Vfx artist Alex Brodie of Company 3 Santa Monica applied his subtle touch to BABY BOY, the new video from Beyoncé, helping to create a seductive setting for the sultry singer's duet with reggae rapper Sean Paul. Brodie enhanced virtually every scene in the video, affecting lighting and making numerous image manipulations, including adding to the "harem" that surrounds Paul in one of the video's most memorable scenes. BABY BOY, currently topping MTV's TRL Top10, is from Beyoncé's new album Dangerously In Love on Columbia.
Directed by Jake Nava of FM Rocks, the video cuts between Beyoncé and Sean Paul, who are pictured in an array of fabulous, dreamlike locations. Paul performs before a large circular window in the atrium of a oriental-styled home, and later lies on his back in a darkened room surrounded by what appears to be dozens of lightly clad women. In one of many scenes, Beyoncé is pictured floating on her back on a darkly rolling sea.
Nava shot the video in and near a palatial residence in Miami that provided a variety of architectural looks -- from a Japanese garden to an English tea room. In some instances, sets were built, including a large platform stage set on a beachfront where Beyoncé appears with a half dozen other dancers.
Post-production vfx and compositing work was intensive as Brodie altered the look of each setting, although primarily in ways that most viewers will not discern as visual effects. He enhanced or removed the skies from most exteriors so that each one has a consistent, idealized look. He also created lighting effects to highlight the central performers.
"We added smoke effects to the opening shots of Sean Paul and spotlight effects to the bed scenes to selectively emphasize or obscure areas of the picture," Brodie explained. "We did something similar for the scene with Beyoncé on the dance floor. We re-lit the image to make her stand out from the other performers. Since she was dancing, it would have been difficult to accomplish the same effect in camera while keeping the lighting perfect."
Brodie's most impressive achievement involved the harem scene where he multiplied the number of women who surround Paul. His challenge there was not only to make the replicants appear to be different individuals from the originals, but also to integrate them naturally. "It was tricky to get the shadows right and not have them overlap," he said. "As everyone is moving, the shadows, of course, had to react appropriately."
Brodie work was featured in four of five videos that were finalists for Best Female Video at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, including Beyoncé's CRAZY IN LOVE (featuring Jay-Z), which won the category.
Brodie was born in England and is a graduate of Ravensbourne College of Design located outside London. He began his career as a Harry artist with The Mill, London, and later joined FrameStore. At FrameStore, he was part of a vfx team that won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Visual Effects for Hallmark Home Entertainment's miniseries THE ODYSSEY and the BBC documentary WALKING WITH DINOSAURS. He also earned credits on scores of commercials for such advertisers as Nike, British Airways, Häagen-Dazs and the British bank Halifax.
Company 3 Santa Monica is located at 1661 Lincoln Blvd. Ste. 400 Santa Monica, California 90404. For more information, call Stefan Sonnenfeld at (310) 255-6600.