For those who’ve missed previous travel, “R+I Journeys” is a chronicle series that takes you on R+I creative entrepreneurial trips all around the globe.
For this new edition, R+I set up camp in Japan (Tokyo + Okinawa), just after 2013 New Year Eve.
Our mission? Directing the new music video of japanese group M-FLO, “LOVER” – The first single of their upcoming album “NEVEN”, to be released on March 13h 2013.
Yes there is no doubt we are in Tokyo. It is Shibuya with the famous scramble crossing during rush-hour. As cliche as it sounds, it’s a real experience in itself — The district is said to be the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world on a friday night.
For a little introduction, “M-flo” is a producer duo formed in 1999, consisting of VERBAL and Dj Taku Takahashi. It is one of the biggest names in Japanese Music with success throughout Asia.
Emcee/producer VERBAL and his designer wife Yoon are together the fashion power couple behind jewelry brand Ambush worn by the likes of Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Jay-Z to name a few.
They are often referred to as fashion icons because of their iconic aesthetic and growing impact in this industry (Vogue, Louis Vuitton, Doc Martens..).
2. Miliyah Kato, the female voice behind “LOVER”
3. M-flo “LOVER” - Single Cover
4. Verbal & Pharrell Williams on the cover of OLLIE MAGAZINE Jan 2013.
5. Verbal & Yoon Hosting the Maison Kitsuné “Show Business” 2013 F/W Womenswear Collection
6. Lady Gaga rocking Ambush Eye Got Ballz Rings
7. BAPE x AMBUSH
8. Verbal & Yoon with Kim Jones (men’s style director at Louis Vuitton)
Video of Maison Kitsuné F/W 2013 at Pitti W - Hosted by Verbal & Yoon:
New Year’s Eve is basically the family’s, friend, suit & tie type of evening right?
Waiting for the countdown and ready to jump into the new year right?
In our case this meant “celebrating” the end of the Mayan Calendar and the beginning of 2013 on a plane…
If you are a philosopher it could be considered as reaching the sky, hopefully this is a sign for a prosperous year…
January 2nd, 2013 - 9:00am: Landing @Haneda International Airport
Usually our first instinct when we visit a country (that we never had the chance to explore), is to ask local people what they listen to and who are the best-charting local artists.
It helps you get in the mood and give you some insights into what is happening culturally in the market/country.
1. IKOMONO GAKARI
2. MR. CHILDREN
3. KIMURA KAELA
4. YUMI MATSUTOYA
7. DJ KAORI
Heading to AMBUSH DESIGN Office for a meeting with Verbal & Yoon, management and production crew. We discussed the creative concept finalization and the shooting schedule.
The day after our arrival in Japan, we move to Okinawa which is 3 hours by plane from Tokyo.
As you might guess, the main part of the shooting will take place in Okinawa…
The same day, we visited the different shooting locations and planned all the sequence and technical aspects of the video.
The main shooting with Verbal will take place in the “Royal Hotel” — An old abandoned hotel conctructed in 1970. The site is a source of ghost stories and folklore…and indeed we can confirm that…Read more here
We used the RED EPIC for the entire shooting which was divided in 3 parts:
2 locations outdoor in Okinawa and 1 in studio in Tokyo.
Generally, one of the most important aspect of shooting outdoor is the weather.
During our entire stay in Okinawa the weather turns very bad — it was cold, rainy, cloudy and windy. In short, the worst condition you can expect from a shooting.
Fortunately the video’s mood is quite dramatic and these unexpected conditions finally fit perfectly to our concept and push the whole crew motivation to a next level.
The second day of shooting, we get closer to the sea.
The weather was still bad except during one hour before the shoot when all equipment had to be set-up.
Everybody was prepared and nothing has affected our troops.
Even our young and reckless little model stayed strong despite the cold wind blowing.
The third day of shooting, we came back to Tokyo and fortunately the production no longer depend on the weather as the filming took place @ Tacs Odaiba Studio.
Miliyah and Verbal were together for the last day of shooting.
We have immortalized this great collabo through the eyes of the RED EPIC.
The last playback and b-roll sequences were epic moment. You could literally feel this contentment inside of you saying “the job is quite done”.
Back to the office where the serious things begin.
We only have 15 days to deliver the final piece and hit the deadline.
Regarding the workflow, we basically used Premiere and After Effect for the edit and then graded the video in Da Vinci Resolve. We also used Filmconvert to add some texture to few sequences.
15 days later the hard drive which contains the final piece/master is ready to be shipped back to the label AVEX and hit Japanese TV…
Officially released on february 6th, 2013, the “LOVER" video and single is already Number #2 on the Japanese iTunes Singles Charts…Yes, R+I love JAPAN