Monday, February 27, 2012

Sayles on Creating Music Videos for Bruce Springsteen

The "Golden Age of Music Video" website has a detailed interview with John Sayles (who visits today) about creating classic music videos for Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s.

In the case of the “Born in the U.S.A.” video, the only real mandate we had was “This should be gritty,” and we do gritty. So we shot it in 16 millimeter, it was mostly documentary footage. Ernest Dickerson, who was Spike Lee’s cinematographer, actually had shot [Sayles’ film] Brother from Another Planet. We shot most of it in Jersey — we were living in Hoboken at the time — and we shot some of the Vietnamese neighborhood in L.A. For the concert footage, we shot four nights at whatever that venue is down by USC. They obviously wanted to use the record track for the video, but Bruce didn’t want to have to lip-synch to it for a performance in front of an audience. We just figured if he wears the same clothes night after night for at least that song and we shoot in from many different angles, maybe we’ll be able to rough synch it, and, you know, match the drummer, try to keep the same beat as the record. Bruce was not a guy who was having a rhythm machine drumming for him – every night it was something different, and that’s great! Every night, you get into the groove, and the song has a slightly different character than the night before. But the great thing was that we got to go to four Bruce Springsteen concerts! (laugh).... More.