We look at the not-so-special effects behind the moving furniture
Plenty of music videos try to dazzle viewers with bombastic visual effects, a predictable strategy that often feels more enervating than entertaining. But ”Virtual Insanity,” the vertigo-inducing video from U.K. pop-soul band Jamiroquai, achieves its eye-catching look through a technique that’s so simple you can almost do it at home.
Now in heavy rotation on MTV, the video focuses on singer (and Stevie Wonder soundalike) Jason Kay in a blue-and-white room that just won’t stay still. As Kay bops, struts, strikes poses, and lip-synchs, the walls close in, the furniture moves in odd directions, and the laws of time and space seem to dissolve before our eyes. An acid casualty’s worst nightmare, the video has started a head-scratching epidemic among puzzled viewers who can’t help but mutter, ”How’d they do that?”
Director Jonathan Glazer (Blur’s ”Universal”), who recently won the Music Video Producers Association’s Music Video of the Year award for ”Virtual Insanity,” chuckles as he reveals that there was nothing ”virtual” about his methods. ”No computer trickery was used,” he says. ”What we did was put the whole set on wheels and attach the camera to one wall. The furniture also had little wheels, and we had guys moving the set and the furniture [outside of the frame]. The floor never moved. It was like a magician’s trick.”
Kay confesses to having become ”a bit dizzy” during the carefully choreographed shoot but says he is more than pleased with the results. The video’s high MTV profile is giving Jamiroquai’s third album, Travelling Without Moving, a welcome boost in the States (where the band has yet to duplicate its massive overseas success). ”Often in the past, we’ve had good songs, but our videos haven’t been up to scratch,” says Kay. ”This time out, it’s all working together.”