A couple of nights ago a close friend of mine, Jesse, gushed over Justin Bieber's new music video, 'Beauty and A Beat'. How it was entirely shot with the new Olympus TG-1 (a point-and-shoot camera) and how I should write a post about it for the site. So, taking his lead I went ahead and did some research on Justin's new music video. I started by looking for a behind the scenes video for the project. The Dance Lifestyle Channel, posted an exclusive behind the scenes video featuring Justin and co-director, Jon Chu. The behind the scenes footage reveals some contradictions to Olympus's claim that the entire video was shot with the Olympus TG-1. When, in fact, it looks to be at least partially shot with what looks to be a GoPro Hero 2.
UPDATE 11/7/2012: Olympus has reached out to us and informed us that the language on the Australian website has been revised. The original wording was called an error by Olympus representatives. See their update.
Posted on Olympus's Official AU blog here: LINK
Now usually I wouldn't put much stock into something like this, but I noticed that Olympus has been using the music video as its primary marketing campaign for its TG-1 model, as shown on their official website. In fact, it seems like the news of Olympus's triumph over the teenage heart-throb's rough use of the camera has spread virally, hitting several photography blogs with absolutely no mention to GoPro. The actual video itself looks to be either sponsored by Olympus which they have a clear disclaimer on their website saying it was not endorsed by the Bieber (see image below); or Justin just really has a thing for Olympus and out of the kindness of his heart threw in a free heavy product placement for the camera... yeah I sincerely doubt that.
By now you're probably wondering to yourself, 'why do I care and what's the big deal'? Well, the big deal is that this music video has indeed broken a world record. It broke the world record for the most Youtube views in a 24 hour period as confirmed by Vevo on their twitter account. So, for Olympus to claim that a video that broke world records was exclusively and entirely shot on their camera, is to say the least, misleading at best. Wouldn't it be nice if GoPro got even an ounce of credit for some of the footage?
Okay, so now I have your attention, but you're probably still a little skeptical that the video footage was shot with a GoPro instead of the Olympus. Perhaps the GoPro was only used for behind the scenes footage to be used at a later date. Well, let me show you some evidence that a GoPro was used at least in a few shots of the actual music video. Below I will be referencing both the official behind the scenes video and the actual music video and comparing the two. I am going on the assumption that everyone reading this post can differentiate the Olympus from the GoPro. I downloaded both videos and brought them into Adobe Premiere so that I could properly analyze each frame. I will show both videos in their entirety at the end of this post.
Piece of Evidence #1
Starting at 0:33 of the BTS video we can clearly see Justin holding a monopod with a GoPro and what looks to be a LED light on top in a waterproof bag. <---(I'll get back to the LED light in a bit). Justin is walking down the partially submerged runway towards Nicki Minaj with a couple of dancers diving off of the runway. This matches up to the footage shown in the actual music video that is a continuous shot starting from 2:49-3:03.
Official Music Video Starting at 2:49: http://youtu.be/Ys7-6_t7OEQ?t=2m49s
Piece of Evidence #2
This is probably the most substantial evidence that the GoPro was used for the footage of the actual video. In the BTS video from 0:53-0:55 seconds you can see a cameraman operating a GoPro while Justin dances with a group of backup dancers in the pool. In fact, if you look closely at the beginning of the clip you can see Justin handing the GoPro off to the cameraman.
Official BTS Video Starting at 0:53 :http://youtu.be/v50wyNzuFeg?t=52s
This footage matches up almost perfectly with the music video in a dance routine starting at 1:49-2:03. If you watch both closely you can see that his clothes match, the position of all the backup dancers match and most importantly, that the choreography matches up.
Official Music Video Starting at 1:49: http://youtu.be/Ys7-6_t7OEQ?t=1m49s
Piece of Evidence #3
So, in this screenshot taken of the BTS video at 1:43 we can see the cameraman holding up a GoPro with an attached LED light. The light from the LED is hitting up against a slate to help keep track of shots for syncing purposes. If the GoPro was merely used for behind the scenes footage there wouldn't be a need for the slate.
Piece of Evidence #4
Probably the most disconcerting thing for me were the clips scattered throughout the BTS video showing Justin holding up the GoPro next to Nicki Minaj.
The BTS video shows Justin walking around Nicki Minaj holding a GoPro and even briefly grinding against her while holding it, which leads me to believe that the entire sequence with Nicki Minaj's rap cameo is filmed with the GoPro and not the Olympus. I didn't see any BTS footage of the Olympus being used for this particular shot, did you? Which I find weird, because this part of the music video should be one of the most important, surely they would have shot that with the Olympus TG-1, right?
Official Music Video Starting at 3:03 : http://youtu.be/Ys7-6_t7OEQ?t=3m3s
Now, I could nit-pick this video even more than I already have and mention how the underwater footage (that features Justin) matches the murky and softer look of the GoPro Hero 2 compared to the test footage I have seen of Olympus TG-1; or the fact that the muffled sounds from the underwater footage with Justin sounds just like a housed GoPro and is lacking the quick succession of clicking noises that have been heard in test footage for unhoused Olympuses. I will admit, that is pretty subjective. What I will mention is that the GoPro was shown more in the behind the scenes video actually filming scenes than the Olympus was.
Look, I have no doubt that the handheld scenes with Justin are filmed with the Olympus TG-1 (when he's shooting into a mirror and with the crowd and without using a monopod), and I did see one second in the BTS video where the Olympus was mounted on the monopod (at 0:37). I'm sure there were a ton of scenes that were shot by the Olympus, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't used in the entire music video, let alone exclusively. I'm not sure who really is at fault with this, because we don't know all the details. Was this suppose to be exclusively shot with the Olympus, upon a product placement agreement? If so, that would fall on the director, but the disclaimer shows us that isn't the case.
No, I believe this is a product of not-so-honest marketing on Olympus's part. Everyone who has seen this video is under the impression that the music video was shot only with the Olympus TG-1. My friend Jesse, sure seemed convinced, and so did various photo blogs. Again, this may not seem like a huge thing to you, but with Justin Bieber being one of the hugest stars out there today with a massive following, I'm sure Olympus is cashing in big time.
My question is why? Why shoot any of this video (including any BTS footage) with the GoPro if the Olympus is getting the product placement? The only person who can answer that would be Jon Chu. If anything this post just proves how GoPro still dominates the point-of-view market, even if it is unknowingly. I just think that GoPro might be deserving of a little more love and appreciation from the ever so talented, Justin Bieber. Don't you agree?