American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 12

Short Takes
The music video for M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls,” directed by Romain Gavras and shot by André Chemetoff, remixes hiphop tropes and sets them against a Middle Eastern backdrop.

I

“Bad Girls” Catches the Drift By Iain Stasukevich

Shot by André Chemetoff and directed by Romain Gavras, the video for Maya “M.I.A.” Arulpragasam’s “Bad Girls” basks in hip-hop swagger and style, but it trades the usual urban milieu of N ew York or Los Angeles for a rubble-strewn Middle Eastern village, where the girls in question wear colorful hijabs and niqabs and heavy, gold jewelry; brandish AK-47s; and perform daring feats of Al-Tafheet, a dangerous form of Saudi auto drifting, while an audience of men cheers them on from the sidelines. Chemetoff and Gavras’ friendship extends back to their childhood, and their professional collaborations include M.I.A.’s “Born Free” video and the feature film Our Day Will Come. “I work with André most of the time,” says Gavras. “I trust him more than I trust my mum, and I love him more than God.” Chemetoff adds, “I’m so glad to have this kind of partnership with a director, you know?” They decided to shoot “Bad Girls” in Ouarzazate, Morocco, because of its proximity to France and its production infrastructure. What’s more, says Chemetoff, “Morocco in the winter is nice because the sun is low, giving you very soft, sidey daylight.” Chemetoff prepped for the shoot by spending a few days scouting locations in and around Ouarzazate, taking still photos and reframing them for the video’s intended 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
12 May 2012

“We were keen on 2.40:1 because we wanted to make the video cinematic,” he explains. He was also interested in shooting 35mm, but the budget ruled that out. “If we weren’t going to overcrank our shots, we would have shot Super 16,” he notes, “but when the Alexa got the [v.5] 120-fps upgrade, we decided to shoot digitally, which was a good move. The Alexa gave us sharp, clean images — we wanted a really slick look — and it’s a reliable camera. I wasn’t thinking to myself the entire time, ‘I wish I could be shooting film instead.’” The production’s cameras and lenses were rented from Vantage Film in Paris. In addition to two Alexas, Chemetoff used a large array of lenses, including a set of Zeiss Standard Speed primes, Zeiss Super Speed primes, an Arri Fujinon Alura 25250mm zoom, an Angenieux Optimo 24-290mm zoom, a Hawk 150-450mm zoom, and a Clairmont 1,000mm prime. “The Clairmont is crazy big, but it’s not heavy because of the mirror system,” he says. “You need quite a bit of light, but for day scenes it’s great. It’s very touchy, though; if you touch the lens, it moves the frame like you wouldn’t believe!” Chemetoff brought his key crew from France, including focus pullers Adrien Debackere and Julien Veron, 2nd AC Chloé Fassio, and chief electrician Guillaume Pierre. Part of the excitement “Bad Girls” has generated in the music-video community stems from Gavras’ clever remixing of hip-

American Cinematographer

Photos courtesy of André Chemetoff.



American Cinematographer - May 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - May 2012

American Cinematographer - May 2012
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Short Takes: M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”
Production Slate: Person of Interest • The Raven
Harsh Realms
Wild Passion
Tales of Ordinary Madness
Top of Their Class
Center Stage for Cinematographers
Post Focus: Technicolor Restores Wings
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
In Memoria: Ric Waite, ASC; Herbert S. Alpert, ASC, CSC
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Darius Khondji
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - American Cinematographer - May 2012
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 1
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 2
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 3
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Contents
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 5
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 6
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 7
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 9
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 11
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Short Takes: M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 13
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 14
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 15
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 16
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 17
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Production Slate: Person of Interest • The Raven
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 19
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 20
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 21
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 22
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 23
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 24
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 25
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 26
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 27
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 28
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 29
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 30
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 31
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Harsh Realms
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 33
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 34
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 35
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 36
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 37
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 38
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 39
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 40
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 41
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Wild Passion
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 43
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 44
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 45
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 46
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 47
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 48
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 49
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 50
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 51
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Tales of Ordinary Madness
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 53
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 54
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 55
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 56
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 57
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 58
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 59
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 60
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 61
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Top of Their Class
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 63
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 64
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 65
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 66
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 67
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 68
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Center Stage for Cinematographers
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 70
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 71
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 72
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 73
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 74
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 75
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 76
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 77
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 78
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 79
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 80
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 81
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Post Focus: Technicolor Restores Wings
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 83
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 84
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 85
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 86
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 87
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 89
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 90
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 91
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - In Memoria: Ric Waite, ASC; Herbert S. Alpert, ASC, CSC
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 96
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 97
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 99
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - ASC Close-Up: Darius Khondji
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Cover4
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