Leading digital studio, STEELE, completed work on a colossal show open music video for the Madonna Confessions Tour that recently swept the globe. The eight-plus minute video extravaganza features the singer performing on stage, accented by seven giant screens placed throughout the arena, and introduces the audience to Madonna new song, Future Lovers. NBC will air the concert, titled ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Live to Tell’s, later this month.
As the arena lights dim to open the concert, an eerie underscore kicks up, and the video screens flicker to life. On screen, Madonna stoically strolls through a dimly lit horse stable before turning to the camera with the spoken-word opening of her hit song. ‘I’sm gonna tell you about love,’ she proclaims, ‘Let forget your life?‚àö√ë¬¨‚àÇCome with me,’ she whispers.
‘Aside from the artistic demands for such a creative project, the logistical issues of the show innovative video interaction made for a complex post process,’ said Jerry Steele, co-founder and supervising visual effects artist, STEELE. ‘There are multiple streams of video that play back at once on the giant screens, some of which physically move to form a single picture at a precise moment. You literally can’st be off by one pixel or frame.’
One of the most striking visual effects sequences involves a pair of scenes in which horses rise from the earth at the beginning of the video and descend into the ground at the conclusion. Monique Eissing was STEELE lead visual effects artist on the job. ‘One horse was filmed in multiple plates, each with very specific framing requirements,’ explained Eissing. ‘I created and composited new, single pieces of land and sky so I could line up the horses as desired while not repeating the patterns of each plate. And, because there was dust blowing in the air, a desired design element, the challenge was to comp in new dust and create seamless connecting points among the plates so that it all looks like one shot.’
Even before Madonna live introduction, the opening video takes center stage, as she interacts with horses on screen and performs a hypnotic dance in the stable. While the audience is busy watching the screens, a giant disco ball descends to the end of a catwalk that extends deep into the arena seats. The disco ball opens like a flower, and out steps the ultimate ringmaster, Madonna, riding crop in hand, singing in front of the beautiful images on the screens.
‘I feel very privileged to have worked on this project,’ added Eissing. ‘It was one of the most original and challenging jobs I’sve ever been involved with.”
Acclaimed fashion photographer/director Steven Klein directed the Future Lovers video (via DNA), which was the offspring of his exclusive photo shoot for W magazine, coinciding with the release of Madonna new album, Confessions on a Dance Floor.
The offline was handled by Clark Eddy using Apple Final Cut Pro. Stefan Sonnenfeld of Company 3 provided color grading for the video.
Brian Adler, STEELE executive producer / creative director, commented on the collaboration involved in the massive undertaking. ‘Future Lovers was a true group effort among some of the most creative people in the world: Jamie King show design, Jean Paul Gaultier costumes, Janusz Kaminski cinematography, Steven Klein amazing photographic eye, Clark Eddy visually complex cutting, and of course, Madonna as the inspiration to everyone. We’sre honored to work among such world-class company. Creating the visual effects and putting together all the pieces was an incredible experience, and seeing it come to life in front of a live audience was a huge thrill for all of us at STEELE.’
STEELE conformed more than 50 percent of the program in Final Cut Pro while completing the rest of the conform and effects shots on the Quantel eQ and Henry.
The Confessions Tour kicked off on May 31 in Los Angeles.
Confessions Tour Director: Jamie King
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Costumes: Jean Paul Gaultier and Arianne Phillips
Director: Steven Klein
Producer: Hagai Shaham
Production Co: DNA
Editor: Clark Eddy
Offline Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Post Prod: STEELE
Editing/Effects: Monique Eissing
Executive Producer/Creative Director: Brian Adler
Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld, Company 3