BRTHR is a duo of filmmakers, Kyle Wightman, and Alex Lee. The origins of the duo, and subsequent aesthetic, came about in 2013 when the two released their first video, “Tokyo Slow-Mode”. Now based in Tokyo and New York, BRTHR continually pushes the possibilities of video editing and has a fully realized aesthetic that is seldom seen anywhere else.
BRTHR has gained acclaim both in pop culture and niche internet groups from their combination of vaporwave, cyberpunk, retro film grading, and golden age Hollywood to create an aesthetic that is completely unique. They describe their work as a mashup between pop culture, energetic style, cinematic moments, and arresting 3d visuals. For the purpose of this blog I’ll be calling this the “BRTHR aesthetic”.
Converse X Keith Ape – Diamonds – Still shot courtesy of http://brthr.net/converse-x-keith-ape-x-brthr
The BRTHR aesthetic grew out of MTV era music videos. Large scale productions, Like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, have influenced BRTHR. The aesthetic itself is complex and often feels big budgeted like the music videos of the 80’s. The aesthetic also pulls heavily from early 2000s pop culture. This area is associated with the Y2K aesthetic. It is characterized by loud colors (bright pinks, etc.), and computer age technology. The aesthetics’ roots can be traced as well to indie cinema and stop motion art from designers such as PES.
The Weeknd – In the Night – Still shot Image courtesy of http://brthr.net/the-weeknd-in-the-night
A key element of the BRTHR aesthetic is the use of retro film overlays. All their works utilize 35mm, super 8, and vhs film. Light Leaks and film burns are also common. These components are overlaid on videos or photographs which gives them a distinct distorted and choppy feeling. Creating distortion using these techniques has been subsequently adopted by countless directors and designers. Asap Mob’s creative collection “AWGE” is notorious for having been influenced by BRTHR and this stylistic element.
Travis Scott – Butterfly Effect – Still Shot Image courtesy of http://brthr.net/photo
Another piece that helps to form the BRTHR aesthetic is the use of vibrant color palettes and grimy color grading. The presence of neon and bright colors are present throughout the entirety of the duo’s portfolio. These colors give their pieces a futuristic feeling, almost as if you’re watching the visuals of 2075. The color palette associated with this aesthetic is often edited to have a grimy appearance. The colors, while vibrant, often appear weathered. A huge part of the BRTHR aesthetic is the relationship between old and new. Specifically, making old artifacts and cinematic techniques feel modern. The grimy color grading upholds this by taking traditionally futuristic palettes and making them feel classic.
No 4mat for Dissolute Records – “Midnight in Tokyo” – Image courtesy of http://brthr.net/photo
BRTHR has created projects for huge name artists. Some of which include: Joji, Lana del Ray, Travis Scott, and The Weeknd. They have also created advertising campaigns for Adidas, Spotify, Yves Saint Laurent, Samsung, and Instagram. In all of these productions they have applied their unique aesthetic. High profile projects, such as those mentioned above, have led to their aesthetic being adopted by the mainstream. This, ultimately making it an “aesthetic”. The list of creative directors and editors that have been influenced by this style is countless.
Adidas – “Crazy” feat. 21 Savage, Playboi Carti, and Young Thug – Image courtesy of http://brthr.net/photo
This aesthetic has become so recognizable that anyone in the creative editing industry can tell in a glance when a project has been created by them. While the aesthetic has been incorporated into projects from big to small directors, it seems that it can never be perfectly replicated. This, in my opinion, isn’t a bad thing. The BRTHR aesthetic has given artists the confidence to take elements of culture they love and create something completely new. The BRTHR aesthetic though, is beautiful, and manages to show the future while still evoking feelings of nostalgia.
Lana del Ray – Chemtrails Over the Country Club – Still shot image courtesy of http://brthr.net/lana-del-rey
*All Images Courtesy of BRTHR