Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Niia Bertino's Debut Video Single with Storyboards and a Twist

Doll with a Vengeance
Some of us remember when music videos were a novelty. Back in the early cable TV days, when HBO had its “Video Jukebox,” I would record the half hour show on VHS in hopes that something unique and memorable would capture me. The results were hit and miss.  Sometimes a mediocre song would be elevated by a great video, while others had lackluster content. Few had both great music and great visuals, and those that did not only helped sell vinyl records, but also became visual trademarks. As the music industry started to decline with the growth of sharing sites like Napster, the role of music videos as a marketing tool became less important.

Now, thanks to the “On Demand” feature of my local cable box, music videos air from A to Z. I occasionally view the latest pop videos from today’s “sensations.” For me, these are more “miss” than “hit.” Videos run the gamut from conventional storytelling to abstract performance clips; performers range from the vocally talented to the vapid computer-enhanced singer.

Motel and factory voyeur
Occasionally there is a true vocalist, brave enough to stand outside the mainstream, while talented enough to circumvent the industry nonsense. Niia Bertino has a rich velvety voice that takes its time. She sings with discretion not born from a marketing strategy but from an honest talent. No digital synthetic boosts, no layer upon layer of background noise, just straightforward and confident singing, delivered at its own pace. The lyrics languish, then intensify; resonate, then satisfy.

“Made For You” is Niia’s debut single.  The video has the two essentials – a strong song and a strong visual timeline. As I storyboarded the short for director Tony Kaye (American History X), I had access to the most unusual source images that helped develop the macabre story. Under Kaye’s direction, the rubber doll factory is a haunting place. Filled with eerie voyeuristic shots that show dissembled fabrications of women, along with a main narrative where the antagonist debases the female form, the video clashes reality with perception. The dénouement is a striking reminder of the power not just of the femme fatale, but also of any woman’s vitality and strength.

You can view Niia’s sensitive song here, but be advised the video is intense and contains mature subject matter and graphic images. Children should not view it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmS6FJKpEQI

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