Music Video Tutorial: VJ Mark Pistoire on Tiefschwarz’s Warning Siren

Sat 30.06.2007

Kudos goes to Mark Pistoire and his danceable disaster footage, created for Buick Project’s remix of Warning Siren by Tiefschwarz featuring Matty Safer (Fine Records). Click on to find out how it was done…

The delirious Dutchman explains all: “I did this Tiefschwarz clip for Sander Kleinenberg a few years ago. Immediately after listening to this song I had an idea. My idea for this song was to portray a Plastic Bertrand kind of androgynous guy singing and dancing.” How to… “I was about to video myself for this clip when my brother-in-law Japie entered the studio. I had to finish another clip before I could video myself and Japie was still sitting, bored, and asked me if he could be in the video. I said ‘no’, because I had a clear idea of how it would have to look. He then asked me how it was supposed to look and left the room. Without me seeing, Japie started to apply the black lipstick and nail polish that my girlfriend had bought me for the video. He then went through my girlfriend's wardrobe and came out looking like the guy I had in mind for the video. So I shot him against a white wall in my living room. We did it in just two takes and Japie did not need any direction. I was astonished by all the wrong moves he made – Japie made Plastic Bertrand look like a fake! “I remember when Sander played this song people everywhere were laughing and trying to make the same moves as Japie!” Editing & EFX… “The editing and visual EFX were done in Final Cut Pro. I did a rough colour key on the white wall, and multiplied this with a pinkish hue. (FYI: Colour key means that you key out all the white background; in film they do this with green or blue and then key out the blue/green.) The collapsing buildings I did in After Effects. First I had to remove the background from each collapsing building (actually, I had to blow up each building first, but for that I used some local demolition dudes ;-). I used a travelling matte or mask to animate the mask, as they are not photos so a fixed mask would not be sufficient. I then multiplied them with a pinkish colour. So now I had all the buildings separated from their background. I put them all together and ‘tied’ all layers to one new layer, which I then animated in Z-space (with a kind of fake 3D look). I added a pinch of salt for contrast, lemon for saturation and finally some grain as garnish! “All in all this video cost me just €8 in total. €3 for the lipstick and nail polish and €5 to buy refreshments for Japie. “Oh, and did you spot the chameleon?” So there you have it. Priceless, and as quirky as the track itself, Mark’s electric Warning Siren music video, demystified.