January 27th, 2011
Whew…after over a month of hard work shooting, editing and shooting and editing, my video for Braids’ song Plath Heart has finally been released into the wild. It is my very first official music video and I’m really excited that I got to work with such a talented group.
This video really embodied ‘experimental’ for me, mostly due to how I approached the project. The song has a very unusual structure to me, so it was very hard to fit a kind of story line to it. I was stuck initially when trying to figure out the visual piece of the song. Luckily, after meeting with the band, I was able to pick out a few phrases and ideas that they claimed they could ‘see’ as part of the song. Some of the key phrases that stuck out were “metallic”, “detailed”, “birth” and “tunnel”. I also asked for what they saw as the color palette of the song, and stuck to that as much as possible.
Then for weeks I played around with strange filming techniques and materials. I ended up with about 2 hours of footage by the end of everything. I wanted to keep the video as immediate as possible, to stick to some of my expertise as a live visualist. I spent hours just laying down clips that I had shot and just sort of building everything from the ground up, without a clear vision of where I was going to end up. In some ways, I think that helped the piece, but it made it incredibly difficult to start off. I wanted to be able to communicate something powerful without putting together a complete “storyline” in my head, so that I could match the way I felt about the song. I’m so used to just letting things happen by chance, so it was hard to come back and apply a little more control to a piece. A lot of things were still kept to chance…strangely enough, even through 13 different versions and edits, the first 40 seconds or so ended up staying the same from the very first version.
I wish I had some photos of how i got some of the shots I did, some of it would be pretty comical. Instead of ruining the magic for the whole thing, I’ll explain one of the main shots. Even I was surprised about how the ‘water’/'flashing lights sections turned out since they looked so otherworldly, but it was a very simple setup. For that shot, all I did was set my camera pointing up on my record player and turned it on…and then dangled some tinsel which was backlit by a flashlight. That random experiment ended up being the bookends of the entire video. I’m glad I had to make this video around the holidays, because I was able to stock up on things like tinsel, battery powered christmas lights and other unusual metallic materials. Another shot involved macro shooting of a glass bowl of milky water that happened to fit perfectly on top of my desk lamp.
Overall I feel really satisfied with the way the video came out. It was a battle between editing for microscopic musical events while keeping a view on the larger picture. In the end it was a lot of shuffling around different events until it became very fluid. I couldn’t really explain the ‘story’ in words if you asked me, but I’d say most music videos I like would get a similar comment from me. In the end, the video is open to a lot of different interpretations, just like the song.
Some really great reviews coming in about the video…so many different interpretations that I haven’t even imagined. From an analysis of Sylvia Plath’s relationships, and sasquatch’s intestines to just traveling down a “hairy tube”