During Timberlake's six year hiatus from music, he was not sitting at home twiddling his thumbs. He was busy making movies, one being Fincher's The Social Network which won multiple awards. But now Timberlake is back in full form in his video Suit and Tie with a stunning performance, crisp choreography, and Fincher's classic black and white cinematography. For filmmakers, the wait for the video's release was not to celebrate Timberlake's comeback but for the fact that the music video was shot on five Red Epic-M Monochrome cameras
, the latest creation by Red Digital Cinema, giving the video a cinematic feel.
...featuring 5K sensor capable of capturing 1 to 120 frames per second at full resolution, RED’s remarkable Epic camera which was cited as the next generation of digital cinema, has now got its new black & white version, the Epic-M Monochrome.--BornRich.com
Shot at 3200 ISO in monochrome, the picture is clear with very little noise. Footage originally shot in colour and then later converted into black and white in post-production causes significant pixel loss.
In this case, RED claims the sensor can now be rated at 2000 ISO as compared to around 800 normally. On this video, however, the team decided to push the camera almost another stop to 3200. That is another advantage of capturing in black and white with this camera: noise is finer and less noticeable.
--Joe Marine, No Film School
The video itself is Fincher's
music video masterpiece, with eye pleasing visuals and his deliberate use of blacks and whites throughout each shot creates a strong 1950s style and feel. With subtle details, he adds a polished touch of contrast: with white light glowing from hanging chandeliers against a velvet black background, dancers dressed in dark suits and white shirts with their unlit faces masquerading them as shadows mimicking Timberlake's well choreographed moves. Meanwhile Timerberlake is styling a white shirt which again contrasts with his Tom Ford sleek black suit. The opposite shades are noted when we see Rapper Jay Z
sporting a crisp white shirt with an untied black bow tie and dress slacks. Throughout the scenes on stage, a white spot light shines down on Timberlake emphasizing his performance while everything else is darkened to only reveal the outlines of the people in the audience. The final effect is spectacular and refreshingly good, unlike the shaky hand held video shots seen on most music videos.
Fincher wins points for weaving rich images from different points of view, and angles and locations. The visuals are entertaining: from the stage performance; to Timberlake at home eating a bowl of Wheaties while chatting with Jay Z; then to behind the scenes in the recording studio. Fincher ensures that all the shots make a conscious effort to play with the palette of grays, white and black imagery. Most notably this is shown in the following shots: when Timberlake and his dancers dance on the stage with the light show flashing rhythmically behind them; to Timberlake doing a "dancing in the rain" number on a wet stage-- the white lights, the rain drops, the trails of smoke from his cigarette, all subtle details that enhance the monochrome look of the video. But Fincher takes it a step further by ensuring the music, the beat and Timberlake's performance all synch together smoothly from cut to cut, never missing or wasting a beat.
Of course we cannot leave out Timberlake's song Suit and Tie which is reminiscent of the sound of the 70's mixed with a bit of Lenny Kravitz. After listening to it once, I found myself humming to it for the rest of the day. Suit and Tie vaguely reminds me of Kravitz's song I'll Be Waiting-- whose video, by the way, is also beautifully shot in black and white.
Lenny Kravitz's music video - I'll Be Waiting - shot in black and white