Just a little over two weeks ago, Alex Lee, a student in the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department, released a video called Tokyo Slo-Mode on Vimeo. It’s already been viewed over 450,000 times and grabbed the attention of sites like Hypebeast, The Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed, to name just a few. The Briefs caught up with Lee recently over email to chat about the project.
How long did it take you to make Tokyo Slo-Mode? Were there any challenges?
It took me about three months to shoot. I could have done it faster—maybe in two weeks—but it was summer, so I decided to take as much time as I could. It was just a personal project at first. Editing took quite a while, only because I was converting footage to super slow motion. It was an extremely time-consuming process which required a lot of my patience and attention. The biggest challenge was definitely choosing which shots to use. By the end of the summer, I had about 24 hours of footage.
What do you hope people take away from the video?
I love it when people take away something totally different from what I expected. I had a few comments from people where they just came up with such different ideas and had totally different perspectives. I want this video to produce different emotions and thoughts. I also want people to take away the fact that Tokyo is a beautiful place—but I’m sure people already knew that anyway.
Were you surprised that it went viral?
Very surprised. I am my own worst critic, and since I edited for so long, I was starting to feel like it wasn’t any good. I didn’t re-watch it for a long time, maybe a week or two—only then was I able to really appreciate it. Still, I didn’t think it would get featured on some of the big sites that it did. It was crazy when I was browsing Hypebeast, only to find my video there—totally surreal.
What’s next for you?
I have many upcoming projects, it’s amazing. I was just asked to join the team for the BMW Guggenheim LAB, and I’ll be working on a promotional video that is going to be premiered on a massive projector in Miami. I’m also working on a huge fashion video with Skye Nicolas, and I’ll be flying to Berlin to shoot a coffee commercial. In addition to that, I’m editing a few things here and there for different production companies in New York. However I still need to work on school projects . . . and also make music videos for a few bands. I’m actually really excited for my next short film for my production class.
Above image: Still from Tokyo Slo-Mode.