In Ciara’s upcoming video for “Get Up,” she’ll be shrouded in darkness, visible only through reflected light to accentuate her dance moves with a new effect. Director Joseph Kahn describes the look as “black-on-black futuristic.”
“Imagine a car commercial and how the car is lit only by the way light wraps around its surface,” Kahn wrote in his video treatment. “I want to visualize Ciara with the precision you would give the hottest high-end car on the market.”
“It’s a song I wrote and co-produced with Jazze Pha,” Ciara said. “It’s for the movie ‘Step Up,’ which I have had the chance to see and the dancing is very beautiful. [Kahn's] energy is amazing. Also, a lot of the choreographers [on the video] are up and coming, which I really love. There’s one guy I pulled from high school who I told, ‘If I ever make it, I’m gonna bring you up. You’re part of the evolution.’ ”
The “Get Up” clip, which is being shot Friday in Los Angeles, has a nominal narrative that features Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, the stars of “Step Up” (which comes out August 11), as they first become attracted to each other. Since Tatum and Dewan’s characters are dancers — he’s a rebel street dancer, she’s a privileged ballerina — their scenes take place in a club aptly named Step Up. The two will dance at opposite ends of the club’s roof, using choreography from the movie, until they finally get together.
Ciara’s single will be featured in the movie as well as on her forthcoming album, which is due in November (see “Ciara Stays Tight-Lipped About Her Next Batch Of Goodies“ ).
In the video, Ciara’s story line will follow the singer as she goes out clubbing. Her alarm clock wakes her at midnight, the white phosphorous numbers generating the main source of the scene’s light — her apartment is black and reflective, as is the scant clothing she’s wearing. She gets dressed (in yet more black), hops out of her building window and climbs down the fire escape.
“It’s saying, ‘Get Up,’ and when you think of those words, it’s so much behind it,” Ciara said. “You may be going through something and you gotta get up, whether it’s dancing or singing or whatever will make you get up. Hopefully when you in the club, you’re gonna wanna get up.”
Outside, building windows brighten and fade; the moon, stars and lamp posts outside flicker to create a strobe effect. The street’s white reflectors sweep around Ciara as she’s joined by other people, some of whom are making cameos from the film, entering the club and ascending a dark staircase highlighted by lights on the walls, which are also pulsing to the music.
When everyone gets to the roof, Ciara meets up with Chamillionaire, who is featured on the track. The camera sweeps in and slides over Ciara’s body in single-shot takes. Kahn plans to create the effect using macro lenses on real bodies, intermediate CGI bodies and 2-D wipes and morphs.
As the video’s stars dance, the lights of the cityscape pulse to the music until fire alarms ring and rain falls on the crowd. Using yet another trick from commercials, Kahn plans to accentuate the downpour by lighting the rain with Unilux strobes, which are usually used to make water look crisp for product shots of beer and soda bottles.
As the camera pulls out of this sequence, the flashing lights of the alarms and the cityscape converge — creating the numbers from Ciara’s alarm clock, which flash against her face as she wakes up, ready to do it all again.