Lights. Camera. Action
Hype Williams is to music videos what the patty is to the burger.
From oldies from the era of The Isley Brothers, Mary J. Blige, R Kelly, Jay Z, Aaliyah, Wu-Tang, Tupac, to artists who have entered the music scene in more recent years like Robin Thicke, Beyonce, Hoobastank, John Legend, Coldplay, Jack White, and across every genre, for generations Hype Williams and director Luis Perez’s joint vision has been the eye through which we’ve seen our favourite songs come to life on screen.
Among aesthetic visionaries around the world who have been influenced by William’s style is local multimedia specialist collective, Studio Space Pictures. The brainchild of creative director, Jiten Ramlal, and businessman Alessio Bettocchi, the relatively new production powerhouse duo are already dominating the video space on our TV screens.
Their style, which often contrasts minimalism with the coarseness of street life, has made them popular for many artists. Riky Rick’s ‘Amantobazane’, DJ Speedsta’s ‘Don’t Worry’, DJ Switch’s ‘Switch’, SPHEctacula & DJ Naves’ ‘Weekned’, Teargas’ ‘Single’ and most recently K.O’s ‘Mission Statement’ are all products of Studio Space.
The team has successfully managed to remain as mysterious as their cryptic logo, which appears before all of their videos. Up until now, that is.
We trolled one half of the duo, Alessio, during the shoot of Teargas’ lead man, K.O’s first solo effort, ‘Mission Statement’, to get the 411 on exactly how they get down on set.
Please take us through the steps from when the concept is born to when you start shooting set.
To prepare properly, the production house & artist need to understand what they want from each other – get the right synergy going. Once you have this, everything else falls into place.
You then develop a treatment, identify the right cast, location and equipment, design the sets and shooting angles, and pick the right date to shoot.
What are the main responsibilities of the major players on set? (director, artist, cast, etc.)
The director's responsibility is to keep the artist & cast focused and confident, and to guide them through the different sets. Additionally, he needs to have an accurate idea of how the set designs, lighting and the performances will lead to great footage.
The director of photography or DOP's responsibility is to translate the director's footage into quality & diverse footage.
The artist's responsibility in my opinion is to lead by example. The artist needs to be the motivating factor behind the cast and to a large extent the production team. Additionally, the artist needs to show professionalism in his work.
Lastly, no production can take place without other key players such as production assistants, make-up artists and stylists who know their trade.
What camera do you use to make sure the video is of the highest quality?
We shoot with RED cameras. Other important equipment includes diverse lighting equipment, diversity in lenses and a strong editing suite.
What was the concept and look were you going for regarding the ‘Mission Statement’ video?
Although Studio Space Pictures was heavily involved in the production of Mission Statement, it was KO's ideas and vision that allowed us to develop the right elements for this video. He takes his trade very seriously so I believe he wanted a video that would allow people to connect with where he comes from whilst giving the viewer a visually exciting experience.
In terms of the look of the video the aim was to deliver a mature, sophisticated video with beautiful dramatic landscapes and a palette that brings out the richness in texture.
How long did the editing process take after the footage was shot and what does the process involve?
It was a hardworking and dedicated process. We wanted to make sure the K.O felt 100% happy with the edit and I must say he was a very dedicated and contributing team player. It took a while [Laughs].
What is the most challenging aspect about creating a good music video?
I would say keeping everyone on set focused and open-minded. Artists need to take risks when it comes to our suggestions in order to achieve things they wouldn't normally do.
As someone who knows the entertainment industry well and also provides platforms for artists, how important is it to have accessible platforms for artists to showcase their talent?
Extremely important. The only way for all us to grow is to support each other. We can only benefit from having this outlook on life. South Africa makes unbelievable music and we should all be more supportive of our talented local artists.
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