Framing Justin – director Michael D Ratner on the fine art of making a fan film capturing Justin Bieber’s mammoth Covid-safe concert

“It was supposed to give you a real inside look at this unique moment in time where live events weren’t really happening.” – Director Michael D Ratner.

With Justin Bieber: Our World director Michael D Ratner delivers a super-slick concert film marking the pop mega-star’s return to live performance following a Covid-enforced three-year break.

Spectacular stage sequences and behind-the-scenes moments capture the effort and energy involved in staging a massive concert before a small live audience and a global online viewership.

CEO & president of multi-platform production company OBB Media, founded with brother Scott, Ratner has also directed two remarkable documentaries for YouTube:

Seasons, which covered the dark side of Justin Bieber’s career, including his battles with drugs and depression; and Dancing With the Devil, an extraordinarily frank and detailed look at Demi Lovato’s near-fatal overdose, mental health battles and horrific history of sexual abuse.

Ratner also directed Next Chapter, a 25-minute doc covering Bieber’s marriage and personal beliefs.

Ratner was kind enough to chisel out a little space in his very busy schedule to speak about the making of Our World, what Bieber is really like to work with and why he is messing with the traditional release model.

Please enjoy.

Here’s a review of the film.

Michael D Ratner interview index

00:00 Introduction; Self description & OBB;
01:10 Hyper-aware of how media is consumed;
02:30 Being “Platform duration agnostic”;
02:42 Story is king;
02:25 How do you shape a fan film?; Addressing Covid;
04:55 “It was supposed to give you a real inside look at this unique moment in time where live events weren’t really happening.”;
05:30 Visual aspect; great editing; cameras everywhere;
07:00 Amount of footage; shooting 35 days straight;
07:55 Was Justin Bieber the de facto director?;
08:20 Issue of trust;
09:10 Creative alignment;
09:30 Pushing back against cynics;
09:50 Sense of freedom after covering dark material in ‘Seasons’;
11:00 What it’s like being part in the Inner Circle;
11:40 Is Bieber normal?;
12:44 The camera as catharsis;
14:05 Disrupting the traditional release model;
15:00 A product of the DIY era.

Justin Bieber: Our World is on Amazon Prime.