The new music video for Grammy award winning guitarist Steve Vai, was shot on URSA Mini Pro 4.6K and completed in DaVinci Resolve 15, including editorial, color and visual effects.
With the single titled “Dark Matter”, Vai’s vision for the music video incorporated diverse alien landscapes and a peculiar, other-worldly feel. “I wanted to do something special,” he begins.
Teaming up with Moai Films and director Lukas Colombo, it was soon realized that a unique approach to both filming and post production was required. “I wanted each band member to play at different speeds,” explains Vai. “So we really made use of the variable frame rates on the URSA Mini Pro. Phillip Bynoe, our bass player, was filmed playing to the track but twice as fast, so when watched back his movements are really slow.
“For the drummer we did the opposite. We shot him very slow, so when brought up to speed his actions look really interesting and bizarre.”
Most interesting though was Vai himself, who chose a particularly complex solution: “I had to actually learn the song backwards on the guitar,” he says. “It was daunting. You have to completely mirror your perspective because everything is backwards. So when you strum, the tendency is to strum down but that then comes out looking like an up strum. There were all these little complexities, but it was a fun challenge.”
With the entirety of filming done on green screen, the extra-terrestrial landscapes of Vai’s imagination were created by VFX supervisors Bruce Jergens and Nick Torres. “We used a combination of multi planar matte painting and effects within the Fusion page of DaVinci Resolve,” Torres explains. “Creating things such as tall spires as mountains and a glassy still ocean with a fast rolling fog on top.”
Torres particularly enjoyed the keying and matte tools on offer in Resolve. He adds, “There was an extensive amount of cleanup required. Essentially we created mattes with multiple UltraKeys masked together and each adjusted for their respective problematic areas.
“For example, a lot of roto was needed for Jeremy’s drums, cleaning up all the chrome on the drum kit,” continues Torres. “And there were quite a few shots marked with motion blur. Luckily with the nodes in Fusion, we could simply copy polygon masks and effects from one shot to another.”
For the edit, it was the first time Moai Films had relied solely on DaVinci Resolve. “But the switch over was painless,” confirms Colombo. “And now with Fusion built into Resolve, I think we could live almost exclusively inside its walls. The software is already the standard for color in the industry, but I expect it to become the standard for editing, sound and visual effects too. I don’t see why not. Everything you need is there.”