Interview with Directors Sophie Muller & Logan on the making of the No Doubt, “Underneath It All” music video!
“It was a really sweet song, so I wanted to make “Underneath It All” a little less innocent, that’s why I came up with the idea to make it a bit sexual.” – Sophie Muller
Interview with director Sophie Muller:
MVW: I really like the new video. It seems pretty straight forward.
SM: It was kind of difficult making a video for this song since it is more of a personal lyric. I wanted to do something really simple. Just focus on her speaking to the camera. It was a very straightforward video. It was a really sweet song, so I wanted to make “Underneath It All” a little less innocent, that’s why I came up with the idea to make it a bit sexual. I thought that would be an interesting and tasteful way for Gwen to perform the video.
MVW: Who worked with you on the visual effects?
SM: I co-directed this video with Logan. They came up with an idea that everyone was happy with and we were all quite keen to work with them.
MVW: How did you come up with the concept for the video?
SM: Each of us tried to think of what we could do. The simple basis of the idea was that I will stick with Gwen giving her really good performance to camera and have Logan do lots of effects. When we actually came down to it, I realized that idea was too random and we had to be more specific. So I came up with the idea that Gwen would do a kind of strip to camera. She started off with tons of make-up and hair, kind of really over done like a stripper. As the video proceeds she looses her make up at the ends the make up and overdone look is gone. The idea was stripping back to being your simple self. We had to do it using visual metaphors. She was going to be talking her clothes off, but that made it too complicated. Instead we made it into sections where in each section she was less made up. In the end section we came up with the idea to include Lady Saw and using the entire band. This was a last minute decision, so we could only include it in the end section. It was a bit like the scene from Sound Of Music, when they were riding bicycles in time with the music. We changed it to show that they were in Jamaica in order to get the Jamaican feel to the video. This is where Logan did their visual effects. Logan was around all the time on the shoot and I was around shooting their bit. It was a good collaboration.
MVW: In the background you had the heart in a couple of scenes.
SM: When doing a performance video, I like to have the camera in front, not moving to the side, giving it one angle. Then designing the background to compliment whatever the atmosphere you want in that particular shot. The Heart makes a nice frame, it was based on some fashion we saw. We did it for the one scene where it gets black, then someone took the heart and placed it against the other set and we saw that it fit in that set as well.
MVW: Was it difficult deciding on the set design?
SM: It was all put together really quickly. We all just went in one day and decided what the first set was going to be like. Kind of ornate fancy room. They built that very quickly. We then came up with the heart with much simpler graphic. It then goes to the pink wall which adds Jamaican flavor.
MVW: How did you bring out the stunning look of the colors?
SM: It was simply teasing the colors. We just matched the color scheme. The color that goes with the pink wall is orange, so we had the boys wearing orange track suite. Then there happened to be this lime green crate lying around, which we just hammered on the wall to create a make shift basketball court. That was a really last minute idea and we did not have a basketball set. Seems in Jamaica, they usually use crates with the bottom cut out. I originally wanted Gwen to wear turquoise, but the stylist suggested lime green to match the crate.
MVW: Did you do anything to pull the color out even more in post?
SM: I pushed it a little bit to make it more contracting, but nothing fancy at all. I used Symphony, which is like an online AVID. I edited my section and gave the whole video to Logan so they could put their bits in. We discussed little bits, like in between each section they did little stars and the scene where she kind of slaps her bottom.
MVW: Where did you shoot the video?
SM: It was all shot in one studio.
MVW: Gwen has such a stong camera presence and the
Caribbean vibe to the song is great.
SM: She is a good performer. So I liked the idea of letting her perform alone rather than a band performance. We could not think of a way to make it good and have the band in the performance as well. Because of the shortness of time, we all agreed that it was best to have Gwen do the performance. The song was more of personal lyric, it’s one person’s thoughts.
Interview with Director/Visual Effects artist Ben Conrad of “Logan”
MVW: How did you end up working with Sophie on this video?
BC: We were treating the track and presented a lot of boards and some of the frames we wanted to do. It was kind of a split between the label and the band. The band was comfortable working with Sophie. They liked some of the frames we did and wanted to have just little moments of “Logan” integrated with a real personal piece about Gwen. It was just better this way with Sophie capturing Gwen’s great performance. It was really intimate and their personal relationship evokes a lot of that great performance from Gwen.
MVW: I understand that you did the effects accenting the video. How did you create these effects?
BC: Off set, Alexei and I shot some glitter and water then used those as a star element to make the 3-D clouds. It was made pretty simple for Gwen to just to give it that religious fantastic look. This was directed by Sophie as well. She had a real clear idea of how she wanted to present Gwen.
The bike scene was where we unleashed. This was the one moment where you see the entire band together. For this scene we shot singles of all the band members on bikes in front of a blue screen on a 12 foot turntable. We stood them up there and shot away as many angles and rotations as possible. The band members were rigged to a lift that picked them up above the ground so they could peddle. We laid out tracks so we could shoot two of them together riding side by side and had grips pulling them back and forth on the small track.
When Alexei, Sophie and I originally talked about the idea, it was to include some of the footage they shot while in Jamaica. Gwen wanted to do something about Jamaica of course and how they would get around on bicycles while staying there recording the track. However we wanted to create something unique for that little moment and came up with the scene with the band members. We kind of gave it a “Sound of Music” through Jamaica look.
MVW: There is one scene where she smacks her side and stars came off of her?
BC: This was one of the original frames we submitted to the band. Originally when we were thinking about the track we thought about the peeling away of the earth layers relating to the track and the metaphor of the song. The echo emanation side protruding from Gwen’s shape relates to that within the concept of the song and serves as a graphic treatment in relation to the song. In all the treatments we wanted to stay within that idea of peeling and emanation of layers.
MVW: You usually do more CG kind of work. This was definitely not the norm for you.
BC: We are really trying to combine to more live action, performance, props and sets. It was a great experience for us to watch Sophie work. This was a really great learning experience for us. I have a hard time even thinking about our stuff as visual effects because to me, it’s more of a personal take on graphics.
Production Co.: Oil Factory
Directors: Sophie Muller / Logan
Visual Effects: Logan