Directors Darren Craig, Jonathan Craven and Jeff Nicholas from production company The Uprising Creative recently collaborated with Rihanna on the new music video for her single “American Oxygen,” which was released on YouTube and Vevo last week. This is their second music video for Rihanna, following 2013’s “What Now.”
The directors’ 2013 project for Rihanna was edited by Clark Eddy, who joined their team once again for “American Oxygen.” Isaac Bauman (who shot Sam Smith‘s “I’m Not The Only One,” Drake‘s “Worst Behavior” and Bored Nothing‘s “Let Down”) served as director of photography.
As the directors explained, the storytelling goals they shared with Rihanna for this project were to dramatically present American history using stock footage of famous and infamous moments.
To assemble those classic clips, Uprising’s team performed exhaustive research, ultimately drawing from more than a dozen sources, including the Associated Press, CNN, Getty Images, NBC and Shutterstock. Of course, a great deal of effort also went into their live-action shoots with Rihanna on two different Southern California locations. The first was an active runway at the airport in Victorville, which was shut down for filming, and the second was Pasadena’s City Hall.
According to Bauman, the choice to shoot using ARRI‘s Alexa camera package was an easy one. “When I shoot beauty work, I always go Alexa because it is more flattering,” he said. “Secondly, I knew we would be shooting outside in the desert, and to capture some silhouette-y, high-contrast footage of Rihanna in front of the giant American flag, I wanted the extra dynamic range.”
“It looks phenomenal, in my opinion,” Bauman added. “We got everything the artist and the directors wanted.”
Key members of Uprising’s project crew included producer Nathan Scherrer, line producer Ben Piety and production designer Brandon Mendez. Additional editing was handled by Vinnie Hobbs and Olly Riley-Smith, while visual effects were courtesy of Skulley FX and Ryan Paterson. Colorist Trevor Durtschi of Ntropic handled final color.