Jack Johnson's new video 'From the Clouds': Watch it here -- EXCLUSIVE

jack-johnsonImage Credit: Emmett MalloySurf-folk hero Jack Johnson’s new video defies gravity. Literally. In fact, Johnson finally becomes so mellow that he floats through the air.

Okay, not really; he never touches ground in the clip, but that’s due to a few dozen leaps from a 40-foot diving board and a special slow-motion HD camera.

Still the video for “From the Clouds,” the third single from his fifth studio album, To the Sea, making its debut here exclusively on EW.com, was initially up in the air itself. “This video feels like it’s so late after the album came out, I even forgot it was happening at first,” the singer-songwriter tells EW in his low-key drawl. (To the Sea dropped in June of last year.) “Then my manager, Emmett Malloy, called me up and said that it was doing pretty well on radio, so we decided it would be worth doing it.” And here is the result:

Johnson, 35, last seen sparring with Andy Samberg in the barroom brawl vid “At or With Me,” has a long history as a visual artist, going back to his days studying film at UC Santa Barbara, working as a second camera operator on Limp Bizkit and Foo Fighters videos in the ‘90s, and shooting his own surf documentaries. Though Malloy is credited as director on all Johnson’s videos, the Hawaiian native claims it’s more a directorial partnership, going back to their days when he would shoot film and Malloy would edit.

For “From the Clouds,” Johnson had initially thought of being photographed while skydiving and then lip-synching the whole song to that one drop. “But then I figured I’d have to have some guy strapped to my back, and that wouldn’t look quite as cool,” he muses. So instead he and Emmett found a 40-foot diving board at an Olympic training pool in Mission Viejo, Calif, where a similar effect could be achieved just by filming, in extreme slow-motion, his somersaults through the air. To get enough footage, Johnson, who plays acoustic and electric guitar on the track, jumped off the diving board 50 times, experimenting with backflips and belly flops. “I ate crap a few times, but it was really funny.”

If it doesn’t look like a pool, that’s because they turned on Jacuzzi-style bubble vents to break up the surface of the water and minimize impact.  At the precise moment he’d jump off, he would try to burst a water balloon so that the camera, shooting at 6,500 frames/second,  would capture water droplets splashing off his face. But it didn’t always go as planned: “Emmet threw one balloon right at my face, and we have a pretty funny shot—we didn’t use it—where it’s a slow-mo water balloon explosion right on my face. I’m sure it’ll make it on the website at some point.”

Film buffs may recognize an inherent similarity between “From the Clouds” and the opening of Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, during which a dreaming Marcello Mastroianni flies through the clouds until lassoed out of the sky. Johnson had the same idea: “We ran out and grabbed a rope at the hardware store. I would jump with a rope tied to my foot, and then run it in reverse. I didn’t push it real hard, because R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ video already references that scene.”

Johnson says that this will most likely be the last single from To the Sea, and he’s not currently working on another album. So that means “From the Clouds” will have to last you for a while.

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  • Hv

    I never have understood what all the fuss about Jack Johnson is. It isn’t that his music is bad, it isn’t, just that it is so completely ordinary. The only thing remarkable about it is that is is so throughly unremarkable.

    • colormehappy

      If you have to ask you don’t deserve to know.

      • QED

        You make so much sense it hurts my head! If only more people listened to you then less would listen to Jack Johnson, which any real fan of his music definitely would want!

    • Rich

      Then please, don’t listen…you don’t get it !

    • Jal’s

      You will never understand, just stop trying …

    • brian lima

      Hv, you are way too complex a person to understand that sometimes ordinary, simple, unremarkable things are sometimes warm and welcoming in such a complex and unordinary world. something made you watch and comment on the video…

      • JJ ALL THE WAY

        AMEN!!!

      • JJ ALL THE WAY

        that comment was for what “brian lima” said ^

  • kcman110

    not bad

  • wings

    weird but cool video!

  • MARINA

    SUPERB AND TREMENDUS,,,,,,,,,LOVE ME

    • Ramzi

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  • Anthony

    I will bug you and bug you and bug you every week, until you bring back the top 20 album chart in your magazine. Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!

  • Anthony

    Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!

  • Anthony

    Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!Bring back top 20 album chart!!

  • Anthony

    Get the point?!

  • Luca Green

    its awesome…the clip the lyrics…but how many people actually understand or comprehend what jacks singing about? in my experience not many.

  • Barbara

    Jack is a genius through the simplicity and charming personality

  • delta

    I have been a fan of Jack’s for years now. If you don’t like him, so just don’t listen. Jack’s music is pleasure and sensitivity with a calm presentation.

  • Sebastian

    its music that gives you a feeleing of relaxation, a feeling that you would only feel if you were at the beach :)

  • John

    I am a long time musician. I have written large complex peices, I have played epic classic well known complex music. However, there is something to be said about simplicity and quality. Music is truly written for enjoyment. That of the composer and that of the listener. It seems that millions of people like the works of this songwriter, and I agree. It is really enjoyable music. So you go Jack Johnson! Keep on selling your music. I’ll buy!

  • RoRoIzzy

    Absolutely. If you don’t understand why he has such an incredible following—don’t listen. I hate system of a down, so I don’t listen or comment on their videos. Love the calm feeling I get listening to this song and every other… I love the simple yet amazing sound he brings to the world- full of peace and harmony.

  • Jean

    makes me want to get up and dance……… Oh, I did

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