Copyright Sarcofagus 2013

Making of MOOTTORILINNUT - MOTORBIRDS Full Album Length Video, Released in 1982

1981 - Dark Age of Technology

By Kimmo Kuusniemi:

Motorbirds Video is a good example of my futuristic thinking:

It was done in 1981. Back then we didn’t have video rentals or much video sales as most people didn’t even have a VCR or a Colour TV. Net was a fishing term, Mobile Phone was two tin cans and a piece of string, Computer was a pocket calculator... how did we survive?

Motorbirds was definitely the first Finnish full length album sales video ever. Probably the first in Scandinavia. I’m not even sure if there were any other similar heavy videos Internationally out back then (Judas Priest live video came out in 1983). In the 70s and early 80s the music videos were prominently made by Television Companies for their (very few) music programmes. They usually had just the band playing and a few dance girls. There also were few Music Feature Films like Led Zeppelin's: “Song Remains The Same”.

The story based videos were just starting to appear. Motorbirds has a loose “story” connecting all the songs together and individual songs have images supporting the lyrics. It was radical and innovative in those days, so we were pioneers of the music video age.


I had been taking photographs professionally for years. Then I saw Jehtro Tull’s music video on TV. I thought right away that I want to make a story based sales video about the Motorbirds Album! It was as simple as that, the rest proved to be slightly more complicated!


The next thing was to try to find a film company who could do it; there really wasn’t a great selection of them in Finland. I luckily got in talks with Helsinki Cable Television (HTV). HTV had a big TV studio and the latest wonders of 1” video technology (they looked like big old IBM computers with tape reels).

The next problem was that the video I was planning would have cost more than £500 000, in modern currency. Well, we didn’t have that kind of money like Jehtro Tull or Blondie who had the backing of a global record company. One of my strong points has always been the ability to get people excited about projects. So here I was, the first time Producer/Director, without any experience in video, putting together a very ambitious full album length story based music video project, without any money!

HTV had two young guys; Jari Mynttinen (video editor) and Harri Väätäinen (cameraman) who were really excited to try the limits of video technology. Their boss was one of those very few persons who could see the bigger picture.

We were able to strike a deal where I promised to raise 20 000 FIM (equals to £20 000 today) and then HTV would let the boys spend their free time on the video, off working hours. Luckily they didn’t realize that this project would take half a year to finish! We spent countless nights and weekends at the studio experimenting with the new music video language.

Raising the money was another river to cross... I managed to talk a lot of people into the project; some giving money and some giving their time and equipment. I needed Guns, Motorcycles (Suzuki), an Army Transport Vehicle, Computers (IBM), Skidoos, Motocross cycles, a Customised Lorry, PA Systems, Parachuters, Locations - to mention a few... In the end it all somehow came together, perhaps because I’m blessed with ADHD, giving me endless energy and optimism.

We also had my (Russian) Lada Niva 4 wheel drive a la American Pickup style :) The Lada importer promised us money but being new to this I didn’t make an agreement on paper and the marketing director of this fine commercial enterprise refused to pay! A lesson learned there. (That Lada was the worst car I’ve ever had, luckily I was later able trade it for a Land Rover.) The American Style Lada created a lot of negative attention on the streets of Helsinki as car enthusiast saw it as a abomination and sacrilege to the American way. I didn’t think that Lada was a cool car but it was the only 4 Wheel drive I could afford!


This took a LONG time to complete as we tried and invented all kinds of special effects. Now all these things look so simple! Anybody who complains about the technology today should be sent back to early 80s too see how complicated things used to be! Any Video Camera cost an absolutely ridiculous amount of money, weighted tons and their batteries lasted for 10 minutes. We needed hell of a lot of light equipment. Nowadays a £200 Digital Video camera has 10x better image quality than the 80’s £200 000 camera kit!

