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Black Kite Rocks VFX for the Rolling Stones ‘Angry’ Single

The legendary rockers are back with their 78th music video - tapping Riff Raff’s Francois Rousselet to direct, the VFX studio returned 60s-style rock billboards to the Sunset Strip, using vintage footage and 2D and 3D roto in a drive through the iconic bands’ legendary career.

On the music video – their 78th - for The Rolling Stone’s new single, “Angry,” from their latest album, Hackney Diamonds, the legendary rockers took a trip down memory lane courtesy of the iconic billboards of the Sunset Strip. Black Kite Studios worked with Riff Raff director Francois Rousselet to realize his idea of bringing back the billboards to visualize the band’s incredible history.

The rock billboard scene in Los Angeles kicked off in the 1960s, hand-painted monuments to music icons that would chronicle rock, and of course, The Rolling Stones had theirs. The idea for Angry was to have actress Sydney Sweeney cruise down Sunset Strip in a Mercedes, tooling past larger-than-life Rolling Stones billboards.

Each board reveals an exaggerated and eye-catching piece of graphic art with vintage footage of the band moving, performing, extending out of the frame, and popping out against the sky. Although the billboards are almost all gone, the locations are still around. Black Kite, led by VFX supervisor George Brunt, on-set VFX supervisor Jonny Freeman, and Richard Fearon in charge of the grade, were tasked with bringing them back to the Boulevard.

The video point of view is Sweeney, driving a car along the Strip; the camera moves between a series of billboards, reflecting a chronological outline of the band’s career to the track's pace.

“We took iconic archive footage of the band and used traditional comping and 2D and 3D roto methods to work the moving footage into each poster,” explained Brunt. “As well as the archive footage, there was also new live footage to reflect every stage of the band, with the lyrics of ‘Angry’ as part of the composition of each billboard.”

He continued, “The lyrics of the track were matched to the footage using a combination of lip-syncing and AI. We used 3D lighting to match the plates and replicate the quality and sheen of a classic billboard. The end result had to look slick, and working with different resolution types is challenging. The devil really is in the detail with this type of work, but slick it looks, and we love it.”

Freeman was on set for Black Kite during the one-day shoot on Sunset Boulevard with a camera on the hero car, the team in a truck behind, and LA police escorts in front and behind the action - keeping the famous street clear.

The camera, placed from Sweeney’s point of view, creates the sensation of moving among the flow of the billboards with the rock icons appearing “larger than life” the whole way.

Noted Freeman, “It was essential to get the lighting just right for the VFX team back at the studio, I went on a tech scout the week before and shot lighting reference images to make sure we had additional light passes to help bed in compositions in the final film.”

The promo was shot with Christopher Ripley as DOP on 35mm film, enhancing the edgy LA look.

“This grade was all about bringing out the brilliant LA light with a lot of contrast in the rich color whilst keeping the gritty texture of the film,” shared Fearon. “It’s always a pleasure to work with Francois, and this time was almost an extension of the last Stones’ promo we worked on together, Ride ‘Em on Down. I almost instinctively knew what he wanted, and this was apparent when he saw the first pass and loved it!”

Check out ‘The Rolling Stones: Angry’ Music Video:

Source: Black Kite

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.