Arts & Entertainment

Ciara “Level Up” Music Video Case Study

Parris Goebel

Lesson time 09:09 min

Parris gives a behind-the-scenes account of her work on Ciara’s “Level Up.” She shares how she came up with unique camera moves, how she dealt with scheduling restraints, and how she got her dancers to give dramatic performances for the camera.

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Topics include: Ciara “Level Up” Music Video Case Study


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING - CIARA, "LEVEL UP"] [00:00:00.47] Level up. Level up. Level up. Level up. Level up. [00:00:07.03] - Let's break down the music video that I directed and choreographed for Ciara in 2018, "Level Up." [00:00:13.33] CIARA: OK, remember what I told you-- be your own boss, love yourself, get up and dance. Level up. [00:00:20.43] - Ciara approached me and said, I've got my new single coming out, it's my comeback. I want to dance. I want to do a music video where I dance from top to bottom. So she flew New Zealand, and we created the magic [00:00:33.24] [MUSIC PLAYING - CIARA, "LEVEL UP'] [00:00:33.69] 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- lucky. Level up. Level up. [00:00:38.70] PARRIS GOEBEL: So what was cool about this video is that she had such a message of leveling up. And she wanted, in particular, young girls to watch this and see strength, and see bosses and queens, and feel just inspired to level up. [00:00:54.87] So what was cool was like talking to her about that and having that in mind when going to create it. So I knew the essence and the strength that we were carrying throughout the video was super important and to embody that in the dance. So a little bit of background, we filmed this in the Oakland Museum in New Zealand. So Sierra flew to New Zealand. We rehearsed two days and then filmed it. [00:01:19.52] [MUSIC PLAYING - CIARA, "LEVEL UP"] [00:01:19.82] Level up. Level up. Level up. [00:01:21.97] - So this is great. And you're going to see, right here, let's reference eye-contact to camera. As we're pulling out with the camera, already you're seeing my two girls here-- their eye contact is straight to camera. And sometimes when the camera's passing dancers, they'll already be looking straight. But that was a note I had to give to the dancers in the day-- as soon as that camera's passing you, you're already looking for it. You're looking for the lens. And I think that really added to the performance of that shot. [00:01:56.25] [MUSIC PLAYING - CIARA, "LEVEL UP"] [00:01:59.06] - So I covered this in every way. I did a wide angle. I did this angle. I got Ciara out of it and shot the little girls. So I just covered myself and explored every angle, but really I had all these shots prepared from rehearsal. [00:02:15.50] [MUSIC PLAYING - CIARA, "LEVEL UP"] [00:02:15.83] Them old mistakes are gone. I won't do them no more. [00:02:18.78] PARRIS GOEBEL: Doing a really nice to V here. So same choreography, different groups, keeping it exciting. [00:02:26.09] More action. You just go [00:02:28.37] - And you can see how I've-- obviously, Ciara is our hero performer right here, but I really thought about what's in the frame. So before I even start shooting this. I'm making sure every girl is in her spot, the eye contact is correct, and I'm just making sure I'm really happy with the frame. And even though there's so much going on here, my focus is still on Ciara. [00:02:51.86] [MUSIC PLAYING - CIARA, "LEVEL UP"] [00:02:54.5...

About the Instructor

The creative force behind Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” video and Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl halftime show, Parris Goebel is a dance powerhouse. Now the award-winning choreographer breaks down her approach so you can harness your own creativity. Learn how iconic performances are made—and how to develop and polish routines, direct videos, and exude confidence every step of the way—as Parris opens up like never before.

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Parris Goebel

Award-winning choreographer Parris Goebel teaches you her techniques for bringing a vision to life and her approach to owning your creativity.

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