George Guise better known as ‘Visionnaire’ is a visual director and producer. Visionnaire is a considerably experienced filmmaker that has made his name in the world of music video production, more specifically in the genre of Afro Beats and UK Hip Hop. His work has taken him around Europe, Africa, and across the Atlantic to the US and Canada during his 10 years + career. His background in film making comes from studying the craft at the University of Westminster along with a talent for graphic design. Visionnaire developed his style through years of experience working with other directors in the industry, which eventually gave him the opportunity to take on projects of his own and consequently allowing him to start his own production company in 2012 called ‘Visionaire Pictures’. Visionnaire is a director that prefers to focus on the full body of work as the time and effort took to bring his concepts to life are best represented by experiencing his work as a whole, however, we had the opportunity of getting an insight into some of Visionnaire’s ‘Key Frames’ in some of his prior visual catalogue. The visuals from his long list of projects chosen for this feature are ‘Too Bad Bad’ by Shakka featuring Mr. Eazi and ‘Melanin’ by Afro B.
KEY FRAME I
The initial idea we had for this video was Afro Futuristic – Think ‘Black Panther’, technology, and Africanism. However, we very quickly decided to go against that and just work with the theme of Opulent Africanism, incorporating themes of royalty and deity. We went back and forth on an idea for the treatment, sending reference images to the artist and the label. Some of the references came from films such as Coming to America, specifically the scene where Hakeem, played by Eddie Murphy, is getting married to a lady, the king is on the throne and the bride to be is dressed extravagantly.
Looking at the frame, the model in the middle of the picture is sitting on a seat that evokes themes of royalty, the way the models are positioned clearly shows that our attention should be on her. The positioning of the other models on either side shows that the model at the center of the picture is in full control. The gold accents and the big African necklace shows our way of representing African opulence, the jewellery on her head also represents a sort of tiara. She is not quite the queen because the whole narrative is that she is the ‘Too bad bad’ girl, as the song would put it, this is before she gets the opportunity to meet him. Behind the models you see some palm trees, representing more themes of Africa and its tropical nature – we shot this in the UK so we had to add some African touches to the set design somehow. Also, behind the models is the velvet looking material/curtain, further boosting the idea of royalty. The gold accents and embroidery on the walls along with the colour co-ordination in gold and red is also something that we intended to highlight in this visual.
Nothing in this project was left to chance, we scouted the location to make sure it was the right one, an amazing location that I would like to work in again. This frame really encompasses everything we tried to do for this visual, it shows strength in a woman, opulence, and the beauty of African culture. The central model we picked was amazing to work with, she is a model/dancer and was very good when it came to instruction and movement onset. We wanted the movement in this frame to be peaceful, the central model began the motion and the supporting models complete it in sync, emitting themes of power, peace, and strength within women.
KEY FRAME II
Off the bat, just based off of our client Afro B and the name of the song ‘Melanin’, you already know what you’re likely to find here. This visual is all about black empowerment and strength, we aim to show the beauty of the black woman and the black man, which in this case is Afro B. When he sent me the song, I was initially looking to go very left field with this visual and take all the risks I possibly could, however, we had to compromise with that artist’s wishes because he wanted to go with something that catered to his base and uplifted the black community specifically. We decided to go in the direction of highlighting beauty in the black woman, juxtaposed with the beauty of nature. In the video, we have a few black models in African costumes placed in a lavender hill location.
This particular frame is a picture of the astonishing Priscilla, who since this video has gone on to do amazing things in her career after appearing in popular reality TV show Love Island. We have had a long history of working together, dating back to 2014 approximately, initially as a dancer amid the Azonto/Afro Beats wave. The ‘Key Frame’ shows Priscilla sat in the lavender field, smelling a bouquet, positioned in front of a yellow studio backdrop. Priscilla is wearing red and all the garments were specifically designed for each model featured and Afro B, the bright red garment worn by Priscilla in this frame also has some repeated flame designs, made from Cara material, this frame highlights the strong, bold and vibrant nature of the myelinated women juxtaposed with a soft and gentle bouquet, showcasing a different side to her. In this frame, we also have the duality of the outdoors and indoors represented, inspired by an image I saw a long time ago which was a studio set which was built outdoors. I wanted to replicate this concept while adding my personal touch to take it to another level, building on ideas. This detail is interesting because from a certain perspective, you would believe she was in an indoor studio, however in a wider frame the viewer full recognises she in fact outdoors. Priscilla’s posture on the chair is bold yet effortless which depicts the fact that she is comfortable in this environment.
With everything we do at Visionnaire Pictures, we always try to push the boundaries while involving things that will get people talking while making sure we please our clients and match or surpass the standard that we have set thus far. It was an amazing experience working on these two videos, so many memories and things to share. I would also like to hand the spotlight over to my cinematographers, Francis Lane on ‘Too Bad Bad’ and Michael MC on ‘Melanin’, super talented guys in their fields. Thank you to New Wave for the opportunity and these are my Key Frames, stay safe.