositing: Rhodri Teifi, Zach F Evans, Sebastian Pfeifer 

Editing: Josh Hicks

Studio Manager: Ceri Davies

Marketing Executive: Daniel Hanvey


The production took place from February – April 2021. 

Director Emlyn Davies and co-director Josh Hicks worked to develop a story set within a colourful utopia which devolves into a nightmarish hellscape; filled to the brim with trippy imagery and animation. The chosen setting was a landscape reminiscent of the Sonoran desert. Often chosen as a shorthand in narratives of existential isolation, the desert is a place where characters can lose themselves mentally, at the mercy of the elements. What begins as a barren and uninterrupted landscape, also offered the team a blank screen onto which they could project their fantasies. Taking everything you would usually see – from canyons and boulders, to vegetation and animals, and turning it on it’s head.

Being huge fans of psychedelic art from the 1960’s, Bomper leaned into that as a starting point for the style through flat colours, bold outlines, distinct shapes. The team also looked to incorporate further whimsical styles from the designs of Victor Moscoso and Peter Max – richly saturated colours in glaring contrast, swirling patterns, repetition and surrealism.

Character Development

To achieve the style, Bomper used Arnold for rendering as it was best suited for the key line approach. Cinema4D was used for all rigging, animation, modelling and texturing; other than Zbrush which was used for the character sculpts. For the characters, achieving likeness within the style was key, without pushing towards caricature. For this, the team looked to celebrity animation from the 1970’s, such as ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Hanna-Barbera cartoons; in particular, episodes of Scooby Doo that included guest appearances which fit within the world.

Taking learnings from our work with Colonel Tony Moore on Tyler Childers’ ‘Country Squire’, Bomper employed a technique called “Chicken Fat Storytelling”; packing shots with in-jokes and gags to make viewing more enjoyable and rewarding. Fans might notice callbacks to Foo Fighters’ past work such as Everlong, Monkey Wrench, Pretender and DOA.



To really push the psychedelic and experimental motif, Bomper employed a series of techniques used as cutaways and vignettes to the larger composition. This included face and body deforms to create otherworldly characters and illusions, which meant building and rigging robust characters. Other effects included trailing effects, lip syncing in unexpected places and abstract liquid effects.

All animation was worked to 24fps, which was a change for the Bomper team, as the last two character animation projects were built to 12fps. The most challenging shot of the film was a scene that begins with Taylor Hawkins walking along a floor plane which suddenly shifts and pivots; causing Taylor to plummet straight into Pat Smears mouth before he peels away at his face in a hybrid nod to Totem Poles and the music video for ‘Everlong’.

For this shot, lead animator Alan Towndrow blocked out the key exaggerated poses and played with perspective to stretch the limbs towards the camera. A lot of time went into the blocking stage; fleshing out the mechanics of the movements and re-timing the camera for quicker transitions on smears and to hold for interesting poses. The hardest part was to create believable weight/ falling as the camera was rotating and not the world, so all of this was faked to the camera. Pat Smears model couldnt be scaled, so instead the team made a copy of the floor plane and scaled it down, which was placed in front of the camera and adjusted to match the original and faked perspective. Using the floor plane in a new scene, two versions of the Pat rig were then animated on a loop, with all poses made close to camera to make the character look larger-than-life. Finally, the Pat scene was copied into the Taylor scene, with the visibility of the floor planes keyed, so it looked like there was only one.

Due to the time constraints, the team avoided simulations where they could. Instead, they employed Cinema 4D’s VDB (volume builder) system in scenes such as the heart rock break, to emulate the look of gloppy viscous fluid; all while maintaining 100% control of the speed and spread. The VDB system could easily handle multiple objects – such as the base water, made up of animating pipes, fake crown splashes and droplets which all unified into a single smooth mesh. This technique was used for a number of morphs as well as merging models such as the cave environments.