Director Andrew Sloan and choreographer Jin Camou discuss the visual decisions and the mentality that led to the final creation of “Ice Palace”, in the following Q&A.
Onuinu’s “Ice Palace” will also be featured at REDEFINE magazine’s Motion & Movement In Music Video panel at Bumbershoot and MusicfestNW 2012. SEE FULL DETAILS
Dance and movement are featured in this music video, though I would say say that it is rather atypical. Why the choice to include dance in a video such as this, and was there a particular ethos that drove the choreography or its inclusion?
Jin Camou: The choreography for this video was based on structured improvisation. The song and the images were already there. After spending some time with those, came up with a score that would be simple for experienced improvisers to perform without much rehearsal.
Andrew Sloan: This video was designed to aide the movement that was already inherent in the music. The content and the editing (fast cuts, abrupt motion) are meant to cater to the droning rhythmic undertones that carry the song. Having dancers was an obvious instinctual choice given the direction of the video — so I approached Jin.
A large number of individuals worked on this project. How much contribution did the artist, director, choreographer, and dancers each offer? How closely did you work with one another?
Jin Camou: This was a one-day-shoot for the dancers. I showed them the score I’d created, and we ran through it a few times before shooting. We (Andrew and I) had a couple of conversations before the shoot, which led to the development of the score. The whole process felt open and organic.
Andrew Sloan: I had seen Jin and her crew perform once before and liked how they were capable of generating interesting movements in an improvised setting. Jin and I discussed what I was looking for and she called together the right dancers to help her pull it off. Very little direction was given during or before the dance was performed. I was just there with my crew to capture the visual aspect of it and be a light critic to ensure things were moving in the right direction while Jin and co. did their thing.
ANDREW SLOAN & JIN CAMOU INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW
How much footage of “movement” was filmed, and how were the final shots chosen for inclusion?
Andrew Sloan: We filmed for about 3 hours if I remember right. I had 3 hand-held cameras on the ground and one aerial shot. All in all, I’d say we got about 1 hour of dance footage total. After the shoot, I retreated to my editing lair and carefully watched and re-watched every minute of the footage, selecting clips as they revealed themselves. The final shots were chosen based on their composition in the frame and the action that was captured therein. With 1 hour of footage, it’s surprising how much ends up being unusable.
How many of the visual effects were created during the shoot as opposed to in post-production? Was there a visual palette or aesthetic that you were already working with prior to the shoot?
Andrew Sloan: All effects were applied in post. Some were digital and some were overlays of planned live-action psychedelia. The palette was pre-determined to be super-saturated and never dip too low into the darks. We were able to keep constant with that during the dance sequence using colored smoke bombs. Things started looking really nice as the sun went down.
Is there an underlying symbolism in the use of things like apples, bananas, shoes, light bulbs, etc. or were they props chosen for other reasons?
Andrew Sloan: This is a very sexy song. The images are meant to combine to create a visual aphrodisiac for the viewer; alone, an orange might not be that sexy, but when you bounce it around next to a pomegranate, a flaming house, and some nice looking women, suddenly the meaning of the orange changes.
How were the aerial shots of the dancing group taken? Were there any parts of the shoot that were more memorable or more challenging than anticipated?
Jin Camou: Running and dancing through colorful smoke in the rain and mud in solid white (with all those dancers) was highly memorable. As was seeing Joe and Andrew get the balloon kite going for the aerial shots.
Andrew Sloan: My assistant director and I built and aerial rig out of 3-4 huge birthday party ballons, 2 chopsticks, some twine and a GoPro camera that allowed us to sail the camera high above the shoot location. It was indeed memorable watching the whole thing come together. Looking back, it’s kinda hard to believe it all came out so well.
Onuinu – Ice Palace Credits
Directed by Andrew Sloan
Assistant Director: Joe Holiday
EFFECTS AND EDITING