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Patrick Daughters on new Feist: "I'd say we narrowly averted disaster"
Feist's I Feel It All by Patrick Daughters
Patrick Daughters' last video for Nova Scotia-born folkstress Leslie Feist - the Grammy-nominated, Fame-meets-Gap-Ad dancefest 1234 - was one of the most visible promos of 2007, thanks to the colossal exposure the clip garnered from being used in Apple's iPod Nano adverts.
With that in mind, Daughters really had his work cut out in crafting a follow up for next single I Feel It All. It would have to be something with a bang; something that would produce fireworks. Literally.
"It was Leslie's idea," explains Daughters, talking to Promo News. "Her good friend, Mary Rozzi, comes from a rather generous family of fireworks experts who were keen to be involved. The idea went through several different iterations before it finally ended up as it is, very simple and celebratory."
"Celebratory" is the right word. Daughters' latest Feist outing is New Years Eve, Thanksgiving and Guy Fawkes Night all rolled into one. As Feist runs around a park like a big kid waiving a stick at barrels and oil drums, said drums ignite with rockets and flares in time with the song's xylophone melody, giving the clip a mythical, fairytale quality.
As the song builds, so do the fireworks, filling the sky and dwarfing the singer. Things calm down in the song's third quarter, as Daughters frames the singer with just a single sparkler, before things kick off for the finale and the sky lights up once more.
It's a charming clip that once again suits Feist's off-kilter cool; somehow made all the more lovable by the moments the explosions occasionally slip out of synch from the music. Daughters' strength lies in bringing out the singer's inner child and playing off her infectious hyperactivity, and the video works as much for Feist's ridiculous, happy-go-lucky dancing (a recurring theme in most of her clips) and her 'air piano' as it does for the visual effects.
"The goal with the fireworks was to do it all in-camera," says Daughters. "It wasn't easy - we only had four takes and the first was basically a very expensive rehearsal. Fortunately, we were able to use the best portions of the three usable takes.
"We worked very closely with the John and Joe Rozzi to build the fireworks program to the song. It proved difficult to get all the explosions to sync precisely, so the good folks at Smoke & Mirrors really helped us out. I should also mention - without giving too much away - that they also did a heck of a job on some very serious cleanup."
Although he won't go into specifics, Daughters says that there were obvious dangers with having the singer so close to live fireworks. "In fact," he adds, "I'd say we narrowly averted disaster."
Visually, the clip echoes several of Daughters' previous clips - such as Secret Machines' Lightning Blue Eyes, Interpol's No I In Threesome and, of course, Feist's 1234 - in that, while not strictly a one-take clip, it has the appearance of being a single take.
"There are a few reasons I like to do long shots," says Daughters. "For one, it's a lot easier to edit, which to be honest is not my favourite part of the process. Secondly, it's a technical challenge that makes the shoot more interesting. And thirdly, speaking very generally - and I've certainly been guilty of this in the past - I think most music videos are chronically over-cut and full of unmotivated camera moves.
"I like the idea of knowing how it will cut together before you shoot it, and the easiest way to achieve that is with few shots."
Although the clip is likely to further raise the singer's already booming profile (recent Grammy performance, Brit Awards nomination, etc) Daughters is modest about his role in Feist's transformation from folk underdog to mainstream idol. "Seems like it happened around the same time," he says of the 1234 clip. "Could just be a coincidence."
Nevertheless the duo have collaborated four times and produced four colourful and imaginative, feel-good clips. And when asked if he's likely to work with the singer again, Daughters says he's sure he will. Now there's a bright idea. Adam Benzine
|Production Company||The Director's Bureau|
|Director of Photography||Jim Hawkinson|
|Art Director||Rob Gray|
|Online||Smoke & Mirrors|
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