Superproducer Ted Hope on...

February 11, 2013

Watch Woodkid's Trio of Stylized Music Videos, Which Have Racked Up Over 24 Million Views

"I create these stories with missing pieces. Missing pieces are very interesting because then people wanna fill them. People are afraid of emptiness and they wanna fill those gaps.... That's exactly what I want to do with my art. I want people to think about what they see and wonder if what they see is real. If what they see has a meaning."

If you've yet to fall under the spell of French director and musician Woodkid's (aka Yoann Lemoine) approach to music videos, then I suggest you get comfortable and feast your eyes on this trio of promos for Iron, Run Boy Run, and I Love You:

There's a formality to Woodkid's black and white compositions that, when paired with his expansive score-like music, gives the whole the feel of a classical artwork set to motion. That atmosphere travels across the films, knitting the three videos into a larger whole -- which, in fact, according to Georgia Reeve's recent interview with Woodkid for Highsnobiety TV, was the plan all along.

More often than not, music video directors are required to navigate the no man's land that sits between their creative desires and the expectations of the artist. As Woodkid fills both roles and also self-funds his epic videos, the resulting films are free to remain uncompromised with nothing lost in translation. Given that the three videos have clocked up over 24 million online views, it seems to be a strategy that works.

What do you think of Woodkid's black and white aesthetic? Are there other musicians you've seen successfully sit in the director's chair?

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31 Comments

Found his work a couple months ago and have frankly FELL IN LOVE!

It's just so unique, creative, beautiful... The most interesting thing to me is how you can't quite put your finger on WHY his work is so unique. I've seen people do B&W before, I've seen similar compositions, etc... but nothing quite stands out like his work.

-- Ron Parida -- Automotive Commercial Director
wwww.ronparida.com

February 11, 2013

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Wonderful pieces of art and music in motion!

February 11, 2013

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dixter

A German VFX studio called "The Marmalade" created something similar for their TV ident, https://vimeo.com/43455552

it's been criticised for "copying" Woodkid's visual style and music.

February 11, 2013

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Marvin

His style is nothing new. Religious motives and slow motion, a wartorn land.

This is the style of German artist Joachim Witt, he has been doing such things for years and he is 63 years old. So who stole from whom?

Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV_vlVDtpE0

February 11, 2013

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Ferederik O.

Thanks for sharing, but a note to anyone who's about to click the above video, it contains gore and sexual content.

February 11, 2013

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Marvin

Similar work really? Honestly I don't see them as similar AT ALL.

February 12, 2013

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Jay

Really? You don't see any similarities at all? If you just add a high-con b/w filter to this, it's pretty darn similar. I really like the woodkid stuff, but I don't see the point in denying work any influences. It's not like this guy invented film. Every artist has influences, and I'd be stunned to learn he'd never seen this other guys stuff. I'd program them back-to-back without qualms.

If we're on an influence hunt, btw, I also see a lot of Kurosawa in the Woodkid vids. Maybe it's just because it's another guy working in b/w with a good eye for stark composition... as Shane Carruth said, composition is cheap.
-Olaf

February 15, 2013

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Well made technically, but no soul at all. Like a demo for some after effects plugin. Reminds me of the opening of "the fall".

February 11, 2013

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JDHink

Exactly what I was thinking.

February 11, 2013

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maghoxfr

Totally disagree. These are fantastic clips, better than 99.99% of film clips out there. The Run Boy Run clip is a masterpiece. But if you guys can do better I would love to see your stuff. Where can I check it out?

February 12, 2013

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Johnny

Agree with Johnny. JDHink and maghoxfr, I want to see your work. And anybody else that wants to denigrate these videos, for that matter. I think it's time Koo and Co. make it mandatory that anyone making disparaging remarks about work showcased on NFS make their work public so the rest of us can see it and offer up our critiques.

February 12, 2013

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dixter

Yes, mandatory portfolio check on anyone who doesn't like what I like.

What about the people who carry on senselessly praising what they view without an ounce of substance applied to any of their comments? It seems only fair to check their resumes as well.

Regardless of how bitter and jealous some commenters clearly are, I don't find them any less constructive than the other extreme where you have those who throw around words like 'masterpiece' whenever it suits their mood and don't feel any need to elaborate.

February 12, 2013

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@jime. Ridiculous! While I can agree that 'masterpiece' and similar superlatives may be overused at times, it is far more of an affront to condemn or chastise a work while concealing your credentials or not substantiating your right to do so. I don't think praising something requires justification. If you want to be a critic then show us what gives you the right to be one.

February 12, 2013

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dixter

I would agree with you in practice, but your points about 'critics' are irrelevant in the context of an internet comment page. If in your view every negative commenter here is taking on the role of critic, how does this not also apply to people making positive comments? Do you not see the inconsistencies in your argument? If the person who you believe is just an anonymous idiot writing hate comments on one video goes to a new page and writes a rave review, is his validity no longer in question? Why would you accept his positive comments as valid and discount his negative comments?

