Music News

How Taylor Swift shot her new video under lock and key, amid COVID-19

Beth Garrabrant

When Taylor Swift released her surprise album folklore, she also released a music video she directed for her first single, “cardigan.”  Now an article in Vanity Fair details how she managed to make the video despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who’s also worked with Taylor on her video for “The Man,” teamed up with her again for “cardigan.” The clip has three settings: A cabin, a forest and a stormy sea.  But shooting on location wasn’t a possibility, mostly because Taylor didn’t want anyone to find out what she was doing.

So, Prieto tells Vanity Fair, the whole thing was done indoors on an L.A. soundstage, and everyone involved wore a mask and a face shield.  Parts of the cameras were controlled remotely, so Taylor could be shot in close-up without breaking social distancing rules.

The whole thing was conceptualized and shot in a few days, under such secrecy that the song wasn’t even playing during the shoot.

“I had heard it myself, but it was a very, very private, a very secure little thing,” Prieto said of the song. “So that’s why I knew where the scenes were happening, but the crane operator and everybody else wasn’t really privy to it.”

“I really like it when a director like Taylor has a very specific perspective and yet, she’s always listening to what others have to say…,” Prieto says, adding, “[S]he doesn’t have this sort of fragile ego where…the director…is a little dictator. She’s not like that.”

Meanwhile, folklore has sold more than two million copies worldwide so far. It debuted at number-one in the U.K., making Taylor the first and only female artist to score five number-one studio albums in that country in the 21st century.

By Andrea Dresdale
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