Cinematographer Nicolas Loir discusses his work on KCPK’s music video "Who Wants It"

By François Reumont for the AFC

[English] [français]

Nicolas Loir has become a regular in Camerimage’s Video Clips competition. He won a double prize in 2013, and this year he’s back in competition with KCPK "Who Wants It". (FR)

How was this project born?

Nicolas Loir: This is the first time I’ve ever worked with director Nicolas Davenel. We were put into contact with one another by Elias Belkeddar, who is a producer at Iconoclast. The storyline was something the director had inside of him and wanted to express. This is a film of movement, a film in which we follow the transmission of an object through the hierarchy of the mafia. It’s always moving forward, in perpetual movement.
We prepared by sharing many visual references with one another, such as the work of Nan Goldin, Stacy Kranitz, and Brian Finke. We were also inspired by the energy of the clips by Daniel Wolfe or James Gray’s ,i, by James Gray and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises.

Can you describe your approach to creating each of the different ambiences in the clip?

NL: We tried to create a unique visual signature for each world. Starting from the bottom, we began with children in a very jerky atmosphere with a jittery and mobile camera to convey the energy and rage of our young character. Everything was shot from the shoulder. The colours are pretty gloomy.
Then we went on to film the teenagers, whose world is also jittery, but the shoulder camera was slightly tamer thanks to the use of an Easyrig. The colours here are stronger and more saturated.
Then comes the world of adults set in a comfortable home. Here, we began filming with a Steadicam and only moving shots. A succession of forward or circular traveling shots conveys the tension that the adolescent feels upon arriving in this stifling universe.
The clip ends at the top of the ladder in a luxurious world that was also filmed with a Steadicam and shot with a slight slow motion. The room is extremely bright to accentuate its luxurious feel and to provide balance against the dark beginning of the clip.

What were your technical choices?

NL: We felt it necessary to use an anamorphic lens for its narrative and cinematographic qualities. We filmed using two series that produce completely different results.
Both of the first worlds (childhood and adolescence) were filmed using a LOMO series anamorphic lens because of its imperfections, aberrations, and blurred edges. We used a Hawk V-LITE series on the last two worlds because of its clinical feeling and its coldness.
We couldn’t get our hands on the anamorphic Zeiss series, which was our first choice for their extreme sharpness. That being said, the sharpness and the graininess of the images, which change as the film progresses, were all worked on during colour timing by Mathieu Caplane of Nightshift.

(Interview conducted by François Reumont for the AFC, and translated from French by Alexander Baron-Raiffe)