Video Chats: Kristina Carucci on "Lullabye" by Alexandra Stewart
Posted by Doug Klinger on February 4, 2014 in Interviews
Shooting on 16mm film is not exactly common in the world of music videos, but for “Lullabye” by Alexandra Stewart, shooting on film was crucial to the aesthetic that director Kristina Carucci had in mind. The simple and beautiful video features Stewart on a beach in Montauk, Long Island, performing as the sun goes down and the moon comes up, and has a feel that is directly tied to its medium. We spoke with Kristina about her choice of location, styling, and skipping color correction.
Doug: In what ways did the song influence the video?
Kristina: The first thing that struck me about "Lullabye" was the sound of the footsteps and rushing water, which I instantly wanted to incorporate into the video. Alexandra's voice is so powerful yet feminine in this track, and that is what led me to look for a landscape that would evoke both of these traits. The cliffs alone are intimidating and overpowering, but balanced with the tide and warm light it becomes ethereal, which is what we were striving for. The cymbals crashing translated into the slow-motion crashing waves.
Doug: Why did you choose to shoot in 16mm?
Kristina: Our DP Sean Hanley is part of a great collective called Mono No Aware, which is keeping 16mm and Super 8mm alive in New York. Everytime I went to one of their screenings I left thinking that I had to get back to shooting film again. It's hard to justify the steep cost on lower budget videos, but Alexandra was in favor from day one. She understood that the dreamy aesthetic that we were going for would be elevated by using 16mm.
From a practical standpoint , I knew we would need a lot of latitude to shoot on the beach at sunset. The fact that we can see Alexandra's face while she is being completely backlit is a testament to the medium. I ended up skipping a color correct because the raw print was exactly what I had imagined, thanks to Sean and the processing lab . That was a nice bonus!
Doug: What were your goals for styling Alexandra?
Kristina: Just like the landscape, I wanted to see two sides to Alexandra. I wanted her to look like the powerful siren on top of the cliffs , hence the flowing train and the electric green, as well as the star in her hair. The more subdued long cornfield blue dress and cape were the other side of her character , the nomad. Alexandra has a great collection of gold rings that served as a unifying detail.
Doug: What was it about Montauk that drew you to it as a location?
Kristina: I wanted a beach with cliffs and I thought that the further out from New York City we went, the better. I really didn't want to see any people or mansions in the background. I also had the beach from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on the brain, which was located in Montauk. A Google search proved that Shadmoor State Park would be perfect. The fact that it was November meant that we wouldn't have an issue with a lot of background commotion.
Doug: How long did you guys spend in Montauk? Did you have much time to scout the location or was shooting this video more of a natural process?
Kristina: We more or less showed up in Montauk with a couple of suitcases of props and wardrobe feeling optimistic. Luckily we did not run into any problems with location, and the weather was kind to us. We were there for about five hours, but with a short window for "magic hour" and very limited film stock, we had to be very selective about when to shoot. The sun set a little too quickly for my liking, but we managed to get what we needed.
alexandra stewart, kristina carucci, lullabye, video chats
Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.
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