Music videos shot in a single take are a visual treat in and of themselves. But when all of the action takes place at the bottom of a pool, the stakes are raised to another level entirely.
The recent music video for Highly Suspect's latest single Lydia falls into the category of, "I can't believe this exists." It's shot in realtime, and the entirety of its four-minute run time features an actress tied down at the bottom of a pool, trying her damnedest to break free. Check it out:
Here's an excerpt from the description on Pier Pictures' Vimeo page, which details the artistic intent behind this piece:
However unsettling, this experiential project was carefully created with the intention of rolling a single-take in a single-location, with one character facing a dire, life-or-death situation. If you can make it to the end, the unbroken nature of the sequence enables the action on screen to come alive. Focusing on real sensations and emotions associated with love and its loss, in any form, our exploration was seeking to create just that, real feelings. We'll leave it to you to decide how this moves you, we only ask that you take note that it has... you're probably not alone. This is the power of cinema.
Though an excellent BTS video exists, it hasn't been released by the band's label yet. However, I was able to get the inside scoop on this production from Robert McHugh and T.S. Pfeffer (collectively referred to as TS&R) of Pier Pictures, who were kind enough to share some information about the technical challenges associated with bringing this piece to life.
The first question you're probably asking yourself is, "How on earth can anyone hold their breath that long?!" Well, the actress in this video is actually world champion freediver Marina Kazankova. Here's TS&R to explain why she was the perfect choice for this production:
Marina Kazankova, former freediving champion and world record holder, is best known underwater for her ‘dynamic breath hold’, or the ability to athletically move and exert energy while holding her breath. On land, Marina is also an actress and global traveler, speaking several languages (quadrilingual), and once we heard Marina could swim the length of almost four Olympic-sized swimming pools... on a single breath, we knew we had found our character.
TS&R also detail the tremendous amount of time that it took to plan and choreograph this shoot:
Communicating underwater poses a number of challenges. So for weeks leading up to the shoot, we plotted and rehearsed precision choreography on dry land with Marina and our underwater operator, Pascal Combes-Knoke. This was all timed with the music. When we were finally able to get into the pool, before each take, Marina would be brought down to the bottom breathing on a scuba tank while she was tied into the harnesses. Once ready, everyone down below would give the “OK”, and then we’d remove the air and roll camera. The final video was take 6 of 8.
Lastly, TS&R talk about some of the technical challenges and solutions that he and his team used.
When it came to working below the surface, we used an underwater speaker system from Hydroflex to play the song underwater and communicate with the underwater cast and crew during set up and while rolling takes. We had a live video feed from our Gates Deep Dragon housing to a set of monitors supplied by Ikan so we could watch the takes unfold, and shot on the Epic DRAGON in 6K.
That's all we've got for now. When the BTS video is released in the coming weeks, we'll definitely share that as well, alongside a bit more information about this shoot from the Pier Pictures team.