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Hidden Cameras

A52 removes cameras, repaints backgrounds for new Mick Jagger video By DMN Staff Writer
Mick Jagger (click image for larger view).
As Mick Jagger winds his way through various L.A. locations in his new music video "God Gave Me Everything," viewers watch from a fixed perspective gazing up at him. What they don't see are a special camera rig used for the intercut wide-angle one-shots of actress Shannyn Sossamon, song co-writer Lenny Kravitz and Jagger, which were removed by visual effects/broadcast design firm A52.

A52's job on nearly 90 shots in the video also included replacing backgrounds and repainting wardrobes. All told, well over 300 man-hours worth of artistry were produced within five days by A52 staff artists and an impressive group of freelance visual effects artists.

The track is the first single from Jagger's Virgin Records solo release "Goddess in the Doorway," which arrived in stores on Nov. 20, and the video first aired on MTV on Nov. 14.

Lenny Kravitz, in shot before cameras were removed. (Click image for larger view.)
Same shot, after removal. (Click image for larger view.)
A52's work was done for Anonymous Content and director Mark Romanek. The approach conceived by Romanek, who has won multiple MTV, Grammy, Clio and Billboard Music Video awards -- called for this fixed perspective throughout, and ultimately required the use of a five-pound super16 Aaton A-Minima camera with a custom built carbon fiber rig that allowed it to be mounted directly onto each star for his or her scenes.

"We started loving the wider shots, which were from the head down to the knees," explained Anonymous Content's project producer Aris McGarry. "In those shots, there was a rig in the frame, coming out towards the camera from their hips. Also, even though we'd modified the clothing to wrap inconspicuously around the rig, the clothing needed some work.

Kravitz, in before shot. (Click image for larger view.)
Same shot, after removal. (Click image for larger view.)
"A52 reshaped the clothes and also removed the rig and painted the background in behind where the rig had been," McGarry added.

A52's intensive efforts filtered directly through Romanek, who oversaw the project all the way through the post process, and were orchestrated by A52's project visual effects supervisor Dan Sumpter and A52's project producer Leighton Greer. Together, managing the workload by dividing it up among Sumpter and seven other artists, the team worked in two Quantel Infinity suites and a discreet flame* suite both day and night, plus two discreet inferno suites that also burned the midnight oil.

"I think they succeeded very well in an extremely tight time frame," McGarry said. "The fact that they were able to coordinate their team quickly and have multiple suites running at once was what allowed us to deliver on time. I really got a sense of them going all out to deliver."

Commenting on the overall process and the seamless end results, McGarry continued, "It took us a long time to convince everyone that using only one type of shot wasn't a risky proposition. Then you've also got to realize that Mick had to work for 12 hours a day carrying a camera. He wasn't pleased at what he had to do to get the shots -- but he was very pleased with the finished product."

"God Gave Me Everything" is the third music video to unite Romanek with A52 and Dan Sumpter. The others were for "Sleepwalker" for The Wallflowers and "Do Something" for Macy Gray.

A52's project team was led by executive producers Darcy Leslie Parsons and Rick Hassen and producer Leighton Greer, and also included project visual effects supervisor and Infinity artist Dan Sumpter, inferno* artists Brian Battles, Tim Bird and Dave Sarbell, Infinity artist Marla Carter, flame* artists Edward Black and Mark Alan Loso and online editor Scott Johnson.

In addition to director Mark Romanek, the production involved Anonymous Content's executive producer Sheira Rees-Davies, producer Aris McGarry and production manager Tony McGarry. Jeff Cutter served as director of photography.

Editorial credit goes to Rock Paper Scissors, whose team consisted of executive producer Linda Carlson, producer Tatiana Vasquez, editor Adam Pertofsky and assistant editor Valerie Thrasher.

To see the video, go here: www.darnellworks.com/a52/jagger.htm

Established in 1997 as a home for the very latest high-end computer graphics technologies and the world's most talented graphic design artists, West Hollywood's visual effects and broadcast design powerhouse A52's goal is to create award-winning imagery for the world's most visually ambitious commercial and music video projects.

Recent projects include spots for Levi's (recent Shoot Magazine "Top Spot of the Week"), Jeep (Gold World Medalist at The 2000 New York Festivals Television and Cinema Advertising Awards) and BMW (AICP 2000 Visual Style honoree, along with Jeep "Hand"), Toyota (winner of two Clios, plus 2000 International Monitor Award for "Best 3-D Animation") and Nike "Freestyle" (recent Shoot Magazine "Top Spot of the Week"), as well as music videos for the Wallflowers, A Perfect Circle, Macy Gray, 'N Sync, No Doubt and Mick Jagger.

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Related Keywords:visual effects, broadcast, A52, Mick Jagger

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