Zouch Magazine caught up with one of Toronto’s up and comers in the music video world, Diana Pop, to speak about her work with rapper Peps C and the Canadian music video industry in general. First, take a look at Diana’s video for Peps C’s “Truth”:
Z – Where did the idea come from for the music video?
Diana – Oh the concept was a bit of a mess. All I knew is that I wanted the video to have an old school feel because of the Pete Rock instrumental, I just didn’t know what visuals to come up with. It ended up being a collab between Peps and I. Since it’s only a 2 min song on a borrowed beat, we both agreed we should shoot something simple and quick. It was supposed to be one of those “in-between-videos” videos. The only problem was, everything I came up with was complicated! We didn’t have a budget either, so we just ended up dissecting each bar and coming up with an appropriate visual for each one – I think that’s exactly what you’re not supposed to do (it’s redundant to show “diamonds” right when the song talks about diamonds). The original concept was actual live-action scenes projected onto the wall; however – as I’m sure a lot of filmmakers can relate – you plan, you plan and when you get to set you realize you need a new plan. After shooting the bench scene, the rest of the shoot day got cancelled for a couple of reasons. In the meantime, I had one of those moments where inspiration slapped me in the face and I told Peps I’m gonna try something else (the graffiti on the wall) – if he likes it, we keep it, if not, we’ll reschedule the rest of the shoot. And surprise! He liked it. I also think it works better, since graffiti is an elemental part of hip hop culture.
Z – What was the technical process?
Diana – The technical process involved creating the graffiti in Photoshop – bringing the elements into After Effects and motion tracking them into the footage. There’s some scenes that involved some frame-by-frame rotoscoping (and questioning my career path at 2 o’clock in the morning). Colour-correcting this was a bit difficult because while shooting, I played with the exposure a couple of times (rookie mistake), so I had to even out the brightness and contrast from shot-to-shot in Final Cut Pro. The next step was taking it into Color to give it that yellowish tint for a vintage look, and finally, I applied a colourful vignette in After Effects. I blended those until I was happy with the look and added some grain on top to give it more of an organic film look. I swear I’m not a hipster – I was just channeling an old-school look to do justice to the Pete Rock instrumental.
Z – What is your opinion on the Canadian Music Video scene?
Diana – Because there’s a lot of funding available, the Canadian artist and filmmaker are surrounded by opportunities, so I think that’s very cool! To be honest, the videos that have been impressing me lately haven’t been directed by anyone Canadian, plus I don’t watch TV so I’m a little uninformed on this – I promise I’ll do my homework next time. What I did notice though, at least where I’m starting from, is that the hip-hop music video scene is filled with mediocrity and “same old same” – a lot of it has to do with the music too (as much as I love hip hop, it’s hard to come up with original concepts for yet another song about cars, clothes, hoes). Then again, there are more artists and filmmakers in the business than ever before, so originality is becoming more rare and more valuable. I think that’s what we’re struggling with, worldwide. From a technical perspective, we’re better than we’ve ever been. We have VFX at our disposal to bring even the most impossible vision to life, but originality, man… It’s hard to make yourself stand out in a saturated market. Some people resort to being different just for the sake of being different, but does that really work? I tend to respect artists that find a way to be genuine in their work. I think every person has a unique perspective and experience of the world, and learning how to tap into that and communicating it truthfully, is the way to originality. Other than that, I’m gonna go Google some Canadian music video directors so if I ever get asked that again, I’ll have a more informed answer.
Download all of Peps C’s music for free at: http://www.datpiff.com/profile/Peps_C