Motion design and production collective Lightborne recently created a visually compelling music video for Notch, an up-and-coming reggaeton artist. “Dale Pa’ Tra (Back It Up)” features the singer performing his upbeat Latin-inspired track with the right infusion of gorgeous women, brilliant colors and eye-popping visual effects.
The video marked the first collaboration between Director Jimmi Dava of Superfly Films and Lightborne, which was executed on a tight deadline. “I was really impressed by Lightborne from the facility itself, which is a beautiful piece of architecture, to their enthusiasm and love of their craft. I would absolutely love to work with them again. In fact, we’re in discussions on another project.”
Dava and Producer Kesshann Cortez of KMC Productions, who has an existing relationship with Lightborne, approached the studio in a crunch: they needed a company that could step in at the last minute and execute the 3D freeze effects they envisioned. Dave Irion of Lightborne provided on-set supervision during the one-day shoot in New York City. Dava then flew to Cincinnati-based Lightborne where he supervised the edit, graphics, VFX and color correction over the course of four days.
“Jeremiah [Shuff] is the pimp of editors,” says Dava. “I think I’m going to adopt him. [Producer] Rochelle DuBrowa was fantastically supportive on the operations front, and [VFX Supervisor] David Lombardi and the 3D artists are all talented and incredible to work with.”
Cortez adds, “Lightborne is one of my first choices when I have projects that include any kind of effects. I’ve had a relationship with [Executive Producer] Scott Durban for some time, and I knew that he and Lightborne would do a great job. We were going for a specific effect, and Lightborne was able to create and execute it perfectly. Many music videos are light on the effects especially if they have a lower budget. We wanted to really focus our efforts on the effects and create something more original and buzz-worthy for Notch, who has a multi-cultural following.”
The video was shot mainly against white and black cyc. Dave Irion used a digital camera to capture details and textures that would later be used for the 3D push-ins. Back at Lightborne, Shuff and Dava then selected six key moments in the edit where the freeze effects would happen, which were transferred onto HD footage to better allow David Lombardi and Eric Lawshe to work on the 3D.
With less than three days, the artists separated the shots into layers – some of which had five to six planes of information. A few frames before and after the freeze moments were grabbed to use as textured source material that was then modeled onto a rough geometry for immediate feedback as to how the angle and move looked.
“We could get textures that were hidden in the freeze frame when the camera panned around,” explains Lombardi. “The tricky part was filling in the textures –some of which I had to hand-paint. Usually we try to use a unified package in terms of technology, but since this was a fast turnaround, we opted for each of us to use the applications we were most comfortable with. With this pipeline, we had the shots completely under our own eyes the entire time.”
Lombardi used Photoshop for the hand-painting, Lightwave for animation and Fusion for compositing while Lawshe utilized Cinema 4D and After Effects.
After Effects was used for the color correction, finishing and halo color effect on certain shots by Irion. Lightborne also added animated flames around the women’s silhouettes, and created the animation at the end of the video, which sees a microphone cable curling up the mic stand and transforming into Notch.
“This was a super abbreviated schedule, but we were able to give them what they wanted,” concludes Irion. “The label was pleased with it, too. It turned out very well.”
Project: “Dale Pa’ Tra (Back It Up)” by Notch
Label: Machete Music & Cinco Por Cinco Records
Management: Michael Michele & Simone Burton
Production Company: KMC Productions/Los Angeles & Miami
Director: Jimmi Dava
DP: Zuess Moran
Executive Producer: Michelle Lazzarino Cortez
Producer: Kesshann Cortez
Art Director: Tyndall Arrasmith
Where Shot: Broadway Stages/Brooklyn, NY
Editorial, VFX & Postproduction Company: Lightborne/Cincinnati
Editor: Jeremiah Shuff
Assistant Editor: Trevor Schulte
On-set Supervisor/Lead Animator: Dave Irion
Designer/Animator: Kyle Shoup
VFX Supervisor: David Lombardi
3D Artist: Eric Lawshe
Executive Producer: Scott Durban
Producer: Rochelle DuBrowa