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Alphabeat 'What is happening' Director Toben Seymour

loz, October 23, 2008 at 12:56:51 PM CEST

i like that. it may be a little bit feist-lite/mystery jets/Orange or Halifax commercial, but it really pulls it off, and there's some lovely shots in there - not least the straight non-overhead stuff. kudos to DOP. i mean, it's pop, but it's decent pop. nicely.

captainhairy, October 23, 2008 at 12:59:25 PM CEST

qt please?

kristel1, October 23, 2008 at 3:29:10 PM CEST

DOP- Adam Frisch

barber, October 23, 2008 at 3:31:45 PM CEST

love it, like most of T.S. films.

luk, October 23, 2008 at 4:43:40 PM CEST

can't get the stream running.

msm, October 23, 2008 at 4:58:20 PM CEST

another stream

luk, October 23, 2008 at 5:08:30 PM CEST

thanks for the quicktime link!

captainbob, October 23, 2008 at 5:54:21 PM CEST

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this yet

in other creative fields, like music, if you rip people off this bad you can get sued

budget, October 23, 2008 at 7:05:10 PM CEST

Really nice! A pleasure to watch!

captainmarc22, October 23, 2008 at 7:34:41 PM CEST

wow, great work. Yeah, nothing completely mindblowingly original but I tend to think of overhead videos as a genre now, not a single concept. Great energy, great editing.

lusk81, October 23, 2008 at 8:08:27 PM CEST

Fantastic work.

alexdecampi, October 23, 2008 at 8:47:04 PM CEST

So cute! Loved it.

otc, October 23, 2008 at 10:26:42 PM CEST

@captainbob - musicians rip each other off all the time. Just look at Led Zeppelin. I thought this was quite nice, there's something to be said for execution.

budget, October 23, 2008 at 10:53:32 PM CEST

Yep, the stakes are too low and budgets are too tiny for us to stir up anything other than good will for such a well-executed video. In the current climate, directors have to choose between making something innovative and shoddy, or well-crafted and understated. Give me the 2nd option every time please...

winchandpulley, October 24, 2008 at 12:45:58 AM CEST

Sweeeeet ass video, Tobes. Incredibly fun and well executed. Curses to the haters. People have been shooting overhead since they invented the camera, it's up to how you use it that counts. And Toben did a bang-up job on this one.

kansas, October 24, 2008 at 2:13:30 AM CEST


tommito, October 24, 2008 at 5:49:08 AM CEST


captainbob, October 24, 2008 at 7:45:17 AM CEST

i really don't mean to be the nasty old man in the corner. and I dont want to be the negative one.

to captain marc - yes i am all for the genre of overhead videos and I am by no means saying that nobody should be allowed to make one again. There are countless things you could shoot with an overhead camera, and countless stories you could tell.

but if you are going to not tell a story and build your video off of a visual gimmick, such as people forming shapes or words when viewed from overhead, i no longer consider that a step forward in the genre.

but to be positive, yes it was well executed for sure. but i still think in answer to BUDGET, i think i'd rather see something small and innovative, than a well executed version of something that i've seen a couple times already.

kansas, October 24, 2008 at 8:39:46 AM CEST

Hear, Hear! Captainbob.

budget, October 24, 2008 at 8:59:03 AM CEST

Today's directors already have to deal with budgets so small that they can barely afford a full lighting kit. Expecting them to come up with something you've never seen before every time out just seems sort of... unrealistic?

From a label perspective, if you have to choose between a director that thinks they're the new Gondry and wastes your money on an overly-ambitious idea that comes out looking like crap, or a video that plays within its limits and delivers, you should always go with the latter. How many reshoots have happened this year because of directors and production companies who have been blind to the realities of the industry?

The era of "top this" videos is over. Gondry and Jonze were working with 300k-750k budgets. I wold guess Tobin was working with around 20-30k tops.

captainhairy, October 24, 2008 at 8:59:12 AM CEST

mmm. yeah. very well executed, and fun, like most of TS's work. but when an idea is so common that its even been in a few different commercials, then its time to move on in my opinion. Didn't Adam (DOP) actually shoot one of those talktalk spots? Of course, we all know its harder and harder to be creative with shrinking budgets...

captainhairy, October 24, 2008 at 9:02:31 AM CEST

love the grade... who? where?

loz, October 24, 2008 at 2:24:53 PM CEST

2pence worth: i get what capt bob et al are saying, and yeah it's not that original, and yeah my first reaction was very much 'not this again'. but also think along wi budget restaraints we should bear in mind AUDIENCE... it's a pop tune innit, they're a pop band (albeit with an arty leaning), and really in that context it's pretty damn good. say again: kudos.

kevathens, October 24, 2008 at 2:30:19 PM CEST

TalkTalk "Shapes" dir David Frankham

Toben may have gotten Gondry's "blessing." You never know.

my name is legion, October 24, 2008 at 2:36:27 PM CEST

now its mv's turn to take after commercials? how unoriginal. bird's eye view/ over-the-head shots and a bunch of shit-shaped shits.

kevathens, October 24, 2008 at 2:45:47 PM CEST

legion: Um, the idea came from Gondry first?

my name is legion, October 24, 2008 at 3:30:11 PM CEST

um um, till i find the one i'm talking about, this one's on me:

captainbob, October 24, 2008 at 3:57:24 PM CEST

i didn't even know that commercial existed, and that makes me like this music video even less.

and you are right, music video budgets are sad and the days of big amazing days are over, unless you want to work forever on a video and probably not make any money on it because you are a true artist. (like encyclopedia pictura)

but since when did you need money to be creative? "mo' money mo' problems". Have you ever made a short film for no budget? did you ever make a few music videos for no budget? Sometimes low budgets might inspire more creativity because the label won't be as controlling and worried if they only give you a little bit of money.

