Interview: Guardians Of The Galaxy “Inferno” Music Video Director David Yarovesky

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 hits Blu-ray August 22nd.  They’re going all out for the second installment of the popular franchise including awesome viral promotion and much more.  The pinnacle of this was the “Guardians of the Galaxy: Inferno” music video by Zardu Hasselfrau (David Hasselhoff) and the Sneepers, an ode to the ’70s with tons of fantastic Jack Kirby-like color and a kick-ass beat.  Fans of the film will remember Inferno as the song played over the end credits but the video’s got enough glorious color, sparkle, and fun costumes to make anybody smile.

We were very privileged to sit down with the director of this cool little Blu-ray extra to talk about color, just how they made the video happen, favorite characters and much more.  First things first, get caught up with the hottest song in the galaxy and the coolest music video ever. The Marvel Report got to chat with Inferno music video director David Yarovesky, who shared how he became involved in the project and how he brought this larger-than-life video together.

You’re the director of the Guardians Inferno video, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became attached to the project?

James Gunn is one of my best friends and also a kind of mentor to me.  I’ve been a music video and commercial director since 2001, I wrote and directed a movie called THE HIVE, and I created the BELKO VR game for VIVE.  James and I are always trying to find ways to work together and he had this crazy idea to make something inspired by the Meco Star Wars Disco video, but use the Guardians and make it pure joy. That’s why people think James Gunn is a genius because he is.  I just feel so fortunate to be involved.

What was the genesis behind this music video? How long has something like this been in the works?

Honestly, it’s been a conversation between James, Tyler, and Marvel for a long time.  I was roped into the conversation around December, and it’s been the most difficult secret I’ve had to keep in my entire life.
James invited me down to Tyler Bates’ recording studio while Hoff was recording his parts for the song.  Side note: Tyler Bates may be the coolest person I’ve ever met, and being in his studio while they were recording this was amazing.   I’m listening to Hoff say his “in these times of hardships” part and I have this vision of his head flying through this light tunnel, like a really stupid looking version of the Dr. Who tunnel, except more godly, basically what you see in the final video, and that was it – we were off. Then Hoff left and James, Simon Hatt, and I recorded that Zardu chant.  Fun fact: that’s our voices.

The biggest thing that interested me was the technical aspects. You said on twitter that you restored tube cameras and used them to film it. That gives the whole film a very specific look, what made you guys decide to do that instead of recreating it digitally?

James and I, from our first conversation about this project,  believed it would be funny to make something that was completely authentic.  We discussed making something that you would watch and be unsure if it was actually filmed in 2017 or in 1979. I believed if this is authentic it will be so fun and insane and different that’s all it will need to be: authentic.  So I stopped trying to be funny and just focused on creating a video that was shot in 1979, but that wasn’t actually shot in 1979.

I found a company that restores old tube tv cameras from the 1970’s and we shot on that.  Also during my research, I found that whole era was all about glitter and sequins because the shape of the camera’s iris used to make star shapes like you were twinkling.  So we did a very detailed star fitter study to try to replicate the old iris/twinkle look.  I could literally talk about all of the tiny details we did to make this authentic for hours because I love the tech stuff so much but I’m guessing this would bore your readers to tears.

Did you guys use any other old school techniques besides restoring older cameras? David Hasselhoff’s floating head and Stan Lee’s floating head remind me of a lot of older TV shows. 

We used the animation company PUNY who we have worked with quite a bit in the past and are always amazing.  They created some animation elements for BELKO VR and they also did the opening titles for SUPER.  We went through so many different passes trying to make it as authentic as possible.  I watched the opening title sequence of a lot of TV shows from the 70’s to reference what was technically capable at that time, and what it would have looked like.  We live in the time of 4K and HDR, so working with that low of resolution is difficult because it requires so much less detail then any of us are used to, we had to keep simplifying and simplifying or it felt messy and distracting.

