• CGNetworks' Ali Tezel speaks with Chris Harding from Shynola, on the production of the stunning Queens of The Stone Age music video, "Go With The Flow".

    Ali Tezel: Can you tell us a bit about Shynola?

    Chris Harding: Shynola consists of four guys, me (Chris Harding, Richard "Kenny" Kenworthy, Jason Groves and Gideon Baws). we met at art college, and started working together on self initiated group projects right away, all kinds of things, paintings, films, books, we really had no life! After about 5 years we started to get animation work and formed Shynola. we never thought we would end up making music videos, we just wanted to make animated films, but music videos are the best compromise for film makers to try out new ideas and get paid for it, as opposed to commercials, where the director has next to no control over the content of the work.

    Ali Tezel: How long did it take to complete the project?

    Chris Harding: About 8 weeks from it's inception to delivery, I think.

    When we finish a job I always seem to blank it out of my mind, because the work rate is so intense.

    Ali Tezel: How big was the team that worked on it?

    Chris Harding: There were the four of us at Shynola, that never changes. In addition, my brother Tom did the green screening and compositing and stuff in flame at Clear ltd (a london post production house) and I believe he had one assistant helping him out, plus a few 3D guys. That was the real core team, but there were dozens of other people involved in the live action shoot which took place in LA.

    Ali Tezel: How much creative control did Shynola have on this project?

    Chris Harding: Once the band had approved our idea, we had absolute creative control. This is normal for music videos, which is why we like doing them. After the project was completed, MTV requested a toned down version for daytime broadcasting, but aside from that, what you see is precisely what we wanted you to see.

    Queens of The Stone Age "Go With The Flow" music video. click to view larger version

    A wireframe of the band and the truck. click to view larger version
  • Ali Tezel: The video has a very distinctive style , What was your inspiration for this music video?

    Chris Harding: First and foremost, the inspiration came from the band and the song. They're desert rockers, what with their desert sessions side projects and stuff, and the song is just a really driving, non-compromising blast. It's not too hard to see how we came up with driving through the desert! the look of the piece was initially defined by the album artwork, which is high contrast black and red, which we liked very much. We also took influence from frank miller's Sin City, which is of a very similar visual style, and has a real sense of action and aggression that we wanted though worked well with the song.

    Ali Tezel: Can you tell us about how you achieved the 2D/3D blend in the video?

    Chris Harding: Yes, I've just stopped having nightmares, so I feel ok to talk about it. We shot the the band against green screen on the back of an old 60's chevy pickup which had been painted matte black and white. the whole band had been painted black and white too (which they were not amused about), so that we could easily rotoscope them later. we had a woefully inadequate amount of tracking markers on the floor and walls of the green screen, and Clear had to send some of our shots to REALVIZ, who are now using them to demonstrate how good their software is! the environment was completely built in 3d, and we had digital doubles of the band and trucks for the medium and long shots.

    Ali Tezel: Did you use live action footage? If yes, how did it help?

    Chris Harding: It wasn't exactly helpful to have the live action footage, since the video would have been a much simpler process if it was all animation, but the performance from the band would have been a lot less interesting if we had animated them.

    Ali Tezel: Was any previz done before working on the actual shots? How important is previz in a project like this?

    Chris Harding: We did a lot of designs and style sheets and so on, which were essential, since the look of the video is so stylized. We designed everything, right down to the logo's on the truck's gear stick. If we hadn't done this, when we came to do the actual work, we wouldn't have known what to do, and there would have been no continuity.

    Ali Tezel:Can you tell us how the long explosion scene at the end was put together?

    Chris Harding: It is a huge 3D environment full of nurbs cacti, the dancing girls are animated texture sequences on hand placed planes, and the swimming sperm are instanced geometry flowing along curves. The trails of fire and smoke coming from the truck are sprites with animated texture sequences.

    click to view larger version
    click to view larger version
  • Ali Tezel: What were the most technically challenging aspects of this project?

    Chris Harding: The whole thing was a technical nightmare for us. we know how most special effects are achieved in principal, but actually executing them is something else entirely.

    Ali Tezel: What hardware & software were used in the making of?

    Chris Harding: The 3D was done in Maya on PC's. The compositing was done in flame running on a high-definition Octane 2 systems.

    Ali Tezel: Do you think the usage of 3D VFX in music videos will be more widespread in the future? What do you think about the current state of the music video industry.

    Chris Harding: Maybe, maybe not. As the means to add special effects to video becomes cheaper and more accessible, it will be a temptation to more and more directors, but that doesn't change the fact that you have to have a good idea in the first place. I think the music video industry is just the same as every other industry. There is a lot of average work around and a few things are outstanding.

    Interview: Ali Tezel
    Final Edit: Tito A. Belgrave
    Images: Shynola

    Discuss Shynola's 'Go With The Flow' Music Video on CG Talk - Digital Effects Professionals >>

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    From the Creative Editor, Ali "Sheep Factory" Tezel
    Ever since its first launch "Go With The Flow" was one of the most requested music vids on music television thanks to the creative minds at Shynola. Also be sure to check out their website to view more of their work. Until our next feature, this is Ali Tezel .
    Special thanks to Chris Harding for making this interview possible.


    - Sheep Factory -

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