Substitution splicing creates “the sudden appearance and disappearance of a person or object” (Ezra, 2000, pg 28) and was a favorite technique of French film director Georges Melies. Melies is said to have stumbled on the practice by accident in the early 1900’s during a film mishap. Substitution splicing is used in The White Stripes music video ‘ Hardest button to button’, directed by Michel Gondry. Gondry uses the technique to multiply Meg White and her drum kit each time she hits her drum. The technique is also used to multiply Jack White and his amplifier. This particular effect evokes a feeling of nostalgia as it has been so widely used for so many years and was once obviously a modern effect. Shows such as The Goodies (filmed in the 70’s and 80’s) used to to great comic effect. There is also an innocence which resonates for the same reason. It is such a simple effect that looks both pokey and fantastic at the same time. The White Stripes appeal to alternative music fans who appreciate less glossy but beautifully made film clips. Gondry’s list of music video collaborations support this- Bjork, Foo Fighters, Beck and Daft Punk are all bands who are know for having art house clips to accompany their music. Therefor I believe that Gondry has very much succeeded in his use of a low tech effect. It is this ‘low tech’ that makes the video stand out from the glossy, big budget video clips that accompany so many other successful bands today.
Ezra, E 2000, Georges Melies, Manchester United Press, New York