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Underwater Music Videos - Cyprus

'Little girl by Abi Sampa and Chris Cara was really fun to shoot. Apart from the fact that I love collaborating with Abi, most of it was filmed on the beach or in the sea. I have been filming underwater since 2014 and I still feel the same excitement as I did back then, every time I go on a shoot. Underwater cameras were invented well over half a century ago but there’s still a lot of untapped potential with experimenting in this domain and music videos are ideal for exploring in uncharted territory.

Underwater & sea lily stills from the music video 'Little Girl' by Abi Sampa and Chris Cara

We had agreed to shoot the music video in monochrome from the start. I wanted to experiment with the underwater shots and the first thing that came to mind was the different coloured sand. Scouting for outdoor locations in Cyprus is not so hard (especially when you’re a nature freak like me). It has a great variety of natural landscapes plus it’s mainly sunny, so it’s nearly always possible to plan well ahead of a film shoot.

Top locations for white sand beaches are either towards Paphos or Larnaca. We headed to Ayia Napa and shot the first round of underwater shots at the well known Nissi beach. We chose a weekday to film, after the holiday season, even though the number of tourists was low due to Covid regulations. This made it easy to get clear shots of the model (Konstantina Skalionta) and of the water reflections, without disturbances. Efficiency is key when filming underwater. It can become exhausting for both the model and the underwater camera operator because the whole process is quite physical; and even though the temperature of the sea is warm, there’s only so much time you can stay underwater, especially if you are not suited up. Volcanic beaches are common in my hometown so we filmed the next set of shots there. It was great to have plenty of choices, to play around with the contrast between the water and the seabed. This time round I wasn’t using a bottle when filming, just the snorkel and my breath.

It was important for Abi to appear in the video clip as she strings together various music genres using an Indian Classical instrument, the Saraswati Veena. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate with a cinematographer in the UK - Joshua Black who was in charge of shooting all of Abi’s scenes. It took some prepping and experimentation on my side to clearly communicate what I was visualizing, so that Abi’s footage could be combined with the nature shots. I’m happy with the overall results and Josh was great and easy to work with even though we had never met before.

Below, a little bit about the song from Abi’s and my point of view. Enjoy *

Abi Sampa: “This song was written to represent me and the time that I am in, as an artist, as a second-generation immigrant and as a woman. Its lyrics speak to the fear of ageing - the societal and biological pressures felt by women and the latent fear of unfulfilled dreams. Sonically, it brings together all of my constituent and artistic elements through the use of the Saraswati Veena, an ancient Indian Classical instrument. I've used the instrument to play an amalgam of Indian Classical music, blues and British rock throughout the piece.” I instantly identified with the song and chose visuals that complement the movement of the music as well as the lyrics. The emotions associated with writing the song created the narration of the clip. For example, water’s association with fertility, femininity, birth and rebirth are only a few of the possible symbolic interpretations; sea lilies, shown in all their stages of life, grow only white in colour, under harsh conditions. However, they do not survive a cut, therefore they cannot be used as decorations in homes.

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