Trippy music video effects for Jake Bugg

A popular music video production company in London had a really tight deadline (a day in fact) to come up with some mind-bending music video drug effects for Jake Bugg’s ‘Bitter Salt’. They asked us, along with one or two other music video effects specialists to develop some trippy effects for their footage to show a girl high on drugs and experiencing some psychedelic goings-on as she travels around the city of Tokyo in a cab.


We received their reference imagery and brief. Now, when it comes to a brief for a new music video, we like to think we do a damn good job of giving our clients exactly what they ask for and exceed their expectations every time.

  • The idea is to document a girl who is coming up on a drug. It impacts her senses and distorts her vision/perception.
  • 2:25 onwards is where the height of the effect and intensity happens. We see hints at the chorus at 0:46 onwards.
  • Use overlaying imagery to create a blurry distortion.
  • Use pulsating movement and colours. Classic psychedelic patterns. Perhaps generated as one and layered over multiple shots where we see fit?
  • The Google Dream Generator is cool.
  • Make real life blurry, like a funny mirror. Distorting as things move fast. Warping. Like this example where he’s tripping on acid in a hotel.
  • Intense lighting. making Tokyo look buzzy. Like in this A$AP Rocky music video.

Music video drug effects

Usually the first effects of the drug are perceivable after ten or twenty minutes. Funny or strange things may pop into your mind. One may feel very relaxed or like jumping all over the place. Next you may feel like you were blasting off, up towards the stars, rising high.

If you get any physical symptoms, this is when they will hit. You can avoid or at least reduce nausea by not eating very much before the trip and not moving around too much during this phase. Throwing up is uncommon but not entirely unheard of; having a barf bag around, especially on the first few trips, is a good idea. If you find that your body really doesn’t like the drug, a motion sickness pill (Dramamine and similar anti-histamines) beforehand may help. But don’t worry about it too much, even if you feel queasy the nausea will end quite quickly.

One will begin entering the realms of the experience; often the first real signs are simple hallucinations with the eyes closed or in darkness, little colored pixels floating around etc. If one is going to go to the toilet, it should be done now.

IN FLIGHT [T+90min]
By now the more powerful effects are starting to set in. The body will feel heavy and drowsy.

PEAK [T+180min]
The peak of the experience.

Taking it on the chin, that particular music video company didn’t appreciate our work and didn’t use any of it in the Jake Bugg ‘Bitter Salt’ music video, but we thought we’d share what we did anyway, just in case someone out there does indeed like our VFX work and wants to get in touch to see if we can do some similar trippy, psychedelic, drug effects for their next music video.

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