The newest Vanilla Ninja music video to the song “Encore” was released already 3 weeks ago. To sum up this extraordinary piece of art’s place in the band’s history, we asked the top visual creators of Estonian young generation and the directors of the video, Eskobros, to tell the story behind their latest work and the cooperation with the legendary Estonian music group. Also, you can see exclusive photos from making of the video here.
“Encore” is without a doubt our most epic video (so far).
I remember one October night Raul rushed into the room extremely excited saying something like: “Romet, you won’t imagine what just landed in our mailbox.” It was an offer from Piret to create a music video for the legendary female band “Vanilla Ninja”. We were sold instantly.
I have to admit, we have never been the biggest listeners, however we have been super fans of the Vanilla Ninja ice cream since childhood. If someone had told us then that one day we would be directing a video for these women, we would never have believed it. This iconic aura guided the whole process and we fully cherished every single moment. It still took a while to realize that we were actually working with such icons.
The late night video calls with Lenna and Piret trying to bathe or put their children to sleep and think at the same time, were surreal. The trust we received also seemed unbelievable. Together we came up with a brilliant idea. We realized Vanilla Ninja had never really been depicted as ninjas. We took upon a mission to create something extraordinarily different and outstanding for the new era.
After discussing the core ideas behind the song we started seeing three female bodies trapped in a simulator, longing to see light. As Piret and Lenna explained, the song was born from a yearning to shine once again and break the barriers that had become unbearable after a long paus. The title of the song, “encore,” meaning another performance is tied with the warriors’ struggle against opposing forces that never ends. Ninja warriors will always stand for good and take upon new battles. The bad guys in the video are medieval style computer generated warriors symbolizing an opposing force with no soul.
We approach music videos similarly to any film project. We always start from formatting our ideas to a screenplay. Therefore it is a lot easier to have a clear idea of the vision and goal.
In order to realize this ambiguous and complicated idea, we had to put together a super team. We called in Hellar Bergmann, an Estonian stage fighting specialist, who trained the girls into real ninja warriors. We certainly underestimated how much time was required to develop and practice combat choreography. At one point it felt impossible to learn the needed techniques in such a limited time frame. Miraculously on the day of the shoot everyone was on point and the enemies were defeated. Lenna was even able to pull off the choreography on her ridiculously high heels.
Our cinematographer for the project was the supremely talented Tanel Topaasia, who is also our course mate in Baltic Media Film School. We have worked on several music video projects together and he was also in charge of filming on our thesis film “Topelt Turbo”. So he already had a feeling that something similarly challenging was ahead. Tanel is a maniac when it comes down to pre–production. We spent an entire month pre planning all the shots, compositions, lightning schemes and color profiles. By the day of the shoot we had a well thought-out storyboard for the whole video.
To actualize the portrait of Vanilla Ninja as powerful yet femine female warriors we approached the most boss looking girls in Tallinn: Karin and Sandra. We asked if they had heard of a band like a Vanilla Ninja, and they must have been even more ecstatic than we were. They realized the idea of nude suited women locked in an ice cream lab and their simulator alter ego warriors in latex costumes beyond imagination.
Visually, we tried to find the coolest and most cinematic approach possible. We imagined something with the style of the Matrix merged with a femine power like Kill Bill or Charlie’s Angels. Still, the video narrative couldn’t just be a three-minute ice cream commercial with a savage good soundtrack. We really gave our best to visually interpret the ideas of mental prisonment, hopes, dreams and a longing to shine. “Encore” is in our eyes a real comeback for Vanilla Ninja that attempts to break the box that surrounds us.
The editing period was quite a marathon, but it was well worth the maximum effort. It was quite a challenge. From two days of shooting we had created 6 hours of footage that needed to be crafted into a 3 minute music video. We also proved the fact that time is not real and all deadlines are made-up. Sometimes good things just deserve a little extra attention and time. Similarly, Encore deserved four months of editing. 🙈
Only the best memories remain from the shoot, a couple of boxes of ice cream and two katanas, which had to be bought out due to the damage. They are now under our bed waiting for another adventure to come. The ice cream helped cool the brain’s processor during editing.