Reprising a collaborative partnership which has seen them push to ever increasing physical extremes, Director James Chappell and Australian singer, songwriter and producer Nick Broadhurst, descend into the ultra-violence of a shadowy underground fight club for Bones and discover the subversive power of complete surrender. James takes DN behind the scenes of his blood and sweat soaked promo and teases some potential scenarios for future BROADHURST music videos.
Development of the Concept
After having shot two previous videos for BROADHURST, Nick came to me with an idea for his third single Bones which revolved around boxing. However, I think the boxing idea has been overdone and didn’t interest me as much visually like an underground fight club would. That’s when we decided to go in a more Eastern-European underground dive bar direction for the location and give the look and feel more of a gritty texture with more unique characteristics than just a simple boxing ring set up. Nick wanted the video to deliver a story that carries a message about the power of surrender and how in such a threatening environment, learning to let go and surrender can be a powerful tool. Nick closes his eyes at the video’s climax and allows the power of surrender to protect him from harm. Nick is very spiritual and wanted to have this key message delivered at the end. I think it’s a nice twist on the usual fight scenario as I’m not a fighter and the idea of pacification is always interesting – like a modern day Jesus or spiritual superhero!
If an idea seems ridiculous and crazy written on paper, then we will try to achieve it together.
The last two BROADHURST music videos – Little Lover and Take Me Down were about LOVE and FEAR and this third clip is about SURRENDER and the power within that idea. Nick also likes to push his physical limitations with each video as he learnt how to dance for the first video, we did BASE jumping for the second video and now bare-knuckle fist fighting for Bones. Not sure what we will do next, maybe go into space or freedive to the ocean floor? I’m excited and terrified by the possibilities. I admire his relentless enthusiasm, passion and commitment to his music and creative endeavours and together we like to push the boundaries of what’s possible. If an idea seems ridiculous and crazy written on paper, then we will try to achieve it together.
Realising the Vision
My intention with the composition and style was to remain classical and simple to allow the fight choreography to register beautifully on camera and also by holding on those big grand gestures in high-speed slow motion in the edit and moving far away from MTV-style fast cuts and tricks normally associated with fight scenes today. We filmed on the Phantom Flex 4K High speed camera with some beautiful Panvasion P-Vintage lenses (used on True Detective) which delivers high tech sharpness and clarity shooting at 800 FPS in a dark, underground club, but is beautifully softened by these older Vintage cinema lenses which also blooms the highlights creating a dream-like halo around the characters. This combination creates a dreamy, poetic and surreal atmosphere which contrasts against the typical hard hitting nature of a fight scene and skews into a more painterly and graceful direction rather than rough, shakey-cam and muddied visuals.
Due to the limitations of the budget, we only shot for one day and due to an early morning visit from the Fire Brigade due to an unisolated fire alarm we ended up only really shooting for 8 hours. I’m just relieved that we were able to pull it off in such a short amount of time. The intense and thorough preparation of the fight choreography allowed things to run smoothly on the day. Preparation is everything and my DOP Kieran was integral to this process as we did a lot of location scouts with the gaffer to discuss the lighting and logistics beforehand as we had a very specific colour palette and style we wanted to achieve.
I’m shooting a short film in January called Proceeds of Crime – a dark comedic crime film and also developing a feature film called Tar Baby – a psychological creature – horror film. Hopefully there will be more music videos to come, I directed my first big US music video in April this year for Transviolet – it will be out soon hopefully!