Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Visual Review 5: Nikka Costa "Like a Feather"

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Nikka Costa is an American singer-songwriter who fuses funk, soul and blues into her music. Costa’s “Like a Feather” single first premiered in 2000 in a Tommy Hilfiger ad, which jump-started the singer’s career. Her debut U.S. album Everybody Got Their Something was released in 2001.

The video begins with a wide shot of what appears to be a stage or studio. This video has one setting for the entire duration. The background is a digital screen that will project geometric designs along with Nikka’s name throughout the video. We have medium close up shots of the singer as she begins singing the song. We have contrast with the red designs on the screen and her blue ensemble that also contrasts against her red hair. 

The shots then are split into four multiple frames all showing the same thing. It’s almost reminiscent of the “Brady Bunch” opening sequence. Identical frames are stacked to create four small blocks. These blocks are also divided into two half’s where the left side shows a wide shot of Nikka and the right side shows a mid-close up of her on the microphone.

We have some low angles, not extreme. And consistent throughout is the mirror-like effect where the shot becomes symmetric. Two Nikka’s are shown on the screen side by side dancing. We have cuts back and forth between symmetric shots and the four stacked frames with wide shots and then medium close ups. Then we’re shown the same frame stacked on top of one another creating this stack of blocks large on the outside and that are smaller towards the center. 

There are more symmetric wide shots with the screen split in half, cutting to Nikka’s mid-section. Wide shots are combined with the stacked frames and become smaller wide shots that show her full frame. I liked how various shots are lit and then others are in the dark. For most of the video, the light fills the entire set but for certain sections of the song, the light is only coming from the digital screen in the background.

There is a quick extreme close up of Costa’s mouth through a lens in the shape of a circle—it’s not fish eye. The effect with four stacked blocks evolve from showing the same shot to playing one simultaneously after the other in rhythm with the music. The camera editing cuts back and forth between the mid close ups and then to three thin frames of Nikka. Profile shots and medium close ups show again her singing at the microphone. We have a few high angle shots while the lights are out and the stage is only lit by the screen and an EWS from a high angle. 

After the first verse it’s pretty repetitive—which I don’t think is a bad thing. We have continuous shots switching from multiple frames to wide frames. There are no dolly-ins or even panning which I found to be interesting. The camera stays in one position throughout. I think that works fine because with Nikka’s moving and the flashing going on in the background it would have been too much. The video has that geometric shape/seventies design going on where the patterns are shots of Costa singing which I thought was cool and brings out the red and blue colors well. Effective use of light and shadow towards the end where again the only light source is from the digital screen but you can see Costa’s silhouette and those blue and red colors look nice against one another. Towards the end there are some extreme low angles towards the bottom giving off the effect that the camera is flat on the ground. 

I personally love the effects put on the video. It adds to the fun nature of the song and really enhances the beats and sounds that are heard throughout. The dancing/movement are synchronized perfectly with the flashing images and I think the creative team did a good job choosing colors and the setting. I couldn't imagine this video shot on location in a street somewhere. The video compliments the song perfectly.


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