The promo for Kylie's new single, The One, is a sexy, glamorous piece in black-and-white with flashes of primary colour and the pint-sized diva at her most sultry. To direct the promo, she turned to Ben Ib, who had also created her tour visuals. We caught up with him to talk about how the piece was created.
DA: What was the brief for the project?
BI: Kylie sent me a really detailed brief with loads of amazing images, from Man Ray to Rodchenko, through Donna Summer and The Jackson 5. We had worked together on her tour visuals, so she was familiar with the type of work I do. I came up with a treatment inspired by some of her references, heavily based on the era of the 1940s.
DA: What were your conceptual ideas and influences?
BI: Initially the idea was very Rodchenko. But the storyboard included various images of Carol Lombard and Veronika Lake, and it seemed to grow organically from this look that Kylie pretty much devised. So the whole Art Deco thing stemmed from this. We wanted the look to be 1940s Hollywood, but not retro -- like a 1940s vision of the future. Personally my inspiration came from a wide range of places: Bauhaus graphic design, Art Deco architecture, Marcel Duchamp short films, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, The Wizard of Oz, Saul Bass' title sequences. Basically all the things I like!
DA: How did you turn this into the final promo?
BI: We shot the video against greenscreen in Manchester, where Kylie had a day off in the middle of her X tour dates. The shoot was fairly simple with a few props and various costume changes. We also filmed two dancers, Jason and Nikki. Kylie's performance was impeccable. Not one mistake!
DA: What was the biggest challenge you faced, and how did you overcome this?
BI: The post deadline was extremely tight -- initially about a week. I tend to be pretty hands-on with my videos and do a great deal of the post myself, as my background is in 3D and motion graphics. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for punishment! But luckily I had a very talented gang of motion-graphics artists and compositors to help out this time. But it was still a serious amount of late nights and strong coffee.
DA: What software did you use to create the piece, particularly the motion graphics?
BI: The backgrounds were created in Maya using Mental Ray and the 2d work was done in After Effects. The keying and finishing was done in Flame.
DA: At times it looks very much like elaborate stage lighting, with characters appearing in front of these vivid, changing backdrops. Was the promo influenced by your stage design work?
BI: The influence was definitely on stage lighting, but really the film stages of the 1940s rather than the live stage. The look of real stages, such as those used by Busby Berkeley, Hitchcock (eg Spellbound), Fritz Lang etc I think have a beautiful sense of depth. The fact that they are constructed rather than built on a computer gives them something which is more imaginary and organic. The sense of scale is beautifully imperfect. So the inspiration was definitely from constructed stage sets -- but of course, built on a Mac!
Click here to watch the video.