Renowned music video director Chris Hicky teamed up with DUCK’s animation director Richard Borge for his stylistic animation techniques for the latest video for country superstar Keith Urban. Kiss A Girl, the second release off of the Australian singer’s fifth studio album, Defying Gravity, is the rollicking, upbeat story of two young lovers told through Urban’s trademark catchy lyrics and shown onscreen with a dazzling combination of live-action footage, photo stills, and animation brought to life by a close collaboration between Borge and Hicky.
Hicky tapped into Borge’s style and technique with DUCK’s ever-growing resource pool to lead a large crew of animators, VFX artists, and editors to assemble the multimedia music video. After a bike-riding hipster accidentally runs into a beret-wearing girl at an art museum, they exchange numbers and a romance unfolds through a series of treated live-action footage and stills, in which the new couple texts and enjoys intimate interludes on a park bench and Ferris wheel. The photo real cutaways of the couple”s love story were filmed as photo stills and then brought into After Effects to apply and design a unique treatment.
As the narrative cuts back and forth between the young lovers and Urban’s band rocking onstage in Nashville, animation enhances the narrative, with stick-figure birds fluttering across the cityscape and transforming into hearts, animated power lines, and a fantastic amusement park complete with roller coasters and a tent-filled midway. Borge co-directed and designed the animation and abstract urban treatment applied to the live-action performance footage.
“A project like this is deceptively complicated,” noted Hicky. “What seems like a straightforward stage shot and narrative is actually a multilayered project when the treatment is applied to strike the exact tone that a celebrated artist like Keith Urban expects. DUCK did an awesome job of taking the various types of footage, mixing in the treatment and the FX, and putting together a pitch-perfect final project.”
“DUCK is growing all the time, and this video is a great showcase of our latest capabilities,” stated Mark Medernach, DUCK EP. “When you’re working with a known director like Chris Hicky, you don’t want to disappoint, and I’m really proud of our team for coming through on this one, especially given the high-profile nature of the final product.”
The video’s intro features original art direction and design by DUCK’s directing team YellowShed (Todd Hemker and Soyeon Kim).
Los Angeles-based DUCK, formerly Duck Soup Studios, is a continually evolving creative studio producing commercials, music videos, short films and web content. DUCK offers a wide range of services, including live action and integration, character design, film title design, 2D and 3D animation, digital compositing, digital/traditional ink & paint. In recent years, the studio has expanded, adding an original content division that works with writers and animators on unique ideas for film and TV.
Artist: Keith Urban
Song Title: Kiss A Girl
Air Date: June 2009
Prod Company: DUCK
Live Action Director: Chris Hicky
Animation Director: Richard Borge
EP: Mark Medernach
Art Direction/Design Directors: YellowShed (Todd Hemker and Soyeon Kim)