The Many-Worlds of Minogue: Web Video Lessons from Kylie Minogue
Listed as “arguably the most re-watchable video of the (2000s)” by Pitchfork, Kylie Minogue’s “Come Into My World” is certainly replay-worthy – but not for the reasons you might think.
The fourth single from 2001’s “Fever”, “Come Into My World” would ultimately win Minogue a Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2004. Perhaps more importantly, it holds the distinction of being the first (and only) clip from “Fever” wherein Kylie’s backside takes a backseat to the concept.
Overseeing this aesthetic evolution is French director Michel Gondry – ironically the man behind Daft Punk’s “Around The World” (a video whose influence is clearly visible in the rest of the videos from “Fever”). Forgoing the dystopian disco sensibilities of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, Gondry’s video for “Come Into My World” explores a question that haunted mankind in the summer of 2002: is there such a thing as too much Kylie Minogue?
Using a series of layered single-take shots filmed with a motion control camera, Gondry gives the appearance of multiple Kylie Minogues strolling through a busy street corner in Paris – effectively creating electro-pop version of “Multiplicity” (minus Michael Keaton’s renowned neck beard, of course).
Each time Minogue completes a circuit around the block, another version of her emerges from a storefront – gradually increasing the visual complexity of the clip. By the time the video is over, there are five Kylie Minogues pirouetting through the Paris streets, weaving in and out of an increasingly chaotic scene.
Presuming we’re all in agreement that it’s “the more, the merrier” when it comes to cloning Kylie Minogue, what other web video lessons can we take from “Come Into My World”?
1) Choreography is king
For each take Minogue hits between 8-10 marks (dropping her package, spinning around the traffic post, etc.), causing her to move in and out of various field depths. You don’t notice it on the first pass, but as additional Kylies enter the frame the complexity quickly becomes apparent. Whenever you’re dealing with multiple layers, it’s always best to block out your shots and run through your marks in detail – proper preparation is far easier than editing around miscues, and always provides a superior end result.
2) Mind over matte
Casual viewers might not catch it, but Gondry uses the traffic light (first instance at 1:50) as a moving matte to join the shots. Filling the full frame for a fraction of a second, the traffic light allows Gondry to adjust his timing and gloss over any instances where multiple Kylies are visually sharing the same space (with the assistance of some compositing magic, of course). The matte also allows him to line up some of the trickiest shots in the video (i.e. when multiple Minogues need to interact as they twirl around the street post).
3) Kick up the concept
The beauty of layered video is that you can infuse a relatively simple concept (i.e. a woman walks down the street, an average guy explains a product’s features) with a greater degree of visual interest. Provided your lighting and framing are consistent (and your talent can take direction), good compositing software (i.e. Adobe After Effects) allows you to assemble your shots in a similar manner and deliver a compelling, visually-inventive video.
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