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KromA Clones Ricky Martin

Los Angeles-based KromA ( created 100 dancing clones of Ricky Martin in providing computer animation and vfx services for JERAMENTO, the pop superstar's new music video. Directed by Joseph Kahn, the video is the latest from Martin's new album ALMAS DEL SILENCIO.

In the video, a sultry young woman (model Jenna Dewan) engages in a seductive dance with scores of identical Martins on a dry lakebed. She wraps her arms around one Ricky, and then is joined by a second, third and a fourth. Ultimately, the whole field of characters, identically clad in T-shirts and jeans, engage in the sizzling dance.

Kahn, whose previous work includes videos for Eminem, George Michael, No Doubt, Aerosmith, U2 and Destiny's Child, shot the video on the Mirage Dry Lake near Victorville, California, and used a cast of some 100 extras as stand-ins for Martin.

In post, KromA's team of artists turned the extras into Martin clones by digitally replacing their heads. For a sequence showing four Rickys dancing with the woman, Kahn shot four motion control passes of Martin dancing with three extras, with the singer taking a different place in the sequence of dancers in each take. KromA artists then cut out Martin's head from three of the takes and composited them in place of the heads of the extras (who were shot wearing green hoods) in the fourth take. "In most instances, that technique worked extremely well but a few times, Ricky's action didn't match that of the extra's," explained KromA lead artist Bert Yukich. "In those cases, we substituted a CG head."

KromA artists created the CG version of the singer's head by mapping moving film images of Martin onto a computer model. Martin was shot simultaneously from three different angles with 35mm motion picture cameras, and sang while the cameras rolled. In post, artists applied textures from the film to a CG model, resulting in a 3D head that appeared to be singing.

For some scenes late in the video showing a large number of the clones, full-body computer models were employed. "A motion capture system was used to gather motion data from a professional dancer," recalled Yukich. "We then applied that data to the digital characters to give each one unique and fluid movement."

KromA employed Avid|DS software for 2D effects, compositing and finishing. The 3D elements were created via SoftImage XSI.

Amy Yukich was exec producer for KromA.