The Ting Tings:: That’s Not my Name

•January 30, 2009 • 3 Comments

I don’t listen to the Ting Tings very often, but when I came across this video, it did its job. That is, it got me to like the song a lot. There’s not a whole lot of depth to this video honestly. What I love about it is the awesome lights that are used all over the place, the glow signs and glow costumes, and actually the atmosphere. This video presents a very strange and almost unstable/changing atmosphere. I always find myself wondering, in the back of my mind, “Where ARE they??” You have no clue, and no grasp of where they are, but somehow it works, and it’s okay. Sometimes it looks like reality, sometimes like a set, and sometimes like an entirely different area than the where bulk of the video takes place. It’s all very strange, and if you’ve read any of my previous entries, you know that I enjoy strange. I also have mention the jerky fast-speed areas of the video. It’s been done more and more in music videos lately, but I love it whenever I see it. It always seems to go with the beat of the music wherever I see it. And I suppose that would be the point.

Overall I like the attitude of the song. I think that’s what brings the most to this video, which seems to be all over the place, and it’s what unites everything. It is definitely a pop song to the very core, and lead vocalist Katie White brings an adorable edge to the lyrics. I’m not sure there is anybody else in the world who could pull off this song. Love the accent.

One thing about this video that raised an eyebrow, however, was its similarity to another one of my favorites. I wont go into too much detail right now, because I’d actually like to save said video for another entry, but I have to say something about it. The sign twirlers, the crazy glowing and lights all over the place, and the huge retro car at the beginning are all visual elements of the “Me Enamora” video by Juanes, directed by Aggressive. I absolutely adore that video, so it breaks my heart a little bit to find one that could have possibly ripped from it. Hopefully it’s just a coincidence. Either way, both videos are rad. This one just came out last week, so enjoy!

Smashing Pumpkins:: Ava Adore

•January 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’ve loved this video for a very long time now, but since I began studying/working in the video production industry, I have definitely acquired a new reason to love it. That reason being that it is a glorious long take of course. Technically, the long take is not an easy feat. You can count on putting all of the time that would have been spent editing into pre-production. Long takes require a special sort of planning, timing, and of course rehearsal. You can say that three times: rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. Because they require such special care, I will forever love and adore the long take.

This particular long take is done in a controlled studio setting, and with a dolly (you’ll catch the tracks and part of the crew when the camera does a turn in the middle of this video, thus breaking the third wall). While these two features do make a long take easier, the constantly changing speed of this video made it a particularly difficult shoot. Apparently, the calculations required to work out the speed changes caused massive delays on set, causing the band to nearly call off the entire plan. Lip syncing plus fast/slow motion video equals math.

Besides the technical work put into this video, this is one of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs, and obviously the set and wardrobe choices are what make it magnificent. Those are the things that made me fall in love with it initially. Director duo Dom and Nic have created a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. Enjoy:

Common:: Testify

•December 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

While most songs or films will inherently contain a story of some sort, Common’s Testify does so in the most literal sense. The song in itself is an awesome narrative piece, which unfolds in a way that songs rarely do anymore. Most are either cryptic or metaphorical in their lyrics, while Common delivers a piece that is powerfully straightforward. It only seems right that director Anthony Mandler should come along and create a short film around such a story.

Mandler seems to have made a habit of creating music videos that have bookends of non-musical narrative, which serve to enhance them into short films. Testify is no different: a short narrative and a music video, all wrapped up into one glorious package. The first third of the film contains no music, but be patient, because it will come, and when it does you can expect something extraordinary. The interweaving of the music into the very reality-based world presented in the video creates something undoubtedly special.

What I love most about this video is that there’s just the right amount of each ingredient: a bit of clever story, some Law and Order, throw in some flava’, some kickin beats, and of course, my personal favorite, the astoundingly suave presence of Common as the narrator. Mix them all up and you have the music video for Testify. Gotta love the fist-knocks on the beats. Audio and video have never been better together.

Fatboy Slim:: Weapon of Choice

•December 5, 2008 • Leave a Comment

No matter how horrible I might be feeling on any given day, this video always always makes me smile. So simple, but sooooo good. There are no words to express how amazing Christopher Walken is here. This is absolutely why I love him so. To me this video is about being free, and weird, and goofy, and most of all, being yourself.

If you’re anything like me, watching this will make you happy:

Sigur Ros:: Glosoli

•November 27, 2008 • 1 Comment

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope your bellies are all full of wonderful food. The holidays always put me into such a warm, family-type mood, so I chose my video accordingly.

