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KromA Lights Busta Rhymes' On Fire

KromA used its vfx wizardry to help create a wicked, live-action cartoon in LIGHT YOUR ASS ON FIRE, the latest video from Busta Rhymes. The track comes from THE NEPTUNES PRESENT CLONES, a new album from rap producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo that has Rhymes cackling his way through a delirious rap atop a percussive beat.

In the video, directed by Joseph Kahn of SuperMega/HSI, Rhymes and another man (played by actor Bokeem Woodbine) pursue the same women like a pair of cartoon cats chasing a mouse, their antics enhanced by over-the-top, Looney Tune-style visuals. The two men arrive at the woman's doorstep together, each carrying candy and flowers, and vie for her attention as she does housework. At one point, Rhymes' rival becomes so excited that his eyes pop out of his skull and his heart thrusts back and forth like a yo-yo. Pharrell Williams makes a cameo appearance in the video as a lovesick adolescent.

"Our aim was to capture a cartoon sensibility, only in a live-action world," said Kroma lead artist Bert Yukich. "We modeled the effects after sight gags that have been used in cartoons for decades, and pushed them to the limits."

KromA's work on the project included designing the wild graphic that opens the piece and crafting the numerous sight gags that follow. Artists pulled off the popping eyes and pounding-heart effects by adding computer-animated elements to the live action. A similar technique was used to create an effect in which the teeth of Rhymes' rival pop out of his skull and land on the floor.

Near the end of the video, Rhymes' rival is knocked through the roof of the house and sent flying over the horizon (a woman caught him peeping at her in the bathroom). Artists created the sequence from a static shot of the house exterior by producing a 3D model of the actor (using textures drawn from his filmed image) and animated it through the scene. They also painted his exit hole on the side of the house.

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

Amy Yukich served as exec producer for KromA Pictures.

KromA (www.kroma.biz) is located at 9421&1/2 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90035. For more information, call 310-282-0370.

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