New York-based Cause & [Effect] director Allen Cordell imagines an extraordinary world where colors and shapes appear as living organisms in a new music video “Lazuli” for dream pop duo Beach House. Shot in Brooklyn, NY, the video features a man, a woman and a boy encountering supernatural forces that transport them to an otherworldly dimension. Cause & [Effect] executed “Lazuli” entirely in-house, ushering the futuristic vision from the initial concepting phase all the way through an extensive post production process.
The Cause & [Effect] team was able to utilize a variety of their extensive in-house creative talents, providing direction, editorial, design/animation and visual effects. Cordell pitched Beach House on the effects-heavy concept, tying in key visual motifs requested by the band. Notes Cordell, “I liked every aspect of this project—it was exciting to be able to try out some new things. I enjoy that there aren’t any rules with music videos, so you can experiment and tell stories in new ways.” Over a four-day shoot, the team spent half of their time on location in various Brooklyn settings and the other half in-studio, capturing the practical footage for the VFX shots. Careful rigging and rotoscoping were employed to film the girl dancing in mid-air. Aided by the performer’s professional dance background, the team was able to capture footage that gave the composited image a believable ‘flying’ look in the CG world.
Art Director Justin Acree, who led the visual effects team, was instrumental in bringing the sci-fi/fantasy concept to life. The CG smoke looming throughout the video was done with Maya, with all compositing done in After Effects. The fantasy worlds were visualized by Cordell and Acree and executed in LightWave and Modo with compositing in After Effects.
“Lazuli” opens on a lone man drinking at a bar. We cut to a ragged young boy walking the streets of Brooklyn, rummaging around for food followed by a young woman sitting in her living room watching a TV show featuring a guest from another dimension. Next, Beach House duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally make an appearance as shadows in the vibrant and unusual setting. Bright colors and shapes surge across the screen before we’re taken back to the living room where the young lady turns off the TV and walks into the kitchen.
In the kitchen, a carton of eggs sits on an island. While the young woman digs through the cabinets, the eggs begin to rhythmically explode one by one, yolk splattering all over the room. We cut between the confused young woman peering into this alternate dimension through her refrigerator, the lone man blankly staring into space at the bar and the boy kicking around garbage on the streets.
Frustrated and famished, the boy is suddenly graced by an enchanting table boasting a lavish feast in the middle of the urban alley. While he voraciously devours a chicken leg, he stops to stick his hand out in front of him and with the slightest touch, he shatters his reality and is thrust into the alternate universe. In her living room, the young woman is moving through spellbound dance, seemingly guided by an outside force. At the bar, the lone man becomes entranced by a cloud that draws him in closer and closer, growing rapidly.
The music video reaches a climax as each of them are suddenly engulfed by clouds of smoke in their ordinary universe, followed by a futuristic triangular icon encircled by two crystal balls, resting on an ethereal bed of orange and purple clouds. The video closes with a shot of the young woman being ushered into the hallway entrance of this alternate dimension on her living room armchair.
Production Company: Cause & [Effect], NY
Director: Allen Cordell
Producers: Matthew Snetzko, Michelle Cuccuini
Post Producer: Jeff Wolfe
Executive Producers: Jason Zemlicka, Jamie Hubbard
Starring: Kira Blazek, Ronald Thomas, Peter Boustani and John Brodeur as the Man from Another Dimension
Director of Photography: Richard Kim
Editor: Allen Cordell
Visual Effects, Animation and Design: Justin Acree, Tim Lines, Pachy Sarmiento, Ishraque Nazmi
Production Designer: Sara K. White
Colorist: Tristan Kneschke, Exit Editorial
Color Facilities Provided by: Pleasant Post
Assistant Editor: Brock Bodell
1st Assistant Director: Vladimir Bourdeau de Fontenay
1st AC: Greg Pace
Wardrobe: Laurie Isabella
Hair & Makeup: Christy Diane Smith
1st Gaffer: Ivan Castillo
Key Grip: Ling Mai
Art Department: Nick Ducassi
Rig Removal and Additional Compositing: Kris A.
Rotoscope: George Zeis
Production Assistants: Brad Trocki, John McCarten, Mary Howard Ade, Kavitha Surana
Special Thanks: Rob Schroeder, Georg Kallert & Lodger Films, The Call Box Lounge, Chuck Stern & the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Jacob Robinette & Embody Language Studio, Brooklyn Fireproof/Nut Roaster Studios, Jason Foster, Hanna Furrey, Alfie Palao, Alan Lampert, Leslie Yoon, Forrest Heidel, Tonianne Fleig, Barney Murray, John Vernon, Sean Patrick Kelly, Allie Hess, Adam Dooling, Morgan Blair, Laura Leanne Wilson, Helen Elizabeth, Bob Dolan, Sophia Peer, Erica Magrey, Jimmy Joe Roche