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.


Production Company
Production Company: Smuggler
Directors: Brian & Vanessa Beletic
Executive Producer: Sue Yeon Ahn
Producer: Cat Restrepo
Director of Photography: Max Goldman
1st AD: Anthony Dimino
Editorial: Work Editorial
Editor: Biff Butler
Editorial Producer: Rebecca Baker
VFX Production
VFX Production: The Mill
Executive Producer: Anastasia Von Rahl
Producer: Sumer Zuberi
Production Coordinator: Michael Novo
Shoot Supervisors: Steve Cokonis, Dan Warom
Line Producer: Goutham H
VFX Creative
VFX Creative: The Mill
VFX Supervisors: Steve Cokonis, Dan Warom
2D Artists: Alex Candlish, Tim Rudgard, Phillip Ineno, Jeff Langlois, Romany Yavorsky Lenz Kol, Yukiko Ishiwata, Katerina Arroyo, Gavin Marler, Lisa Kim, Mangesh Borkar, Mayank Shekhar Tiwari, Rahul Roy, Rajeshkumar K, Srilakshmi Narasimha Kondepi
Additional 2D Support: Rakesh Venugopalan
3D Artists: Freddy Parra, Lalida Karnjanasirirat, Stefan Kang, Graeme Turnbull, Michael Lori, Elizabeth Hammer, Danny Garcia, Umesh Namdev, Anirudh Sharma, Kiran Prabhu
Matte Painting: Shannan Burkley, Vinod Shantaram More, Sandipan Majumder, Swarup Panigrahi
Animation: Gustavo Gonzalez, Katie Yancey
Design: Tim Devlin, Anastasia Skerebneva
Art Department: Kevin Diaz
Mocap Operator: Isiah Den Beste
Colour: The MIll
Colourist: Matt Osborne
Colour Producer: Blake Rice