Run The Jewels ‘Ooh LA LA’ | Team Interview

Work May 1, 2020

We teamed up with Brian and Vanessa Beletic of Smuggler to craft this music video for the hip hop duo, Run The Jewels for their track ‘Ooh LA LA’ featuring Greg Nice and DJ Premier. The video cameos hip hop legends Greg Nice, DJ Premier and Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha, alongside a legion of dancers, a fleet of hot air balloons, and a mountain of burning money.

“This video is a fantasy of waking up on a day that there is no monetary system, no dividing line, no false construct to tell our fellow man that they are less or more than anyone else.”
Run The Jewels

In creating the massive block party, The Mill’s 3D team used Golaem tools to synchronize dance sequences and transform a group of on-set performances into the thousand-strong crowd. The team also utilized an innovative Xsens motion-capture suit, to craft the movements of thousands of individual dancers. The suit was worn by a performer on-set, dancing in real time, and then that data translated an advanced range of movement which could be used to seamlessly build and blend the live action shoot with the digital dancers.


VFX Supervisor, Dan Warom comments “The video was a hugely collaborative process. Brian and Vanessa Beletic wanted something impactful, large scale and would pay homage to Run The Jewels and hip hop culture. Taking our cues from some classic hip hop music videos, we scaled up a regular block party by about one thousand percent.”


VFX Supervisor, Steve Cokonis adds “This job had a tremendous amount of rotoscoping involved, in order to integrate even more characters into the background. A tool that really elevated the project was the latest Autodesk Flame Machine learning tool-set. This easily enabled us to extract rough mattes for pre-comping and blocking out CG. We also utilized another feature of this machine learning toolset – human face extraction! This allowed us to isolate faces in the crowd and easily apply retouching where necessary.”


From data gained with the technology on set, The Mill’s VFX team was able to manipulate the movements and characteristics of thousands of unique figures throughout the film. With a large back catalog of outfits in The Mill’s library, and the creation of another 30 for this shoot,  a consistent and authentic look was achieved.


Colourist, Matt Osborne comments “For the grade, we found harmony by bringing certain colours to the forefront (i.e. the money, costumes) while pulling other colours back, like the city buildings, to find the perfect balance. This was such a memorable experience and fantastic opportunity to grade remotely with Brian and Vanessa collaborating through my home set up!”⁣


View the full list of credits here.