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STEELE Makes a Pass at Norah JonesVFX Specialist Combines 15 Color Passes to Create Seamless “One-Take” Video
STEELE kept Grammy-winner Norah Jones looking sharp and beautiful through its delicate work in posting her latest music video Those Sweet Words. Visual Effects Supervisor Jerry Steele used a Quantel eQ to combine more than a dozen color correction passes ito create a striking and seamless look for the clip.
HSI director David LaChapelle used a Sony HDW-F900 camera on a Steadicam rig to shoot the video in a single, uninterrupted take. The video is set inside a Karaoke bar with Jones performing on an almost bare stage. Looking on is an eclectic group of bar patrons, including a trans-gendered person and a group of Japanese businessmen, who each react to Jones’ soulful singing in their own, unique way.
Shooting the video in one take posed a number of challenges for post production. “Shooting the video this way means there is just one lighting set up,” explained Steele. “Rather, dynamic scene correction had to be done as a part of the post process.”
The video was processed through 15 separate passes of color correction to set the look for various elements within the frame. There were separate passes, for example, for each individual character. Steele was then tasked with combining all of these takes into a single, seamless image. “We work with multiple passes on a lot of projects, but in this case it was a huge challenge because it was a continuous camera shot,” Steele observed. “There was no point where we could transition in and out…it all had to be done very gracefully.”
Steele also used the eQ to subtly affect focus. “The director wanted to draw the viewer’s eye to specific parts of the scene at certain times,” said STEELE executive producer Brian Adler. “However, it was shot with an HD camera using a fixed-length lens that had a very large depth of field. Everything looked sharp and clear. Jerry blurred certain elements to make it look more like a film scene and to direct the viewer’s eye to the key element in the scene.”
One of the most difficult elements to correct was a large video screen situated in the center of the bar and displaying a video image of Jones performing. “The lighting that was used in the room combined with the fact that the screen itself is a high intensity light source caused the image to burn out,” Steele noted. “We had to separate and roto elements within the screen image in order to bring out the details.”
Jo Steele was senior executive producer for STEELE.
Rebecca Skinner and Scott Kaplan produced the video for HSI.
STEELE Inc. is located at 1437 Seventh Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. For more information, call (310) 656-7770 or visit www.steelevfx.com.
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