Vinson Fraley, Upstate New York
Whereabouts are you self-isolating at the moment?
I’m in Berlin with my partner and six-month old daughter.
How did the video come about with Asaf Avidan – and how did you collaborate together on it. Were you set to direct a video with him pre-Covid-19 and then had to adapt to the new situation?
Asaf and I started working together with Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schreiber on a music video for another single from his upcoming album. We were supposed to film around this time, but then Covid-19 hit hard. I was still talking to producers about the video when it started, but as the days went by, and countries closed their borders, we realised we won’t be able to film it in April. Then Asaf came up with this idea of releasing a small video for a different single (“Earth Odyssey”), with dancers from all over the world, dancing at home, and then stitching it together.
The essence of the film really communicates that we are all in it together even if we are isolated. Was this your intention?
Yes definitely. Asaf wanted to release the video ASAP, as a reaction to all the beautiful videos of people in Italy singing together on their separate balconies. I personally cried when I saw some of those videos. Funny enough, this Covid situation, is releasing a lot of beautiful humane gestures, despite, and maybe as a reaction to social distancing.
It was also important for both of us to release a “good vibe” video to cheer people up at these confusing and depressing times.
Mariko Kakizaki, Japan
What was the brief for the dancers?
Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schreiber were responsible for casting the dancers and guiding their movement. All the dance was improvised and it was beautiful to see how differently each one interprets the song with their body. The initial idea was for them to film themselves with their phones. But that normally generates wide-shots of bodies dancing. I wanted to get closer to the dancers, see their faces and their movements, so I asked from whoever could, to send me both wide-shots as well as hand-held shots. I think the fact that some of them were shot by their partners, gives the dance and the camera movement a special intimacy, which is really unique.
It was a challenge directing remotely, since some footage was unusable in the beginning and we had to ask for reshoots from some of the dancers. It was an interesting experience – directing remotely and also receiving the footage. You don’t know what to expect, and the quality was very diverse.
Easy or tricky to edit together?
Actually it was pretty easy. This was surprisingly the fastest edit of a music video I’ve ever done. I normally don’t like to edit my own work, but here a big part of the directing was the edit, and we were on a crazy schedule to release it ASAP.
The dancers Bobbi casted are really the best in the world, so every movement was phenomenal. The hard part was choosing the moments. There’s so much good footage that didn’t make it to the edit, but at the end of it, when editing dance, it’s all about connecting one movement to another, and building up emotion of course.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I just hope this video will cheer people up. Although it was a special experience working remotely, I hope to get back to live action shooting and work physically with these people… and pretty soon!
Through a Glass Darkly… Or Schreiber, Pennsylvania