Music Video: Kelly Clarkson & Brett Eldredge — <I>The Under The Mistletoe</I>
December 14, 2020

Music Video: Kelly Clarkson & Brett Eldredge — The Under The Mistletoe

LOS ANGELES — Ingenuity Studios (, which has locations in LA, New York and Vancouver, recently completed work on a new holiday video in which they animated superstar Kelly Clarkson and acclaimed country singer/songwriter Brett Eldredge. The Under The Mistletoe video debuted on December 10th and was directed by Jay Martin. The Christmas song is brought to life through visuals that follow several budding holiday romances under a single roof. 

The project was created in a hand-drawn 2D animation style, and was supported by Unreal Engine and After Effects to achieve the right look, including atmospheric glows and sparkles. Puppetry was used to show realistic human movement and perspectives, with hand-drawn details woven in to bring warmth and energy to the characters.

With a runtime of 4:14, the project took six weeks from inception to delivery. The Ingenuity team included 
owner/EP/VFX supervisor David Lebensfeld, owner/VFX supervisor Grant Miller, executive producer Kieley Culbertson, director of design & animation Alex Popkin, animation supervisor Vinod Krishnan and producer Francesca Orrach.

“I love working with Ingenuity Studios because I know they'll deliver what I need, and I know it's going to be great,” says director Jay Martin. “These kinds of projects have challenges and hurdles - yet the Ingenuity Studios team always perseveres. Dave Lebensfeld is super hands on, and his team takes his lead.”

The team had a tight schedule,” Martin recalls, “and had to create the animatic with the storyboards, then hand everything off to animators. So, the animators had a lot of freedom, but not a lot of time for revisions. That actually made it fun because it had to happen so fast. Ingenuity's animation supervisor, Vinod Krishnan, and his squad were so great. They nailed all the little beats."

“We've worked with director Jay Martin before on videos for Tiësto and Dzeko with Preme and Post Malone, as well as for Shawn Mendes, and others, so, we have a great camaraderie and he trusts us to go above and beyond,” notes Ingenuity Studios’ David Lebensfeld. “Plus, his storyboard background helps us all communicate clearly. We always enjoy working with Jay!”

Lebensfeld says the Ingenuity team used Unreal Engine to give the house perspective from all angles quickly. Artists then added life and personality to it.

“Unreal eliminated the need for background artists to have to figure out all of the perspectives,” he explains. “They had the freedom to just draw, which is really fun for an artist…I have to add, we could not have executed this without Vinod Krishnan, our talented animation supervisor. He brought a lot of heart to this project while he kept the animators on track.”

“When this project arrived, we were working on one of the holiday music videos we're doing for Dolly Parton,” adds Ingenuity Studios’ Alex Popkin. “We are happy to be helping to spread so much holiday cheer this year! We were able to achieve the result that we wanted for Under The Mistletoe, with its steep schedule, by leveraging our studio's strengths, hiring terrific additions to the team, like animation supervisor Vinod Krishnan, and by blending technology often used in 3D productions along with 2D software.”

The studio also used Toon Boom Harmony, in addition to Adobe After Effects and Unreal Engine, to complete the job.