Best of 2016 (Behind the Scenes): Director X breaks down Fifth Harmony's sultry 'Work From Home' video
Fifth Harmony made employees everywhere want to take the day off when they released their sultry, silly “Work From Home” video in February. Here, Director X — the man behind videos like Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Zayn’s “Like I Would” — reveals how the clip (above) came together.
In a big year for Fifth Harmony, their “Work From Home” ft. Ty Dolla $ign music video is a standout.
The video’s set at a construction site dreamscape, where group members Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, and Lauren Jauregui sing, dance, and flirt with smoldering, seriously ripped men. It’s hard to imagine the hit from the pop girl-group’s second album, 7/27, being realized on screen any other way — because they’ve really nailed it here — but there was, in fact, a different blueprint early on.
As Director X explains, the original idea was to do something around work as the theme, but with a different approach. “The first [theme] I wrote was actually a very corporate theme, like they’re in a corporate office,” he says. But that didn’t work because the group already did that for the “Worth It” video, released in 2015. “I said, ‘All right, how about they’re building a condominium and they’re on the ground floor and there’s dirt and everything there?’” Another no, because they had a too-similar, desert-set project on the way.
Building off that, he suggested they set it at a house in the making — and that became the winner. “It was some good luck for us because no one’s really done a video like that before,” X explains, “so we ended up breaking some new ground.”
The shoot took one day, and the fivesome was very involved. “They definitely have something to say, especially on shoot day,” X says. Also noteworthy is the way the video — which currently has more than 1 billion views — puts (most of) the sultry focus on the men.
“[We did] all kinds of subtle, subliminal guy jokes,” X says. “There’s all the hot guy stuff. I thought that was humorous. I thought that was funny to do, to have a girl group and make [the men] the objects, as opposed to the other way around.” See exhibits A, B, and C below:
That said, “Not all of it was so subtle,” he quips, “but that was the idea, just subtle nods to male sexuality.”
“Work From Home” is one of many major music videos from X lately. He also directed Fifth Harmony’s “All In My Head (Flex)” ft. Fetty Wap, Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” Rihanna’s “Work” ft. Drake, and many more. So, what is his secret? “I embrace the record and what’s best for the song itself,” he says, and in the case of “Work From Home,” he celebrated the many interpretations of work.
“I love the double meaning of work,” X continues. “We’re working from home, but they’re working on a home so I like that subtle nod to the song, to what the song is saying and what the song actually means…It all comes with the song first.”