The creative team at Santa Monica’s Timber (http://timber.net) was recently tapped by director Dave Meyers to complete the visual effects for nearly 75 shots of Maroon 5’s new music video, Wait, from the band’s latest CD, "Red Pill Blues" for Interscope Records.
With Maroon 5’s frontman Adam Levine at the center, the music video takes viewers on a multi-dimensional and visually-surrealistic journey through the ups and downs of a complex romance, showing off the studio’s ability to successfully accent an artist’s narrative.
According to Timber creative director/partner Jonah Hall, the studio had about five weeks to complete the work for the video. He says that about half the shots required some degree of visual effects, which ranged from minor adjustments to some big effects.
“For [director Dave Meyers], it was important that the imagery we created felt real and communicated the story clearly,” explains Hall. “The cinematography is gorgeous, so the visuals had to look premium in comparison.”
Hall points to one scene, “of the girls swimming under the ocean with Adam,” as a standout. “It was a part of the video I really embraced as an idea and was determined to visualize.”
When working on a project with Meyers, Hall says, “We start with his treatment. We are usually involved as it gets updated over and over, so we start understanding where his priorities are. There’s a lot of back and forth between us here at Timber and him while he concepts. Usually we cross reference ideas and build the approach together over time. He has very specific looks he’s shooting for so we discuss it until we feel we understand his vision.”
As with most projects, there are some challenges. In this case, Hall breaks it down, saying that first, “Whenever you approach a project like this with so many ideas and images, the biggest challenge is finding the right artists for individual tasks. People specialize and our job is to connect the dots between the ideas and the talent. The second most challenging thing is making people buy off on ideas that you can’t properly represent in an offline edit. There are big holes in the story that either have nothing or a really weak looking placeholder at that stage. People get scared and want to change their mind at that stage. You need to talk them through it and insist that they trust you. It’s an uncomfortable process but you need to stick to your guns.”
Timber employed around 20 artists to complete the video, relying predominantly on Houdini and Nuke. “Those two tools are pretty indispensable,” Hall stresses. Flame was also used to round out the toolbox.
In speaking with creatives within the post community, many share that they enjoy working on music videos in that they offer a greater degree of creativity than some other projects. Hall agrees, that music videos offer an opportunity for his studio to experiment.
“You don’t have a product you’re selling or an agency like you would with a commercial,” he says. “Your job is just to make it cool. Everyone should work on a music video at some point in their life. It’s exhilarating and you’re reminded of why you started doing this type of work in the first place.”
Timber’s lead Flame artist on the video was Chris Decristo. It was cut by editor Nick Gilberg
and posted at Company 3 with lead colorist Dave Hussey.