The MCU is looking very Guardians-like lately.  The cosmic side of the MCU is dealing with a lot of those bright Jack Kirby like colors from the comics. From Guardians to Ragnarok the universe has this great 70s/80s vibe in terms of color and this video – from the film techniques to its posters really emphasizes that.  How did it feel to add something like this to the MCU at large?

I’m such a huge fan of the MCU, being able to create something for it was a dream come true.  I had to keep giving myself pep talks, “Ok, sure, that’s Chris Pratt, STAR LORD!!!!!,  and tomorrow you can freak out, but right now, he’s just a guy I gotta do a scene with.”   You will have to ask the cast if I pulled that off, or if I just looked like an excited fanboy jumping for joy.

Can you guys talk about some of the influences as far as costumes and “characters”? You guys obviously drew a lot from the 70s and 80s but were there any specific films or shows or looks you guys were inspired by?

The amount of research I did was legion.  I watched the Meco Star Wars Disco Video a lot, also the Brady Bunch Variety Show, all sorts of 70’s sci fi, from Dr. Who to Flash Gordon.  I also had a constant stream of dance and music shows like Top of the Pops and Soul Train.

What did the actors think of the concept?  Dave Bautista’s in giant wings, Chris Pratt is a Robot…they all seem so excited to be working on this.  It’s infectious!

We all had the best time.  Rooker had the best time, I know this because he kept putting me in a head lock, and that’s how Rooker expresses joy and love.   But seriously, GOTG has become a family, and these guys just have the best time together, I’m happy I got to be apart of it.

Did you have a favorite “character” or costume that you guys created? 

Those dumb looking purple headed aliens.   I laughed so hard at those things.  Autumn Steed created all of our costumes and she completely knocked it out of the park!  The best part of the days on set was watching people come out of the dressing room in their outfit, the set would erupt with laughter and “OH MY GOD” every time!  – also, she’s my fiancé.  We got engaged about 3 hours before we filmed Zoe’s part.  Haha!  But that’s another story altogether.

What was it like working with these talented actors and directing them? Was it just “Dance crazy” or was there very specific choreography?

I have 20 minutes of Sean Gunn dancing that would blow your mind.  BLOW YOUR MIND!  We had a long debate about whether or not to release it and we decided that the fabric of space/time was not strong enough to support a reality in which that footage was publicly available.

Any hilarious stories you guys can share about making the video? 

We had this saying in the editing room, “You know what would be really dumb looking…….?” and then we would try it.  I’d say things like, “This scene isn’t stupid enough yet,” or “is this the absolute dumbest version of this section?”  It was so weird to say that out loud in an editing room.

Do you and James think you’ll do another one of these if you come up with another song for vol 3? We’d love to see more content like this created for the MCU!

I’d expect James and I will continue working on things together for a long time. I’d expect us to continue to do things that are unexpected, crazy, and this out of the box.  😉

I’m at this place in my career that’s really exciting.  I’m a filmmaker first, but I have a foot in video games and VR, and another foot in digital/social media, and I’m carving out some weird path that connects them all.  I have no idea where it will lead, but it feels like the future.

This video was gorgeous and hilarious and a real treat for MCU fans. It’s gotten rave reviews and tons of retweets with over one million views on youtube.  How does that make you feel?

I’m really proud of the what we created and nothing feels better than to see people getting it.  There was always a chance, in the back of my mind, that this was too crazy and too weird.  I’m so happy that it connected and that people can have as much fun watching it as we had to make it.

A lot of the credit here goes to Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel, James Gunn, and Simon Hatt, this would never exist without them and their commitment to their fans.

(BONUS) If you have any other projects that you’d love for us to give a shout out to – MCU or otherwise, please share! This is a GREAT project and we can’t wait to see more from you!

We’ll save that for another interview! If people like my work they can follow me on social media twitter (@yarvo) and Instagram (@yarvoyarvo), there is plenty more coming!  Thanks!

Pretty cool right? Did you watch the music video? Share with us what you thought in the comments below! Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 hits stores on Blu-Ray and 4K Blu-Ray August 22nd, 2017!

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