David Knight - 31st Aug 2020

After making the era-defining This Is America, Hiro Murai's next music video project was always going to be a big deal. And this does not disappoint. Murai's collaboration with FKA Twigs is an action-packed epic affair, embracing Chinese martial arts. It is a brilliant, and beautiful - and brutal - showcase for the artist's unique talents.

In characteristic Murai style, and with the help of regular collaborators like DoP Larkin Sieple and colourist Ricky Gausis, the grittily mundane is transformed into something breathtaking. As with so many of his music videos, this is shot entirely at night and again Murai shows his mastery of the specific atmosphere that night creates in the quieter parts of a cityscape. And in this case, the city is London.

In a late night café, Twigs encounters a male alter-ego (played by Teake), and their assignation quickly becomes violent. A terrifying swordfight begins within the cafe, with Twigs' and her rival's athleticism taking them headlong through its shopfront window. Then their fight moves across quiet suburban streets, via the swooping, sensual movements of Wushu martial arts - so the conflict begins to hint at a complex backstory to their relationship/rivalry. But within the café again, at close quarters it gets brutal again and there is an extraordinary outcome - arguably not for the fainthearted. 

This climactic moment, where Twigs is divided by a samurai sword, is the most obvious contribution of VFX in a piece which, as with much of Murai's work, employs extensive VFX without drawing huge attention to itself. He worked in close collaboration with a team at MPC in Los Angeles to create those crucial sequences. Not only the choreographed fight sequence across buildings, epic smashes through shop windows, and that dramatic final scene, but digital matte painting was also used throughout to enhance the gritty backdrops.  

The result is a majestic piece of work, a reminder of Murai's phenomenal body of work in the medium. The same applies to Twigs. It is further evidence that she is a great action hero(ine) in the making.

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorHiro Murai
ProducerJason Cole
ProducerDanielle Hinde
ProducerBrad Weston
ProducerAnita Gou
ProducerHiro Murai
ProducerNate Matteson
ProducerMichael Stirton
ProducerFKA Twigs
UK ProducerNicole Powell
Director of PhotographyLarkin Seiple
EditorLuke Lynch
Editing companyParallax Editing
VFX CompanyMPC
ColouristRicky Gausis
Grading companyMPC
VFX DirectorMichael Gregory
Other creditsSound Design/Mix - Trevor Gates MPC VFX team: Executive Producer - Elexis Stearn Senior VFX Producer - Nicole Saccardi VFX Coordinator - John Edson Production Manager - Sanchit Soi Production Coordinator - Sririthika Iyer VFX Supervisor - Toya Drechsler CG Supervisor - Corinne DeOrsay VFX Set Supervisors - Zdravko “Zee” Stoitchkov, Jim Radford Bangalore Head of 2D - Siju Murugan Prep Lead - Ragesh Ramachandran Roto Lead - Mahendranatha Reddy Tracking Lead - Siva Priyan Seetharaman FX Artist - Jinguang Huang Lighter - Mason Dash Modeler - Christian Sanchez Compositors - Andy Roberts, Navid Sanati, Hector Cabrera, Luis Artigas, Peter Ulukpo, Balakrishnan Ramadoss, George Gijo Peter, Nanda Kumar Perumal Pillai, Stevenson G Prep Team - Alex J., Arulanandhan P, Jaswan Vishnu Prasath Balla Mohan Rao, Jayakumar R, Padmapriya K, Veerapandiyan Devendhiran Rigging - Gretchen Asmar Roto - Ravisankar S, Suvojit Ghosh Tracking - Ankit Dheraj Toppo, Gayathri Sakthivel, Muruganantham T, Muthyalakrishnaiah Doddi, Nithin T K, Sathya Narayanan, Shridhar Bhat, Sreenivasa Aditya, Tejashwini N, Vishal Bhaskar Darkunde Executive Producer, Colour - Meghan Lang Bice Colour Producer - Sasha Pace Colour Assistant - Sam Ziaie

David Knight - 31st Aug 2020

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