People will say what they like on the internet, and anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection has 'the right' to be a critic in an open discussion such as this.

February 12, 2013

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https://vimeo.com/47403608

Everyone steals.

February 11, 2013

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Peter

Steal is perhaps a poor choice of word. Its near impossible to come up with an entirely original idea these days, its about making that idea yours through your execution that really matters.

February 11, 2013

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James

Everything is a remix?...

February 12, 2013

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The 1986 film TRUE STORIES was directed by David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) and prominently features his music. This is one of my favorite films of all time! Quirky and artistic, it's one fun ride! It totally lives up to the statement on the movie's front cover and posters "A COMPLETELY COOL, MULTI-PURPOSE MOVIE"

February 11, 2013

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What catches my eye is when a team can make the product look like a classical painting, for example Stanley Kubrick, Darren Aronofsky, or Tarsem Singh. Without that look I can only enjoy a film so much, and I'm glad that there are still people like Woodkid who embrace this style.

February 11, 2013

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Smithers

I love Woodkid's videos. I think people a fan of this type of storytelling (Full of holes that are up to the viewer to fill in with their own interpretation) should check out iamamiwhoami who uses a similar storytelling technique for their music videos. youtube.com/iamamiwhoami

February 11, 2013

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David J. Fulde

Thanks for sharing, iamamiwhoami had totally passed me by, loving their videos.

February 12, 2013

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There are some clips from the live show which are really interesting. The idea of having a camera to show the audience what's happening on a screen is nothing new. But she plays with the camera, makes it a part of her performance in interesting ways.

February 12, 2013

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David J. Fulde

Got to say I love his stuff. He's a very talented guy.

February 12, 2013

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I think someone commented , saying it had no soul. i think it has ton of emotion. to me run boy run, is about running from conformity, or what the people around him (his society) want for him., or what they think is wrong about , but isn't .running from the people that's holding him down, u see demand like creatures pop up from the ground, which could be view as his own demends, but there not demends they just appear that way, there helping run to a better place. anyway thats my take on it. and its something i can relate to.. heres another viideo with kinda the same kind of animation.
http://weweremonkeys.com/vid_littletalks.php

February 12, 2013

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j

This guy creates marvelous videos, but there is a lot of money invested in the. The part with the bear is pretty crazy, but is only a move you'll be doing if you have a lot of money on your side.

February 13, 2013

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Very curious, to know what these budgets are.

February 14, 2013

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True piece of art in my opinion. This man has a great talent to reveal the concept of motion, both in the subjects that are filmed as well as in the editing. I love the pale lighting in the first clip.

February 15, 2013

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Joakim Peter

The first thing I thought when I saw the interview was, "He speaks very good English,". I highly respect Woodkid, and I am planning on writing music like his. This whole thing gave me good insight on his writing process. This man is a true genius.

March 19, 2013

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Robby

I got a link to his Iron video on Facebook. His video and music blew me away! Listening to this interview I know understand why I never could figure out the meaning of the videos. They always left me wanting an explanation of why the ending felt incomplete. Now that i know they were deliberately incomplete I am torn between respecting his judgement and demanding a rewrite!!!!

His work is amazing, we need more Woodkids!!!

October 14, 2013

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Alan

Frederik O, your comparison is really off. One director working from beauty and the other is all about shock value and violence and not at all even kind of like the direction in the woodkid videos. The videos have some similar symbols but these symbols are all over art history. No need to push someone under the bus whom is so very worthy of a whole lot of respect. Woodkid and his music as well as direction are top notch and I can see no reason to compare it with the german stuff that you felt we all needed to see. Woodkid will continue making art and blowing minds all over the place!!! You may want to checkout his portfolio. A lot of great direction and music!!! Thank you for featuring him on your site here!

December 21, 2013

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I inadvertently came across Woodkid's "Iron" and fell deeply, madly in love with the evocative imagery then stumbled upon "I Love You" and instantly recognized the Icelandic backdrop. Of course, because I am madly, deeply in love with Iceland after a 10 day tour of the country, I decided then and there that Woodkid deserved an even closer look and was, as a result, captivated by "Run Boy Run". One can argue the merit of influence, or the presence or lack of artsy genesis, but does it matter really? Whi cares if so and so started this or that ... Art is forever evolving, creating itself from itself. Woodkin's work is obviously genius ... genius does not imply exclusion of other genius. In my opinion, beauty, whatever its dark and light forms, emanates itself. Woodkid's vision of art is an exquisite gift to the mind, eye and ear.

December 30, 2013

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Sandi Bradford