L.A.-based creative studio Mirada recently helped create Katy Perry‘s latest music video for the Egyptian-themed hit single “Dark Horse.” Starring “Katy-Pätra,” the video is a larger-than-life tale that follows the legendary Queen of Memphis as a parade of would-be suitors vie for her heart.
While much of the action was captured in-camera on stage during a rapid two-day shoot, Mirada pushed the video’s aesthetic with intricate 3D character assets, FX particle and fluid simulations and visual enhancements to key moments within big live-action sets and sprawling digital matte-paintings.
Working closely with Perry, director Mathew Cullen and Capitol Music Group SVP of creative and video Danny Lockwood, the Mirada team – led by creative director Izhak Roitman and visual effects supervisor Andrew Ashton – designed, and delivered 127 visual effects shots for the “Dark Horse” music video.
“The design process started with playful references pulled from great sci-fi movies, combined with the vivid color on old album covers like ELO and Iron Maiden,” explained Roitman. “Then we took those and mashed them up with hip-hop culture for a more hyper-real, more immediate look and feel.”
“Mirada has delivered on many levels for our recording artists, especially with Katy Perry. I’m consistently impressed by the creativity and commitment their artists display with each new project,” said Lockwood. “Mathew Cullen and Mirada took ‘Dark Horse’ to another level and helped create a stunning visual world which is distinctly Katy and very entertaining.”
From creating giant Egyptian pyramids and architecture, building and animating a talking sphinx, to recreating the exotic Nile River, integrating elaborate matte paintings, and turning men into dust, the team of Mirada artists had just 11 days to deliver the visuals.
“The project was an adventure in the truest sense of the word,” said Ashton. “We had an excellent team that embraced the story and pulled together to make a very big, unique film in a very short period of time. A perfect storm indeed.”
Tools used include The Foundry’s NUKE, Autodesk Maya, Chaos Group V-Ray, Side Effects Houdini, Pixologic ZBrush, Andersson Technologies SynthEyes, Autodesk Flame, Adobe Photoshop, MAXON CINEMA 4D and Adobe After Effects.
The “Dark Horse” video marks Mirada’s third collaboration with the pop superstar, having also created the videos for the jungle-themed “Roar” and the candy-coated “California Gurls.” Though a massive undertaking, Mirada built on the creative shorthand developed over previous collaborations with Perry to achieve the project’s ambitious-and-epic scale.