Mark Ronson‘s music video, Stop Me, has the streets of Los Angeles overflowing with animated tears. The London-based producer and cofounder of Allido Records, London, works with Melbourne R&B vocalist Daniel Merriweather to recreate The Smiths’ 1987 classic, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”.
The video opens with Mark Ronson walking alone at night. Passing a lonely woman, he notices large blue cartoon tears streaming down her face, leaving a trail of puddles behind her. As the song builds and Ronson navigates the city, he encounters more women, each with cartoon tears pouring from their otherwise emotionless faces. The puddles coalesce into streams, the streams into rivers, the rivers into waterfalls, until the entire setting is awash in a rising current of vibrant tear drops. Ronson finally wades through the chest deep water to meet up with Daniel Merriweather, who is also featured in Stop Me. As dawn breaks and the music slows, the torrent of tears subsides and both the eyes of the original woman, as well as the city streets, begin to dry.
Matt Lenski says, “The song has a grand orchestral feel, but also has a real coolness to it. We wanted to capture that emotional outpouring with a really original video, yet introduce elements of satire with the tears. The effects played a major role in supporting the story; as the emotional drive of the song gains momentum, so do these huge cartoon tears. The musical flow and the animation worked really well together to create a totally unified storyline.”
Post production and visual effects were developed at Click 3X, New York, by VFX supervisor/lead VFX/Inferno artist Mark Szumski, additional Flame artists Aaron Vasquez and Yoshiko Hirata, Flame assistant Sarah Cargiulo, lead after effects artist Matt St. Leger, additional after effects artist Tom Matheu, head of CGI Anthony Filipakis, executive producer Jason Mayo and producer Cara Buckley.
Mark Szumski explains some of the VFX background…
“From a VFX perspective, the piece was really complex. It included over 100 effects shots as well as 10 three-dimensional components. We wanted to give the tears — which were illustrated by Todd James (AKA REAS) — a totally unique look and feel, so this involved significant motion testing to create the right flow. Working under really tight time constraints, the real challenge was orchestrating the visual effects with the flow of the song, creating the perfect visual environment to support the depth and emotion of the song without a lot of time to go back and forth.”
Editorial work was done at Now Corporation by editor Owen Plotkin, assistant editor Matt Toder and executive producer Nancy Finn.