Friday, October 26, 2007

The Perfect Drug

Thanks to kureman over on antville for posting this clip.

Here is about thirty minutes of behind the scenes footage on the making of Mark Romanek’s iconic 1994 video for Nine Inch Nail’s “Closer.” The featurette is broken into three separate sections and is overall relatively interesting.

Romanek was always a great MV director who I wished worked more and this is a decent glimpse inside the mind of a super-talented guy.

What I found to be even more valuable, especially to MV directors working today, is the accompanying clip of the finished video for “Closer” with commentary from Trent Reznor. Not that many bands/artists are at all likeReznor, but it is instructive to hear what parts of the process (and Romanek’s skills) he was drawn to.

Romanek is a major talent, and that often comes with elements of self-indulgence – like using an antique hand-cranked silent movie camera that often broke down, rather than shooting with modern equipment and making the final film “look” old. Also, the set with built-in practical lighting and skylights (so no “movie lights” on the set) looks great in the behind the scenes footage, and must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in art department. So is that self-indulgence or attention to detail?

Watch "Closer" with artist commentary here.

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I remember listening to an interview with Romanek where he said that initially Reznor approached him to direct because of his high-gloss / clean aesthetic that was used in videos for Madonna / Michael Jackson, etc. It took some persuastion for Reznor to go with the 1920's grainy look.
It was a good choice, it made the work timeless.

Romanek's work has always been visually and metaphorically stunning to me. Well thought out and always edited to perfection.

He has a well thought out style of combining older and modern concepts, specifically in a direct combination of history and art.

(I was a huge fan of 99 Problems and loved the behind the scenes work there. The combination of urban and tribal was brilliant.)

As his style remains the same from piece to piece, I'm going to say in his case self-indulgence and attention to detail mean the same thing.
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This is a nice post and all, but would it have killed you to link to (or even mention) the Mark Romanek Director's Label DVD that came out two years ago? It has all this linked-to footage on it and MORE (including that 99 Problems video, which I concur is badass)!
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