Full-service visual-effects-design facility Moneyshots recently completed work on two music videos for pop group OutKast’s new double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, due out September 23 from Arista Records. The two videos feature separate solo performances from Atlanta hip-hop artists Andre 3000 and Big Boi.
Andre’s "Hey Ya!" harkens back to the early days of rock ’n’ roll and has the artist performing all the roles (lead singer, guitar, bass, keyboard and drums as well as back-up singers). The video was shot over two days at Universal Studios on a stage designed to evoke memories of The Ed Sullivan Show.
Moneyshots consulted on set with director Bryan Barber, who wanted to show all the roles Andre was performing in one continuous camera move. Body doubles were considered for certain wide shots, but it was decided that the only way to capture Andre’s stylized performance was to have him do it himself. Therefore, all the shots, even those where the background performer is out of focus, were turned into effect shots.
"This is definitely the most ambitious motion-control shoot we have ever done and maybe even anyone has done," says Moneyshots creative director Elad Offer. "I think the only reason we were able to actually achieve all this in one day was because Simon Wakely and his crew from Camera Control are some of the most experienced motion-control crews on the planet."
Moneyshots had to rotoscope Andre out of all the many individual passes and then place him back into one master pass, blending and choreographing all the roles. This was done on several Flame and Combustion work stations. A number of green-screen segments were also shot.
The creative concept for Big Boi’s "I Love the Way You Move" video underwent an imaginative and ambitious last-minute makeover when the artist saw what Moneyshots and the rest of the crew had done with Andre’s video. The initial concept was to shoot the artist in an old-style mechanic’s garage and cut away to a New York back-street dance sequence to be shot on Universal’s backlot. That back street instead became a grand ballroom, which Moneyshots digitally created using 2D and 3D elements.
Moneyshots and director Barber decided to go with a generous use of green screen that would allow Big Boi to move from the dark and dirty garage into brilliant and spacious day-dream settings. A locked-off camera was used for all shots so that all elements could later be moved within 3D space, without the corresponding perspective change. All camera moves were accomplished in the computer.
"We relied heavily on the 3D nature of Discreet’s Flame. All these three-dimensional setups were created within Flame with very little help from Maya," says Offer. "This saved us a lot of time because we didn’t have to go back and forth on the approval process. The same artist could take the shot from conception to delivery. The final result had a 2D cut-out feeling, almost like a pop-up map come to life. We also relied heavily on Flame 8’s ability to use high-resolution images which allowed us to be completely free with our CG camera and get really close to objects."