The Making of a Music Video: “Ghost” by Tiny Fireflies

By, Michelle Maslanka • Producer

There is something special about the genre of music videos. On their own, music and video are already strong art forms, but accompanying a song with visuals creates a wholly new experience for the audience. And creating a music video like “Ghost” was a unique experience for us.

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Motion Source and Chicago-based electronic dream pop band Tiny Fireflies are no strangers to collaboration. It was back in November 2014 when the two teams first met and began working together on their introductory music video “Taken”, which later premiered in November 2015 on CMJ.

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Without missing a beat, conceptualization for the second video, “Ghost” began almost immediately. With production slated for January 2016, we had about two months to plan and prepare. “The one request that the band had concerning a concept for the new video was that they wanted it to be in black and white, and that was it,” recalls Craig Bass, who served as Director, Director of Photography, and Editor on the project. “They just thought the aesthetic of black and white fit the song, and from there I had pretty free rein.”

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And with that free rein we began collecting visual references that had the right look and feeling. Bass especially drew inspiration from the Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. A focus on his older work, his black and white work, most notably the film “Persona”, sparked key ideas for the music video.

 

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“And then from there, it was just thinking about the song, thinking about the different ideas, in terms of shots, that the song was conjuring in my mind, and coming up with an overriding theme,” Bass explains. “That theme essentially being the idea of an individual...each of us has a variety of facets to our personality and it can be detrimental to the individual when they suppress certain facets of their personality. We all have different outlets and different catharses for these parts of ourselves. So this was kind of the concept of a character that was in full suppressive mode, and didn’t have these outlets, and essentially it overwhelmed her. She sort of exploded and gave birth to these other personas--these other facets of herself--that she had buried within. And the video is the process of those personas being born into the world, influencing her, and then being reintegrated into her to make a complete whole.”

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In the end, the video portrays a more hopeful tone, suggesting acceptance of herself and the ability to connect with the world outside of her, to truly know herself and understand her place in the world.

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Vocalist and keyboardist, Kristine Capua provided more background on what the song means in terms of the band’s career. "The song 'Ghost' kind of led to a turning point for the band. We recorded a demo for it in early 2015, and it landed as a finalist on NPR's Tiny Desk Contest. With that kind of validation, we felt that perhaps this was the 'hit' of the record, if you will. So, when it came to developing a video for it, we knew we wanted to pull out all the stops. In the same way that we felt like this song redefined us as a band, we wanted the video to show that evolution as well. So, when Craig presented the concept to us, it felt very right, and it goes without saying that we are pleased with how the video turned out."

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Capua's bandmates, guitarist Lisle Mitnik and bassist Brian Borzym, join her throughout the video as lights and shadows bounce off the instruments they play, before the three are reunited in the end. 

 

 

“Ghost” premiered on Impose Magazine on June 16th, 2016 paired with a write-up by Meredith Schneider.

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With two successful collaborations in the books, this surely will not be the last Motion Source-Tiny Fireflies project we see. In fact, a third music video is already in the early stages of pre-production.