Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hear No Evil - Real Live Flesh by Tune-Yards

Yesterday I talked about a video made on the cheap and suggested that in the modern day (typically thought to begin with JJ Abrams's Star Trek reboot) you can make a music video for even less money. I thought it would be fun to take a look at an example.

Here's the first video by Tune-Yards for her song "Real Live Flesh" which came out in 2010:

Now, I don't even have a vague recollection of reading an article where an unnamed source said, "I heard from a friend of a friend that this video cost $321.52 to make." So we'll just go ahead and say that this video was made for the cost of a banana ($10).

Just like in The Rentals' video, not a lot happens here. It's mostly three people looking directly at the camera. Please ignore that bar at the top of the screenshots. I don't feel like editing them out and they give that fun "poorly done blog" feel.

This video does take the time to create a narrative, though. You have the animal-natured beasts seen here:

Contrasted with the staid, stone-faced individuals that appear here:

They enjoy the music, bopping up and down, but they display restraint. You don't see the wild abandon of the women with the painted faces. And, of course, they are the same women. Is one face the real one and another the face they show to the world? Or do both sets of faces represent the tiny kitten inside each of us, claws out, jumping onto valuable furniture?

The video also does fun stuff with lip syncing. At the beginning each of the three women sings a line.

First, this woman sings while the other two cavort in the background, possibly attempting to develop new jazz hands techniques.

Then you have the Native American woman. She eats her own hair in a ritual originally designed to gain the power of your enemies, but she believes that by eating her own hair she will double her strength.

Finally, there's the other woman.

The fact that all three women sing a line that is, in fact, sung by the same person annoys me. It is possible that you could watch the video and not even know who the singer is! Your only real clue is that one of the women is usually in the middle or most prominent spot, like you see here.

Besides those first three lines, there is very little traditional lip syncing. Instead, you have hooting in the manner of their spirit animal, an owl:

Or their other spirit animal, a monkey:

Also, rather than mouthing the words they occasionally just open and close their mouths along to the rhythm of the words.

It's mesmerizing and reminds me of this insane video that concerns itself with madness, torture, and the location of cereal.

The women seem to have some trouble getting their mouths 100% in sync with each other (in fact, I get the feeling the whole video was shot without the music playing in the background so they were just doing their best to be in time) but that's no big deal. It adds to the general lo-fi feel of the video.

The final element is dancing. This is the first video I have written about that has synchronized dancing, which is strange because this is one of the standard elements of a good video.

Most of the dancing is done from the neck up, but "Synchronized dancing is synchronized dancing," as Voltaire was so fond of saying in his later years.

Other dancing is more interpretive. Here the main woman does a twitchy, less demonic Ronnie James Dio:

The Dio definitely comes across.

There's also an excellent moment where the woman on the right pops up just as there is a surging note in the music.

This could easily be overdone, but this type of thing is just used once or twice in the video and it is great.

The video follows the maxim, "Less is more", which was, I believe, originally said by Ringo Starr (it was definitely one of The Beatles). Sometimes they just flip the image around.

Shot 1:

Shot 2:

Look at their eyes! I just love it!

Also, even though the whole thing is clearly shot in someone's apartment (based on the YouTube notes the apartment seems to belong to Prince) they take the effort to change the background.

This background is primarily used for fun with hands.

And that's pretty cool.

Join me tomorrow when we get deeper into just what a band can do with synchronized dancing.

As always, don't forget to eat your wooden nickels.


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