Ornate art direction and glamour lighting could only mean…Super 16? "I firmly believe you can’t tell the difference from 35mm," says director Sophie Muller. "You’d think to recreate the lushness of the film you’d have to use 35mm but you don’t. In fact, all the videos I’ve shot recently have been Super 16." Keep it up, Sophie – we can’t tell!
1. Muller: As usual, the idea came from the band and I talking about ideas and visuals. The lead singer Brandon said that he really liked Moulin Rouge. That shocked me as it seemed so unlikely for a rock band, but once he said it my mind exploded with all the fabulous theatrical possibilities.
2. Muller: The only scene that’s not pure film is the one on the balcony, where there’s fireworks and he touches her hand, which was inspired by Moulin Rouge. We did that with green screen, and then my friend Zack Niederlander created a generic European cityscape by comping a bunch of photos to give this very innocent, almost Disneyesque look to the scene.
3. Muller: In the scenes where the band’s playing, we used these curtains behind them that were made out of thousands of pieces of broken-up Christmas baubles in a mosaic pattern. [Production Designer] Laura Fox came up with the curtain idea and it took 10 people three days to make them, including myself.
I barely had to talk to DP Steve Chivers about the lighting. He knows exactly what I like, which is "light from the front and then add backlight for the glamour." So the look is very theatrical and as beautiful as possible. It’s not meant to be moody and dark.
Chivers: Sophie and I’ve worked together for over 25 years so she just lets me get on with the lighting. My background’s rock'n’ roll, and I used a lot of Par 64s in wide bars for all the backlight, like at a show. It’s a very efficient, fast way to light, and very controllable at the dimmer. I shot Kodak 7279 high speed as it gives you nice contrast. For lenses, I used two Canon zooms (7-56 and 11.5-138).
4. Muller: The shots at the end, where it’s vaguely out of focus and it’s a flashback of loving memory, we shot with pinhole photography – I wanted a bit where it looked like some old photo.
Chivers: For the pinhole effect we used the same camera, took off the lens, and stuck a piece of black wrap with a pinhole we made ourselves in front. Then you shoot outside as you need a ton of light. Doing it on 16mm is really pushing it – 35mm’s much better for this effect, but we didn’t have the budget.
CREDITS: Director, Editor, Colorist: Sophie Muller ¦ DP: Steve Chivers ¦ Producer: Grant Jue ¦ Production Designer: Laura Fox