LONDON - Black Kite Studios (www.blackkitestudios.com) recenty completed work on the Rolling Stones’ new music video, Angry. Directed by Francois Rousselet through Riff Raff, the video marks the first single of the legendary band’s new album, “Hackney Diamonds.”
The new video features Sydney Sweeney, who cruises down the Sunset Strip in the back of a Mercedes convertible, past giant billboards of the band. Within each board is an exaggerated piece of graphic art, with vintage footage of the band moving, performing, extending out of the frame.
The Black Kite team was led by VFX supervisor George Brunt and on-set VFX supervisor Jonny Freeman, with Richard Fearon handling the grade. The studio was challenged with putting many of these billboards back among the area’s skyline.
The billboards chronologically outline of the band’s career. Rousselet designed all 109 billboards, and the team at Black Kite were able to showcase the band’s dynamic performances using archive footage of Mick, Keith, Ronnie and the late Charlie Watts.
“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,” explains 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 used as part of the composition for each billboard.
“The lyrics of the track were matched to the footage using a combination of lip-syncing and AI,” Brunt continues. “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 for the one-day shoot, which took place 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. The camera was placed from the point of view of Sydney to recreate the sensation of moving among the flow of the billboards.
“It was essential to get the lighting just right for the VFX team back at the studio,” Freeman notes. “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.”
Black Kite’s Rich Fearon, a long time collaborator of Rousselet, was in charge of the color grade. The music video was shot on 35mm film, with Christopher Ripley serving as DP.
“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,” says 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!”