I only started listening to Sigur Ros a very short time ago, and strangely enough, it was through this video. I was surfing the internet one day and came across it pretty randomly. Now, clearly this is the one of the most beautiful music videos in existence (at least by my standards), but I also fell in love with the music simultaneously, and thus started listening to Sigur Ros. I love the absolute innocence and simplicity of this video. It is simple, but with a profound effect. The story is not one that is over-the-top– it’s what I consider a dream-story, since in dreams you don’t use your mind to understand things as much as you just feel them. The cinematography, the wardrobe, and the location are all pieces to the puzzle that make this video what it is. Great pace, great editing. There’s not much more I can really say about this piece of brilliance– it pretty much speaks for itself.

Sigur Ros, as well as the directors Stefan Arni and Siggi Kinski, are from Iceland…which must be some sort of magical place, because everything I’ve seen from there is amazing.

Enjoy, and feel warm and happy:

Lady Gaga:: The Fame (part one)

•November 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Today I’m sharing with you a video that is new, and actually very special to me. Every once in a while a video comes along that just makes me feel raw excitement, happiness, shock, nervousness, inspiration, and simply…love. I fell in love with this video the moment I saw it. It’s the kind of video that I wish I could forget every time I see it, just so I can watch it again and feel the same as I did the first time. And I’ll be honest, I watch this thing probably 3 or 4 times a day since I found it two weeks ago.

You can make fun of me all you want, because this artist is, when you get down to it, a pop star. But I like what I like, and this is something that I love. What makes me so happy about this video is that it, much like yesterday’s video, is very unexpected for the genre of music that it is paired with. Documentary and rap? Experimental and pop/dance? Unheard of. Things that aren’t “supposed to” go together are wonderful and, like I said, unexpected.

So this is not exactly a music video, but rather an album promo (and therefore a compilation of songs) for Lady Gaga’s “The Fame”. I’ll say it right now: I believe that this artist will be huge. She’s not the next Britney because she’s not what I would consider “manufactured.” Her music can be mediocre at times, I’ll admit that, but it’s the whole package that you have to look at with Lady Gaga. She’s a performance artist to the core, and everything she does comes from her own creative mind and a passion for being the character of “Lady Gaga”. Her goal is to team theatre with pop music and bring back a Bowie-esque era of pop.

That being said, the artist is really secondary to how much I just love the video as a piece. I was lucky enough to have an e-mail conversation with it’s director, Constellation Jones, and get some great insight on his process and workflow. I love everything about this video, from the cuts to the exposure/saturation/color editing to the quick camera movements done in post. I have to commend Jones on his superstar editing– it is really a talent to be able to edit to music this well.

Lady Gaga, however, must be recognized for the art conception. Although she didn’t direct it, she can take full credit for the choreography, the story and the overall vision of the piece. I love how random and strange this video is. It absolutely amazes me every time I see it. I am extremely drawn to video that incorporates choreography with music, and this is one that does it in a way that is completely fresh and new and (best of all) weird. I cannot possibly explain how excited I get every time I watch it; my heart literally races. It gives me inspiration and hope that I can make something this beautiful one day.

I was actually quite hesitant to post this video, as when I find something that I love so much I tend to want to hide it away for myself and pretend that I’m the only one who knows about it. I came to my senses, of course, and realized that it would be selfish to do such a thing, and that I should share this brilliance with the world.

If you can enjoy this even half as much as I do, you’ll love it. Without further ado, The Fame (part one):

Jay-Z:: 99 Problems

•November 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I hope to God that everyone has seen this video, but in case you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” is directed by one of the masters of the medium, Mark Romanek. His name came up briefly the other day, and this is always the first video that comes to mind when I think about him. I can remember watching it for the first time and being blown away because rap videos like this simply aren’t made (if not for the gorgeous cinematography and amazing editing). This video literally brings the song to life by revealing harsh views of Brooklyn that are rarely captured on film. Every cut gives your jaw a new reason to drop. I really adore this video because I feel like I’ve been allowed to step in and experience a piece of life that I might not have otherwise had access to.

I know that this was also a very important video to Jay-Z, as it was meant to signify the death of his rapper alias (that being “Jay-Z”) and the birth of Shawn Carter. I recall reading an article a few years back about how Romanek took a few months longer to finish the video than he had promised. His usual editor was unavailable, so he had hired someone he was unfamiliar with. Romanek was so picky about the piece that he eventually pulled the editor and waited until his usual one was able to work on it. Jay-Z was initially furious about the wait, until he saw the finished piece. All disappointment was quickly forgotten ; )

I apologize in advance if you have trouble playing the video. I stole it from mtv.com…so you’ll probably get a commercial before the video. Trust me, it’s worth it for the quality. And you want to watch this one in high quality.

PS: Cody wants everyone to know that “that bearded beast of a man in half of the video is Rick Rubin, one of the most rockin producers EVER.”

(If the image link doesn’t work for you, go here )