If Frank Sinatra was alive, December 12th would have marked his 100th birthday. For this occasion Universal Music released a movie featuring the legend made by filmmaker Basti Hansen to promote the “Ultimate Sinatra CD Box”. Here is the cool thing, Basti did not want to use the ‘same old’ footage that have been seen-to-death again, and given complete creative freedom from Universal Music he created “a fun experience” from old Sinatra photographs. We asked Basti to share his thoughts about making the movie.
Working for Universal Music on this Sinatra movie was a pretty fun experience. I was given pretty much complete creative freedom which opened up so many options for me. It means you can play around, explore and try new things. Of course in the end you have to have something amazing for your client, so it’s kind of a fun pressure. The only constraints that I was given is that I had to work with this set of old photos of Sinatra.
I put on Frank Sinatra really loud and tried to soak up the atmosphere of the old photographs, trying to image how it must have been to be in that room while they record. I thought how cool would it be to dive into a photograph and all of a sudden things would start to move. This is when I realized I don’t want to show the photos in the video, I want the viewer to be in the photographs and that I could do that using the Parallax effect – rebuilding the atmosphere and depth.
How did you select the photos?
I was given about 30 high resolution scans of old medium format photographs. A good Parallax effect has some prerequisites, like the ability to separate the background and good separation of one or more subjects. Between the ones I liked and the ones that made sense to work on, I was left with 10 photos which composed the final edit.