YBN Almighty Jay’s come up story was the inspiration for the first video in a trilogy for the artist, made in collaboration with Atlantic Records
It’s no secret that we love making music videos. We get to conceptualize new ideas and use techniques not normally required in our commercials or corporate videos. Our music video for YBN Almighty Jay’s new track Battling My Spirit is a perfect example of what happens when ECG cuts a bit loose. What really drew Director Jason Sirotin to the project, however, was the deeper, more emotional lyrics of the song. The video needed to reflect that, and Sirotin’s concept hit the mark. In part one of this music video trilogy, Almighty Jay would walk through his chaotic world, battling his past, present, and future.
Naturally, we had a quick turnaround for these videos, so we had to work quickly and efficiently to get it done. Producer Muriel Lee started scouring Atlanta for the right location. Working with the creative director, they looked for locations that resembled the outskirts of Houston, where YBN Almighty Jay grew up. They finally settled on an abandoned warehouse space in Atlanta’s East Point neighborhood. The decaying buildings on the property actually lent a poignant aesthetic to every shot. Plus, ECG’s super talented animation squad was able to composite the Houston skyline in the edit. No travel needed!
With a location locked, it was time to get the right gear. Director of Photography, Sebastian Chamaca, knew he needed a setup that would allow him to execute a long tracking shot and orbit 360 degrees around a few performance shots. He decided to go with a RED Monstro 8K mounted on a ReadyRig + Freefly Movi combo. The rig allowed him to have better control over the camera movement, since most of the weight would be off his arms. He also looked like a badass cyborg on set, which is always a plus.
Sebastian’s favorite moment from shoot day could have also been the most frustrating. In the middle of an intricate performance shot with a lot of moving pieces, his monitor arm fell flat and he lost picture. Since it was such a long shot, he kept going, hoping everyone watching at village wouldn’t notice. His instincts were right – the shot turned out great and no one noticed a thing.
While the original idea was to create the video from one long take, once in the edit, we realized how many cool shots we wanted to show off. This also aided in keeping the energy up throughout the video. Once the assembly edit was complete, Sebastian hopped into the edit to add the final touches. In AfterEffects, he created unique transitions and anachronistic glitch effects to cut between the artists performance shots and the flashbacks to his childhood. The result is a powerful music video, both visually and emotionally, that’s already garnered 190K+ views on YouTube.