MPC TEAMS UP WITH DIRECTOR HIRO MURAI ON MARTIAL ARTS-STYLE MUSIC VIDEO FOR FKA TWIGS
The video is for ‘Sad Day’, the pensive song from her latest album MAGDALENE. Beginning in a café late at night, the video follows FKA Twigs as she encounters an unidentified man and they start to sword-fight, breaking out of the café and into the streets. Directed by Doomsday Entertainment’s Hiro Murai, the visually unique video is based on the sensual movements of Wushu martial arts, which is used to depict the complex relationship between the two characters.
MPC worked in close collaboration with Murai throughout, helping to create the choreographed fight sequence across buildings, epic smashes through shop windows, and a dramatic final scene where FKA Twigs is sliced in half with a samurai sword. Digital matte painting was also used throughout to build out and enhance the gritty backdrops.
The VFX team, led by MPC’s Creative Director Michael Gregory, VFX Supervisor Toya Drechsler and CG Supervisor Corinne DeOrsay, helped define the epic final sequence, including the look of the FKA Twig’s anatomy ‘post-slice’. Gregory commented, “We carried out a test shoot beforehand to determine how the split would work and how to practically shoot it. We then modeled her in 3D and split her in two from her waist up. We re-projected the live action over the split model, creating a hollow shell for the CG to go on top.”
Michael added, “It was important that the sequence was not bloody or gory; instead it needed to look beautiful and otherworldly. For her new inner body, we concepted in 2D based on some key images from Hiro, and we then moved into 3D look development, with Hiro’s original vision organically morphing into something that we were all happy with.”
The end result is an ethereal yet warm and inviting material, incorporating the qualities of blooming flowers and glistening elements.
The beautiful film was shot by DP Larkin Seiple and graded by MPC’s Ricky Gausis, enhancing the final piece and looking at each sequence independently. “’As the video moves through the different set ups, Hiro, Larkin and I were given the opportunity to give each one its own identity. In the first two shots we found a really interesting mixed lighting that gives them their own vibe and then we move into the diner where we leant into a warmer and sweatier grade, using a cooler tone coming from the fluorescent lighting to hold on to some color separation and prevent it from becoming a wash,” Gausis commented.
Ricky added, “The warm diner then plays well against the street sequence where we were really liking the rich contrast interacting with a cyan/green environment, where the pops of warm lighting and skin tones were complimented really well.”
This marks a continued collaboration between Gausis and Murai, who have a long-standing relationship, previously teaming up on the renowned ‘This is America’ music video by Childish Gambino, multiple commercials, FX’s Atlanta series and Childish Gambino’s film Guava Island.