I understand what Budget is saying, that the label thinks its safer to go with a video that they know exactly what it will look like than to try and take a gamble on a new crazy idea. But we shouldn't be thinking like that here. We should be the people that are pissed off about that. We are the people who are writing treatments that we still care about, and losing them to unorginal directors who would rather just imitate another hit video, but do it very well and with great grades and cinematography, and usually great compositing too which really gets people excited around here. alls I'm saying is you can't afford a lot on a small budget, but you can always afford to be creative.

kevathens, October 24, 2008 at 3:58:36 PM CEST

legion: The other obvious ref (who Gondry also loves, I'm pretty sure) is Busby Berkeley

my name is legion, October 24, 2008 at 4:27:09 PM CEST

try as i might, i couldn't find the ad i was talking about. it's based on the same concept as carlton's big ad, and it's posible it were an ad for beer as well (???). i'll keep searching. in any case, as far as i am concerned, i still think this video's a mere copycat based on an already tested, already seen sure-fire recipe.

in other words, it's shit.

hassinator, October 24, 2008 at 5:06:39 PM CEST

blimey yet again more madness in terms of comment on antville - i think this is an excellent pop video that's not just totally right for the band but, for me, a marked improvement on their earlier efforts.

for overhead shots if we're going to really nit pick stem from the musicals of busby berkley and many water based extravaganza's starring the lusciously gorgeous esther williams - does gondry owe them an apology too?

great stuff toben - five dancing men.

tobonix, October 24, 2008 at 5:39:40 PM CEST

color grading by paul harrison at the mill in the uk. its not an original idea. why can painters or other artists appropriate techniques but not video directors? i love busby berkeley. im with you guys. its annoying when people carbon copy other artists. i am inspired by a lot of artists, scientists, inventors, toys, etc... i always try to combine ideas or at least take an idea somewhere new. i love researching qnd learning from the great creatives from the past. i think that is how art progresses and people find new ideas.

i dont think calling something unoriginal is an original critique.

originality, maybe its not in this video but maybe youll see it in my other videos. i couldnt help thinking of these images when i listened to the track and thinking of the band. i wanted to make a fun video using people and actions to add meaning to words in this video. alphabeat is a fun band to work with. contagious energy.

nu_shuz, October 24, 2008 at 6:33:33 PM CEST

well said toben. and great video.

clairesquare, October 24, 2008 at 8:53:14 PM CEST

I thought it was really charming. I agree the choreographed overhead shot concept has been around since Busby but that doesn't mean it isn't still fun. It was well executed and had a lot of variety within a single concept (umbrellas, baloons, lights). The pattern on the floor was a nice addition.

stoney, October 25, 2008 at 6:02:03 AM CEST

I love overhead videos.

The shots with the spinning rings of people were memorizing.

Also loved when it said YOU and everyone jumped up and down.

just plain fun.

najork, October 25, 2008 at 7:54:09 AM CEST

The most damming possible scenario here is that Feist's '1234' (which is far closer to this vibe than anything Gondry) was looked at as a reference in pre-production, which is not really damming at all. I makes sense to contemplate predecessors that have 'worked.'
But personally, I find the idea of actually participating in such formation choreography so deeply boring that the results need to be much more precise or conceptual to even be watchable at all.

Previous Alphabeat videos by Daniel and Ben are worth a look.

budget, October 25, 2008 at 8:15:36 PM CEST

People have no idea how many indie bands/labels use "1,2,3,4" as a reference when they're talking to directors. "Can we make it like that cute Fiest video?"

dreamerdreamer, October 25, 2008 at 10:10:16 PM CEST

art builds on art, artists build on artists. great artists understand this-- that greatness is not just about being a visionary.

anyone familiar with toben seymour's work knows that he is both visionary and inspired by the directors before him.

this is fantastic work, as always.

mva, October 25, 2008 at 10:23:27 PM CEST

this is fucking great.

kansas, October 26, 2008 at 2:32:15 AM CET

I don't see why this video deserves so many comments. Its average. Sadly music videos and antville are both becoming generally quite boring.

Just think where the world would be if people didn't take risks.

wurstbude, October 27, 2008 at 2:39:15 AM CET

like to love the video

chatters, October 27, 2008 at 2:53:02 PM CET

blah blah blah....

this is a brilliant video, really well executed and thought out, every part matches the music really well. plus its fun and the best thing the band have done.

ignore all the talk on here toben, think this is one of your best.

framescourer, February 15, 2009 at 9:35:56 PM CET

Jolly and I bet Talk Talk are happy too.

Jay7878, October 2, 2009 at 5:19:03 PM CEST

The web is overflowing with the freelance writers that should share the best notes close to it.

poster0, October 24, 2009 at 1:29:29 PM CEST

in web you can find hypnosis feminization blogs with pictures like it

parmezan, October 24, 2009 at 3:38:42 PM CEST

captainbob told it like it is.

I'm sorry but I don't care how well executed it is or how well it matches the song when I see the director failing to do his job to write or create something of his own. Isn't that the point of making music videos? It certainly isn't to make money... though I'm sure this would appeal to the friendly folk in the ad agency sphere.

As I watched this I thought to myself that the band management and label could have written and directed this...

t-boner, October 24, 2009 at 7:38:53 PM CEST

you should see the latest video Toben Seymour has done for Alphabeat....

this was quite a lot of money too.

titel, April 18, 2011 at 8:34:55 AM CEST

wow, great work. Yeah, nothing completely mindblowingly original but I tend to think of overhead videos as a genre now, not a single concept. Great energy, great editing.


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