Interview with Evan Bernard / director

What was the location for the ‘Minority’ video?

EB: Two blocks were shut down in downtown San Diego on a Saturday and Sunday for the shoot.

How did you write the treatment?

EB: I went on the road with the band for a couple days and we just talked about ideas. They told me what the song was about and the feeling they were trying to get across. I pitched them three ideas and this was the one they liked.

Who did you work with on the float designs?

EB: Clam Lynch was the Art Director and I have worked with him a couple times. I told him it was supposed to look like a punk version of a Macy’s day parade float.

Did you have a choreographer for the girls with the batons?

EB: No, I did not have a choreographer. One of the girls lead the group. They rehearsed for a couple hours and by the second day they had it down.

Have you worked with Colorado visual effects before?

EB: This is the first video I’ve done with them. Wayne England designed and lit the models. I was nervous because so much of the idea relied on the balloons but I was really happy with the end result.

Why wasn't there anybody else on the street as the band was playing?

EB: That was the concept which for me helped express the mood of the song which was a celebration of being an outsider. The big wide shots were filmed very early in the morning when there weren’t many people out on the street. You can see reflections in some shots but for the most part it was pretty empty. We just recently went back and painted all the reflections out.

How was Green Day to work with during the shoot?

EB: They were really cool and have a great sense of humor. I wouldn’t have written this idea for a band if I didn’t feel like they couldn’t pull off a strong performance. They are great performers and their energy level is always up.

Was it your idea at the end of the video to destroy the float?

EB: Half way through the second day I thought that they should destroy the float. That actually doubled our productivity because it helped the art director strike the set while we filmed it.

Did the band have any input while you were making the video?

EB: I made sure they were involved in every part of the process. They approved the float and the sketches of their caricature which was to become their balloon. The only difference of opinions we had was trying to get Billie Joe not to wear a black sweater. I was afraid that he would blend in with the float too much but he stuck to his guns and it turned out fine anyway. I tried to be as descriptive as possible about what we are shooting.

What is your background in film?

EB: I studied film at Syracuse University and at St. Martin school of Art in London. Then I moved to New York and was a PA for a while. While in NY I became friendly with the Beastie Boys and shot a spec. video for them. They liked it and had me shoot the actual video. I did ‘Root Down’ and it kind of snowballed from there. I ended up doing a lot of videos for Grand Royal the Beastie’s label.

Interview with Wayne England / animation director

What was the process of creating the balloons?

WE: We had a meeting with Evan. We had a concept similar to the Macy’s parade balloons. A character artist drew sketches of the band members. From the drawings I began building 3-D replicas of the characters and that’s how we started.

On location in San Diego, we had reference balloons in the street that served two functions. People in the parade had to hold onto the ropes that were attached to the reference balloons that became the big balloon characters of the band members. The second function was a lighting reference.

Once I did the final animation I had some subtle reflective properties on the balloons that would catch the reflections of the environment. The boxes that I constructed for the digital environment helped with the lighting as well. If I had the sun coming from the direction that it was actually coming from then we would get certain shadows based on the height of the digital replica of the building that was there.

Were there any problems with the animated balloons?

WE: One thing that was difficult was creating the CG strings. They needed to be attached to the hands of the people walking down the street. We had these wires that are moving naturally and the ropes were replicating that movement.

There were a couple of scenes where they were walking along a street but didn’t have any balloons. We couldn’t have the live action balloons because they would have been in the way of the CG balloons. We needed to have digital balloons and ropes that were tracked to the hands of the live action people. They just walked as if they had the strings in there hands.

Interview with Mark Breakspear / compositing

What was the biggest concern with the compositing of the balloons?

MB: Lighting was the crucial key to the balloons. On the day of the shoot the sky was completely white. This raised all sorts of issues regarding the ambient light of the CG models. It is a very difficult factor to play with because when you start boosting ambient light you loose detail. You don’t get as strong shadows or contrast. Making the shots look realistic we had to focus on getting the lighting correct on the CG end before it even came to the compositing. Wayne did a great job!

CG doesn’t have any grain, it is pure color. When you look at it magnified if it’s red it’s very red. We added grain to the CG that matches the film stock it was shot on.

Mathematically a box made in CG would be a perfect box. In reality there is no such thing so we beveled the edge. With the balloons it wasn’t so much a problem because they are round objects. There were times where we blurred the edges of the balloon because the light was so bright and white we basically allowed it to bleed into the edge. That’s the role of a compositor, to make the shot look real.

CREDITS:

Production Company: X-Ray
Director: Evan Bernard
Producer: Keely Gould
Director of Photography: Ramsey Nickell
Animation: Wayne England / Spatial Harmonics
Compositing: Mark Breakspear / Colorado visual effects
Production Designer: Clam Lynch
On-Line Editor: Lewis McKael
Special Effects: George Fitz