If Zedd and Hayley Williams appear to be effortlessly exuding emotion in their new video for “Stay the Night,” that’s not all that far from the truth … at least, that’s what we learned on the set of the video last month.
That’s not just because “Stay’s” director, Daniel “Cloud” Campos, is an old friend (he worked with Williams on Paramore’s “Now” video ) either. Seems he worked overtime to make the shoot as easy as possible, supplying both the energy and the innovation to make this one a breeze.
“I love Cloud … he’s easy to work with and he’s excited to work on videos, and that passion and energy is really important. You draw off it and feed off it. You get a lot of emotion,” Williams told MTV News. “There’s a few cool tricks in this video, like there are scenes where I’m singing, and Cloud is holding a light bulb up to the lens, and it makes this really crazy effect, but it’s just a light bulb; and I love that. It’s not about spending a bazillion dollars on some fancy trick, it’s about being creative.”
So while “Stay the Night” may look like a million bucks, the budget certainly doesn’t back that assumption up. Rather than rely on digital post-production tricks, Campos used different sizes of light bulbs and multiple refractors to achieve stunning visual effects that didn’t break the bank, and relied on his two stars to provide the on-screen wattage.
“In a video like this, when I’m by myself, the part of me that really is interested in fashion comes out more,” Williams said. “I chopped all my hair off, because I wanted to look a little older, a little different … I wanted to put myself out there a bit, and, if I did my job, then there will be real emotion in the video.”
Of course, it wasn’t all effortless … turns out, Zedd had to work overtime to nail his scenes. That’s mostly because Campos insisted in shooting them at double speed, slowing the footage down in post-production to give it an ethereal, otherworldly feel. And that made the shoot a challenge for the up-and-coming EDM star.
“I don’t have to think about anything, I just have to play the song, but I have to play it in double speed, which they will slow down for the final video,” Zedd laughed. “It lets me test out my skills a little bit … and when it comes to moving, you have to make everything more extreme, and that feels so strange. I’m not really a person who moves a lot when I play the piano, so that was pretty weird.”
And though he did most of the hard work, Zedd was quick to praise Williams as the video’s true star … the one who brought all the emotion, and made “Stay the Night” truly special.
“The music video is about the same thing the song is about; it’s about a breakup and about a couple spending their last night together although they both know it’s not the right thing,” he said. “It’s really something special, you know, thanks to Hayley. When she said she was down to sing the track, it was a no-brainer for me. I’m so excited by how it turned out.”