Gatson: If you ever look at old musicals, it was always something they bragged about, about how they would do full takes of the routine. It’s kind of like doing a speech: You gotta start with the speech calmly, you get to the middle part, and then you take it on home. Dance is kind of like that too; if you keep stopping it, it doesn’t get its rise like it needs to. You’re probably going to be tired throughout the middle of it, so it’s something about the adrenaline and the magic of performing a piece. That’s what we wanted: We wanted the energy of how you have to push your body to really bring it on home and bring it on to the finish line. That’s the reason why we go see live shows, you know? We see live shows because we see that performer actually go through top to bottom.
Nava: This is something that has since become very much a part of my approach to dance: much like the best scenes in an action movie, you need to allow the shots to be long to appreciate the cumulative effort, to really show people [that] this is not a trick -- this is human beings doing something incredible. That also affected the way in which I recognized that it was important to cover this action. No tricks, not lots of edits -- let people see it. You don't want to keep the camera in just one place, you want the camera to evolve but keep them in frame, so you choreograph the camera moves in relation to the dance.
Gatson: I remember Ebony even on the set, she almost sprained her ankle, but she said, “My ankle’s fine, because I am doing this Beyoncé video.” You were worried because, damn, if her ankle sprained, we couldn’t continue the video shoot. She was so hungry and so driven and so full-out.
Williams: I fell one time and twisted my ankle pretty good, and Beyonce was like, “Stop the music!” right before we finished the song, but I kept going though. We finished the song and she was like “Stop the music, you hurt your ankle!” and I was like “I'm okay, I am fine.” And she was like, “No, let's take a minute, let's take a break.”
What was special about it, too, was that we all had our three directors chairs, and we all sat side by side in our chairs -- she really wanted us to feel like a wonderful trio. So, they sat me in the chair and wanted to go get ice and were so worried that I was hurt, and I said “No, no, no, I don't want ice, because if I get ice then I can't dance!” You aren't supposed to ice your foot and then move right away. You have to warm it up; it's like starting from scratch. I said that I was okay, and she said, “Are you sure? You're gonna feel that tomorrow.” And I looked at her and said, “Beyoncé, I am going to be in this music video. I am about to be in your music video, so I am just fine. We need to keep going.”
Everyone was silent, because they were like, she did not just talk to Beyonce like that! But Beyoncé looked at me and she smiled and started cracking up and said, “You heard her, let's go!” and they were like “Okay, action, we are going to do this again.”
Gatson: I do remember saying, "Will that dance hold the viewer’s attention the whole time?" Think about it: That’s the risk. But that’s what we would always re-edit, rethink, re-rehearse -- let’s make it like that, let’s shoot it like this. Let’s make the ramp be invisible. It was a lot to make the video have that thing, and it worked. People will watch that thing from top to bottom, and won’t take their eyes off of it.