MUSIC VIDEO: “Outsider,” Clips

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“Outsider” (Bengali title: “Boiragi”) was the second out of three music videos I directed for vocalist Mithun Jabbar. Since the music videos are being broadcast overseas, I assembled clips from the video without featuring the artist. I set the images to a song of my choosing.

The music video was shot in two days over two weekends. The week before we were to begin shooting, New York City announced a blizzard alert on our scheduled day. The producer strongly insisted on rescheduling; we had mostly exterior shots and the bulky HD camera gear -an HVX200 with Letus adapter and lenses- would be fragile and dangerous to manage in the swirling frost. I persuaded her otherwise; I saw the inclimate weather as a chance to capture images appropriate to the song’s theme of loneliness and seeking a connection. I had written a story about an artist who had a creative block when drawing a portrait, and one day she found the face that inspired her finally. It happened to belong to a disenchanted executive who also sought a connection in his life. He became sentimental after seeing a romantic couple. We may wonder why such a man dressed for business is not working at the time, or safely sheltered indoors. Perhaps he got disillusioned with his work and needed an escape, or perhaps he quit out of frustration. Seeing a pretty jogger finally broke his inhibitions and he flung his jacket into the falling sleet to seek a friendship. I broke the linearity of the narrative of the man by showing the artist’s morning in flashback.

No one could have foreseen the extent of the risk I took in insisting on shooting in the storm -the blizzard turned out to be the worst of the year. Getting the talent and crew to the locations required driving dangerously on icy roads with little visibility. While shooting, frost and sleet crept through every opening, but Zahed Sharif, our skilled DP, wrapped the camera in trash bags to protect the sensitive electronics. Still, in some shots you can see the frost on the lens which was impossible to avoid. In our key Brooklyn Barge location, one business was open: a famous cafe directly on the pier. We made this our base as we shot one minute at a time. The DP and I would go out into the storm, Zahed will hold the shot frame by hand, I called the actors, and we shot. After each take, we would all tiptoe back to the cafe to warm ourselves and wipe the camera dry. The sleet fell so fast that it was hard to see it in the footage, so I enhanced the effect by designing and compositing slower-moving snow.

Unfortunately, on our way back home after wrap up, my car was totalled in a four-car collision on an icy patch of road. Luckily, we were all safe, as was the equipment. Never again will I lose a car for a shoot!


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