I've always loved Clifton Chenier. My mom used to put his records on when I was little, and my fascination for the "King of Zydeco" has never waned.
When Chenier went into the studio he'd say, "when it's red, it's gold." That is, when the recording light was one, he'd make a gold record. He worked his whole life recording in one take. The sound of his fingers clack on the accordion keys knowing he'd only just stepped into the booth is fantastic.
We got another discussion of one-takes in the car world now that GYM5 is out, showing Ken Block's attempt to sate the world's collective lust to see hoonage on San Franciscan streets. StreetsideStig focused on what's really important about the video, and the rest of the discussion gives a good sense of where car culture is going.
I'm a bit tired of all the "one take" complaints. The money and logistics involved in shutting down so much of any city for one day would be staggering. Nobody, not Christopher Nolan or Michael Bay, could do that.
And no, he probably couldn't do all of that in just one take. He's not a robot. He makes mistakes. Some of them are even featured in this video (gasp).
The early films blew us all away, and Ken wanted to make more. So he was left with two options: Do the same thing again, or do something more visually impressive. He chose the latter. It required certain sacrifices. It changed him from a showboating kid hooning around on an airstrip to a film making business man.
But I'm okay with that for a few reasons.
First, because this is still extremely awesome. No matter how many takes this required, there are exactly three people within the combined spheres of any of us who could actually pull this off. Yes, Block has moved beyond the role of "authentic" hooner, but he still has incredible skill.
Second, because if I want to watch authentic hoonage, I can watch the countless videos that have risen up to take gymkhana's place. Their quality is always getting better, and they're pushing boundaries, too. Block made a way for these guys, punching a hole into a whole new market.
Third, because that market is growing. Love him or hate him, Block has made 10,000 new gearheads this morning. He didn't even have to hire a bunch of sub-par actors to star in a crappy movie. He just showed what you could do with a car if you put enough work into it. The end result is awesome, and fatherless 12-year-olds everywhere now have dreams.
So I don't give a crap whether or not they shot the thing in one take.