Kirka (vocals) was very excited about the video shoot! This was his first heavy metal gig. He had grown his hair for the Studio shoot and was wearing all black leather and had adopted a heavy metal attitude! That’s how things should be done! Muska (vocals) was slightly reserved with all the hassle but we got everything done, no problems. Jukka Ritari (vocals) was a natural performer so he was right at home in front of the camera. The rest of the band of course had done the Heavy Performance a few times already :)

The actual “band on stage” footage was originally taped in two days. Unfortunately on the second day the 1” Video Tape recorder had a malfunction and erased the whole tape on rewind. I don’t know how that’s possible but that’s what seemed to have happened after the day’s work! We had to re-schedule which was complicated as Kirka was very busy. Unfortunately Juha (bass) was not able to come for the re-shoot and we ended up having my good friend Jari Lintukankare to “play act” the bass. Jari has been there all along from the very beginning of my music career adventures, to the present day, helping with all kinds of things. A true friend there.

We did all sorts of stuff: fake blood, chroma key (seven finger guitar playing :), dancers and The Flame Throwing Guitar. The Flame Throwing Guitar appeared on the “Cemetery For The Living” video. Of course I had to burn some crosses with it.


Post production took ages as we had ambitious ideas and wanted to experiment with layered images, colour effects, chroma key etc... Luckily Jari and Harri were as excited about the project as I was. We spent numerous nights in the HTV studio finishing the edit.


We got the video done after half year of working on it; the video took longer to do than the actual Motorbirds album! Now we had a complete album length sales video, made in as high quality TV Standard as possible at that time. What to do with it? Obviously I had not been thinking about that!

HTV ended up showing it twice on their channel, and YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) showed two songs from the video on their Rock Music Programme. There were no music or satellite channels. And there were no ways to sell or rent a music video!

Also the media was unable to comprehend the video aspect of the album! This was long before the MTV and the concept of the Music Video being as important for the band as the Music. The Motorbirds Album got good coverage in media but nobody ever mentioned the video! The Reporters I offered the video for review did not have VCRs to watch the video. Hah! THAT IS FUNNY!

The Motorbirds was the first Finnish metal album, sung in Finnish, and featuring female vocals. But looking back I think the most important achievement was the first Broadcast Standard full length Story Based Music Video!


I had reached all my goals musically and due to unpopularity of the heavy music there was no point making more albums. Perhaps the main reason to end Sarcofagus was that I was really excited to continue work on film/video. This is what I have been doing for the past 25 years; first in Finland and then in UK.

My new career took off and the Motorbirds video was forgotten for the next 15 years. Sarcofagus surfaced again in the end of 90s when a friend of mine told me that the first 2 albums had been re-released in Italy as CDs. In early 2000 Klaus Flaming, The Heavy Metal Voice of the Finnish Radio, asked me if I have the master tapes of the video as they were putting together a compilation of Finnish Heavy Music Videos.

Klaus Flaming made also a great service to Metal by making a very thorough Radio Series about 80’s Heavy Metal Bands. He interviewed me and all the main metal bands that appeared after Sarcofagus retired. Kudos to Klaus for the excellent and important task!

Klaus and I started to chase my old contacts to find one of the 2 original masters I knew existed... But after two years we had not found a single copy of the Motorbirds Video! It looked like we had lost it completely.

One year later I managed to find (maybe?) the only existing VHS copy of it. The owner was VERY reluctant to let me have it for digital duplication. After long negotiations we managed to make a copy!


The transfer from the VHS tape nicely enhances the age of the video. Originally I was thinking about making a full restoration operation, but then decided not to. It is 25 years old so it should look like that! I have only run it through Digital Noise Reduction and replaced the music track with the new 2004 Internet Mix.


The video was done with the same “tongue in cheek” attitude as a lot of other Sarcofagus stuff. If the video would have been dead serious it would look silly like many of the early music videos now do. The humor now makes it even funnier to watch than back in 80s. To me, as a Film maker, it's a good reminder how blessed we are today with all the Digital Technology.