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Berlin students collaborate on 7ONA LEE’s music video ‘All I Can’

By Elise Czyzowska

06 September 2023

In his music video for the single ‘All I Can‘, artist 7ONA LEE reckons with the constant demands of a growing career, with lyrics reiterating how he’s ‘doing all [he] can’ with ‘nothing new left to do’.

The music video, which premiered this July, was shot by a large group of BA and MA students from our Berlin campus (full credits), including Vincent Janssen (BA Practical Filmmaking), who directed the video, and Rahul Varghese (MA Cinematography), who worked as the Director of Photography.

Coming together across cohorts and course levels, we’re always happy to see our students collaborating on projects outside of School. In today’s blog, we spoke to Vincent and Rahul to find out how this opportunity came about, and what it means to film a music video…

Vincent Janssen – Director, Writer

How did the project first come about? Did you have to pitch for it?

The project came about in an exciting way. While searching for a new room in Berlin, a family member linked me with a friend of an acquaintance, whose son also happened to live in Berlin – that son turned out to be Leon (7ONA LEE).

Although the quest for a room was unsuccessful, our conversation swiftly shifted towards the idea of collaborating on a music video for his upcoming song!

What did you take into consideration when planning the video? How were your decisions shaped by your target audience or music influences?

Navigating this challenge proved to be quite fun. In my role as writer-director, I usually define the style quite decisively. However, in this instance, finding a style that matched the artist’s image was important.

I had countless conversations with Leon (an amazing person to work with), delving into his music and the image he aims to create. We looked at music videos and styles he loved, and from this, pinpointed that this style was more comedic/ironically ‘cringe’.

Our next step was to merge that style with my more cinematic vision, resulting in what I believe to be a captivating hybrid.

Behind the scenes of 7ONA LEE’s music video…

With no ‘dialogue’ in the video, the piece is almost like a silent film. How did this challenge you as a director?

These days, dialogue often plays a central role in conveying information, even though we constantly strive to minimise using it that way. So, removing the dialogue entirely posed its own challenges. However, these challenges led to be some interesting perspectives.

For instance, we found that subtle overacting, which is usually considered a concern, became almost necessary to communicate what was happening in the story effectively.

Did the final video stay close to the treatment you originally designed?

Relatively close – of course, some interesting moments arose, and led to a few changes. A notable example is the dolly shot, where Leon is shown around the office.

Initially, it was meant to be a regular tracking shot, but we decided to get creative, and placed both characters on the dolly, creating a floating effect.

We also filmed a full introduction scene for the video, but during the editing process, both Srdan Jankovic (Editor) and I agreed to remove it entirely.

A look at another project Vincent Janssen & Rahul Varghese worked on together

Rahul Varghese – Cinematographer

As Director of Photography, how did you find the visual style for the video?

It was a combination of everything. I was listening to the song, formulating ideas, and Vincent and I had a discussion on how to treat the film. After that, we had talked to the artist, and one of the influences that stayed with me was the tv series Euphoria. All of this helped to find and build our visual style.

Throughout the video, there is a constant warm, yellow light – what was the meaning behind your colour palette?

The use of warm, yellow light was a conscious decision. Our colour palette was yellow, complimented with blue. The specific yellow was chosen to give the video the energy it required visually, and to help give the feel of analogue photography.

We had exaggerated the warm light and camera movements in the first part of the video, to depict how he gets ‘pulled into’ the record label. It helped to give an angelic feel, and to show how he has little to no control over his actions – thins are just happening around him.

The second part of the video has more shaped or concentrated light – this is him, gaining control over the situation.

A look at another project Vincent Janssen & Rahul Varghese worked on together

The project is a great example of collaboration amongst students – what advice would you give towards finding a community of creatives?

The willingness to show up for any opportunity you get is the best way to build contacts. It’s not always the skill or the talent you have which helps you to find a community, it’s the energy or the passion. No matter the role, any shoot you are a part of helps to teach you something new.

And remember – every student at film school has the same (or a similar!) objective: to learn, create content for their portfolio, and make new contacts. So never shy away from reaching out to people, or sharing your work.