Equal parts beautiful and surreal, this could only be Björk’s new music video. The ethereal promo for Lionsong, directed by Inez and Vinoodh, celebrates the physical release of her new album Vulnicura and the opening of the Icelandic artist’s exhibition at Museum of Modern art in New York.
Tackling all the VFX for the six minute video in just three weeks, our NY team created two main effects in the stars and the glowing embers that surround Björk, as well as enhancing the video’s other-worldliness by extending her legs to unnatural proportions.
“Everyone jumped at the chance to work on a Björk project,” says compositor Matt Pascuzzi, who got involved early on with CG supervisor Andy Rowan-Robinson. “She had some fantastic ideas about what she wanted, and supplied some beautiful initial reference that had a painterly style not dissimilar to traditional religious iconography, of characters covered in starlight. That, along with the existing album artwork by Inez and Vinoodh, created gave us some pretty beautiful reference to work from.”
The audio was used to drive the position of the stars and embers in some instances, but for most shots a system was developed to track her movements not in traditional 3D tracking software, but with Nuke. Many of the usually undesirable tracking errors that would traditionally be removed were then deliberately retained, knowing they would produce the more natural and organic effect desired, rather than create digitally perfect stars.
The body tracks drove dense point clouds that pivoted around her, used in conjunction with Nuke's particle effects system and our in-house tools to create the cloud of lights, which in some cases were then enhanced by the FX team to interact directly with Björk.
“It was refreshing that track accuracy on this job was not a defining factor in the success of a shot. In fact it was more the opposite, had many 'happy accidents' while creating these shots that ended up as beautiful final imagery,” adds Matt.
Many of the shots were given unique grades. Björk was never shot in silhouette for example, so the look was altered on those shots because the lights would read better across a darker, more silhouetted background. We also added microscopic feel to our effects sequences to contrast the other, very bright white shots.
“Having an opportunity to work with such incredibly talented and creative individuals as Inez and Vinoodh and getting to collaborate with them on a music video for Bjork no less, was a real treat,” says Matt. “I am immensely proud of our New York compositing and 3D teams who put in a lot of extra hours, and in every sense, did this job for the art.”
“A lot of ideas went into this job and a lot of members of the team contributed their own creative twist to things. It's been a definite highlight to have so much input and to have your work displayed in MoMA,” said compositing lead Corrina Wilson.