Music Video: Pitbull w/Chris Brown — 'Fun'
Issue: August 1, 2015

Music Video: Pitbull w/Chris Brown — 'Fun'

What could be more “fun” than Pitbull and Chris Brown riffing on '80s TV show Miami Vice in their newest music video, Fun, with ice cream-colored suits, fast cars, gorgeous girls, a speedboat, Art Deco hotels and an undercover crime scenario? Even though his drug-dealing girlfriend gets the best of Pitbull at the end, he still looks like he’s having a ball.

Gil Green directed the music video, co-produced by Artists and Derelicts in LA and Green’s 305 Films in Miami ( T. David Binns cut the clip and Beau Leon, senior colorist with Company 3, Santa Monica, performed the color grading.  

Pitbull set the scene for the music video’s concept by simply telling Green, Miami Vice. “I had to figure out how to capture in a one-day shoot the nostalgia of Miami in the ‘80s — the clothes, the look, the Art Deco feel,” says Green. “When you have to shoot so much in one day you try to keep the location moves to a minimum, and we were lucky to find locations that offered more than one option.”

A mansion offered beautiful exteriors — a pool, sweeping modern interiors and a dock for the speedboat sequence. A few blocks away, a grove of palm trees was perfect for the opening shot, which launches a series of titles that replicate the Miami Vice TV show font.

Working with a short turnaround, Green couldn’t get a permit for Ocean Drive, famous for its Art Deco hotels, so he went to what’s known as Little Ocean Drive and a lesser-known Deco property, which DP Thomas Marvel and Washington Arias of Everlast Lighting turned into a colorful, neon-tinted façade. A neighboring hotel provided the moody club interiors.

Marvel shot on Red Dragon, sometimes mounting the camera on a Technocrane and on his MoVI gyro-stabilized system; a drone sported a DJi Inspire 4K camera for the speedboat aerials.

“We were able to make things look super glossy and colorful through lighting and camera movement,” says Green. “We planned the color palettes: the turquoise, pink and purples, lighting the hotel and the guys’ fantastic wardrobe. We captured pretty much everything in-camera, then Beau popped and saturated the colors even more.”  

Since the music video had a strong narrative structure, Green shared his concept for cutting the clip with Miami-based editor Binns, who works on an Avid Media Composer. “After the footage was transcoded, I gave David my notes with timecode about what should go where,” says Green. “We typically work remotely. I can access all the footage on my computer, and scan and look at specific shots, but David never misses anything. We sent cuts back and forth, and four or five days after we wrapped, we had something for the label to look at."

Green also worked remotely with Beau Leon at Co 3 (, something he does frequently with the colorist. Co 3 set up the realtime virtual sessions, which Green accessed on his own Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display. “Some people are on the fence about virtual sessions, but they can work well, especially if you already have a relationship with the client,” Leon says. The two swapped ideas, Leon showed Green graded footage then worked unsupervised, sending Green links to finished scenes to review the next morning.

Leon works on a Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve system. He screened a clip of the TV series to refresh his memory about the show’s iconic look. “It was heavily saturated,” he says. “I needed to emulate that look, bringing up the color and accenting some gels without making the faces look too orangey and cartoony.”

Leon added film grain with CineGrain software. “I add film grain to every job I do,” he says. “I probably added more on this because the original show was definitely shot on film.” He also added sharpness to the images. “TV colorists of that era always sharpened the image — it was the "look of the time.”

Leon’s expertise even came into play for the day-for-night sequence that Green shot to conclude the Fun scenario. “Day-for-night can be tricky. I used some LUTs I built for day-for-night and did a lot of tracking [on Pitbull and the girl] so we can see detail,” he explains.

Blacklist Digital in LA did the conform, recreated the Miami Vice font for the titles, and performed some digital effects on Pitbull’s license plate (so it reads 305FUN) and a model’s faulty footwear. Elad Marish did the sound design for Swell Music.

“The reception for Fun has been awesome,” Green reports. “The song is a big hit, and the video got more than 26 million hits in less than a month on the Internet.”