The cloning of Mariah

Thursday 28 March 2002

R!OT provided visual effects services for a new music video designed to appeal to pop fans who can't get enough Mariah Carey. Don't Stop, from Carey's hit Virgin Records release Glitter, features Carey as a trio of singer's backing up rap superstar Mystikal who performs the lead vocal for the song.
The video is set in a nightclub with Mystikal on stage performing for an enthusiastic crowd. On stage left is a trio of back-up singers - all played by Carey. The trio, grouped around a microphone, are not exact duplicates as each Mariah wears a different wardrobe and hairstyle. They also behave differently, playing off one another's performance. At one point the two singers on the outside, stop to marvel at the Mariah in the middle as she lets rip with an incredible high note.
The video was directed by Sanaa Hamri of HSI Productions with R!OT visual effects supervisor Eric Mises-Rosenfeld providing effects supervision at the New Orleans nightclub where the video was shot. Initially, the director planned to shot the elements of Carey against green screen, but Rosenfeld found that there was too little room to set up a screen behind the singer on the stage.
Eric consulted with our compositing team in Santa Monica and together they came up with a solution, explained R!OT VFX production coordinator Diana Young. "They determined that a split screen technique could be used to produce the required plates while meeting the director's creative objectives." Chief among those objectives was making the trick look real. "The idea was to make it appear natural," explained HSI producer Steve Woroniecki. "We wanted something more than just three Mariahs on-stage, they needed to function like a real trio, interacting with one another - so that it wouldn't be easy to see how it was done."
Mises-Rosenfeld played a key role in accomplishing that goal, advising Hamri on what could and could not be done and concocting clever ways to make the three singers appear to be part of the same environment. R!OT's compositing team, comprised of lead compositor Claus Hansen assisted by Stefano Trivelli and Verdi Sevenhuysen, cemented the effect joining the three images together seamlessly and layering them over a background scene that included fans sitting at tables behind the stage.
At one point, an extra crosses the frame between the camera and the back-up trio. "That was one of the things that we thought would make the shot feel real," said Woroniecki. "It took very careful work from the compositors to prepare all of the layers and adjust the lighting and shadows to make it work, but in the end it looks seamless. It's perfect." D. Todd Davidovich produced the project for R!OT.

(Computer Graphics Focus)

Many thanks to Mariah Land.

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