Break the Internet is the second Rodney Chrome video we’ve covered at DN. The first was To The Money, a vivacious riff on the frivolities of consumerism that captured Chrome’s dynamism to great effect. Break The Internet similarly captures Chrome’s essence, this time in a subversive take on masculine spaces. The video, directed by Olivia De Camps, pops with the visual dynamism that is typical with Chrome’s aesthetic but there’s an added thematic layer in the locations in which it’s based. These environments, gyms, and fight clubs, are traditionally hyper-masculinised spaces but Chrome’s campy, lust-filled approach twists that on its head. DN is delighted to share the video below alongside a deep dive interview with De Camps on her collaborative process with Chrome, the equipment she employed to match his energy, and the importance of presenting this video through a female lens.
What did the beginning of your collaboration with Rodney Chrome on this video look like?
Rodney approached me with an idea to create a performance video that would capture the same energy as Doja Cat’s mesmerizing rendition of Say So. Initially, Rodney’s idea was to film in an actual boxing ring, but together we crafted a more evocative concept that would exude a grittier, more authentic and sensual ambience. We wanted to explore the parameters of gender norms in this visual commentary on masculinity and the spaces it manifests in, viewed through a female lens. To achieve this vision, we made sure everyone in the key crew were women who brought a unique perspective to the video.
You mentioned that location was key to your concept, in relation to how gender norms are manifested in certain spaces, how did you approach location scouting?
In our search for the perfect location, we sought a space that would allow Rodney to move freely while affording us different set-ups: a gym, a shower scene, a fight club, and a mirror vortex, offering Rodney an opportunity to express himself fully in each of these spaces. We found a warehouse in Brooklyn that would provide us with the space we needed to bring our vision to life. Our amazing Production Designer Katie Balun and Stylist CJ Gainer helped us create masculine set-ups and an environment that felt distinctly masculine yet sensually charged.
We wanted to explore the parameters of gender norms in this visual commentary on masculinity and the spaces it manifests in, viewed through a female lens.
There’s a real visual kineticism to the video in both how the camera moves in these spaces and also how these spaces look through the characters and costumes that populate them, how did you achieve those parts of the video?
The incredible Cinematographer Violet Smith made sure Rodney had the freedom to move around and explore the space utilizing an Alexa and Ultra primes to capture his dynamic performance. Rodney pulled numerous garments from the amazing Designer Jamall Osterholm to complete his look. We also made sure to incorporate Rodney’s unique and slightly campy style into his performance. With the help of our extraordinary Producers Roya Alidjani, Tiana Cantu, and Ethan Romaine, we sourced a group of extras who breathed life into our video.
How involved was Rodney throughout the creative process?
Rodney and I collaborated extensively throughout the entire process. We were always on the same page, bouncing crazy ideas off each other, and maintaining a similar vision from the start.
And when it came to post-production, was it challenging at all to achieve that fast, high-octane, visually lavish feel?
The post-production process was quick, with a two-week turnaround. We worked with Hrishi Bardhan, the editor, to maintain a high-energy pace throughout the video. The colors were manipulated to emphasize contrast, adding to the overall gritty aesthetic we were aiming for.
Our amazing Production Designer Katie Balun and Stylist CJ Gainer helped us create masculine set-ups, helping us create an environment that felt distinctly masculine yet sensually charged.
You mentioned there about the video’s gritty aesthetic, I’m curious to know what you did to achieve that on a technical level. Is it down to the lenses you opting for or was it created through post-production, or both?
Originally, I spoke to my cinematographer about wanting to shoot on film but due to budget constraints, we had to forfeit that idea. We were adamant about using ultra prime lenses to capture the look and feel we were going for. To add more texture and depth to our imagery, we paid close attention to what we filled out the screen with: the lighting, the costume, and the production design. In post, we applied 35mm film emulation to achieve that vintage, grainy look that just added that last layer of grit we needed. We played around with the contrast to bump up the grungy atmosphere and always kept the image in a cool, fluorescent tone.
As a filmmaker in the early stages of their career, what do you find the experience of making music videos offers your craft?
The beauty of music videos is that they offer a unique, free space for creative exploration. I have the freedom to experiment both creatively and technically, which you can’t afford to do as much in a narrative space. Collaborating with artists is an incredible experience. There’s just something special about coming together with a group of people who are so passionate about the blend of music and visual art to create something that resonates with audiences on a deeper level. Music videos often require working within limited resources and tight budgets, forcing your creativity as far as it can go and finding new ways to produce high-quality content. It constantly teaches me to be resourceful and find solutions. There’s nothing like it.
Music videos often require working within limited resources and tight budgets, forcing your creativity as far as it can go.
What can you tell us about any upcoming projects you have in the pipeline?
I feel fortunate to be directing a diverse range of projects right now, many of which are music videos, fashion films, and documentaries. I’m in post-production for my narrative short, Sirena, which we shot last year. Currently, I’m developing my first feature film set in my home country, the Dominican Republic.