Mirada Creates ‘Dark Horse’ World for Katy Perry’s New Music Video


Last Updated: March 5, 2014 6:48 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, California--March 5, 2014) Katy Perry's latest music video for the hip hop-infused #1 hit single "Dark Horse" is a bold, Egyptian-themed cinematic epic created by storytelling studio Mirada. Starring “Katy-Pätra,” the video is a larger-than-life tale that follows the legendary “Queen of Memphis” as a parade of would-be suitors vie for her heart.

It can be seen here:

Beyond the traditional size and scope of a music video, “Dark Horse” rivals the grand-scale of a major motion picture with reimagined Egyptian motifs that build a mythical landscape defined by stylistic juxtapositions that mirror the track’s fluid mix of sexy vocals. While much of the action was captured in-camera on stage during a rapid two-day shoot, Mirada pushed the video’s aesthetic to new heights with intricate 3D character assets, FX particle and fluid simulations and visual enhancements to key moments within big live-action sets and sprawling digital matte-paintings.

Working closely with Katy Perry, Director Mathew Cullen and Capitol Music Group SVP of Creative & Video Danny Lockwood, the Mirada team — led by Creative Director Izhak Roitman and Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Ashton — designed, and delivered 127 visual effects shots for the “Dark Horse” music video. As Roitman explained, “The design process started with playful references pulled from great sci-fi movies, combined with the vivid color on old album covers like ELO and Iron Maiden. Then we took those and mashed them up with hip-hop culture for a more hyper-real, more immediate look and feel.”

“Mirada has delivered on many levels for our recording artists, especially with Katy Perry. I’m consistently impressed by the creativity and commitment their artists display with each new project,” said Danny Lockwood, Capitol Music Group SVP of Creative & Video. “Mathew Cullen and Mirada took ‘Dark Horse’ to another level and helped create a stunning visual world which is distinctly Katy and very entertaining.”

From creating giant Egyptian pyramids and architecture, building and animating a talking sphinx, to recreating the exotic Nile River, integrating elaborate matte paintings, and turning men into dust, the team of gifted Mirada artists yielded all the incredible visuals in just eleven days. As Ashton put it, “The project was an adventure in the truest sense of the word. We had an excellent team that embraced the story and pulled together to make a very big, unique film in a very short period of time. A perfect storm indeed.” Tools used include The Foundry’s NUKE, Autodesk® Maya, Chaos Group V-Ray®, Side Effects Houdini, Pixologic ZBrush, Andersson Technologies SynthEyes™, Autodesk® Flame® Adobe® Photoshop®, MAXON CINEMA 4D and Adobe® After Effects®.

The “Dark Horse” video marks Mirada’s third collaboration with the pop superstar, having also created the videos for the jungle-themed “Roar” and the candy-coated “California Gurls.” Though a massive undertaking, Mirada built on the creative shorthand developed over previous collaborations with Katy to achieve the project’s ambitious-and-epic scale. “Dark Horse” is the third single off Katy Perry’s PRISM album and her ninth US number one hit.

About Mirada
Mirada is a studio designed for storytellers. Founded by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and partners, the studio is creative sandbox with a robust, nimble technical engine: equal parts design, visual effects, animation, and interactive company, and creative and technology incubator. Mirada opened in 2010 with narrative tradition at its heart and innovation as its engine. http://www.mirada.com

Katy Perry "Dark Horse"

Client: Capitol Music Group
SVP of Creative & Video/Producer: Danny Lockwood

Production Company: Motion Theory
Director: Mathew Cullen
Director of Photography: Shawn Kim
Production Designer: Jeremy Reed
Executive Producer: Javier Jimenez
Head of Production: Ben Leiser
Producer: Dawn Rose

Post Production Company: Mirada
President: John Fragomeni
Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent
Creative Director: Izhak Roitman
VFX Supervisor: Andrew Ashton
Creative Director (Teaser Video): Vanessa Marzaroli
CG Supervisor: Julian Sarmiento
Post/VFX Producer: Derek Johnson
Post/VFX Coordinator: Kate DeCrosta
Designers: Luke Belderes, Clara Moon, Jing Zheng
Head of Production/Director of HR: Tina Van Delden
Modelers: Ryan Taylor, Tadao Masuyama
Zbrush Modeler/Sculptor: Yeen-Shi Chen
Animator/Rigger: Emanuel Druckmann
3D Generalists: Timothy Hanson, Brandon Lester, Stuart Scanlon, Jeremy Ontiveros
CG Lead: Brandon Thomas
Matte Painter: Gizem Ersavas
AE Artist: Claudia Yi Leon, David Park
Houdini Artists: Todd Dufour, Charles Storniolo, X Ray
Tracking Artists: Graham Herbster, Jared Sanders, Shelby Stong
Roto Artists: Megan Gaffney, Meredith Hook
Nuke Compositors: Dave Abuel, Montana Casey, Sean Cox, Dave Damant, Rachel Dunn, Daniel Raschko, Mark Robben
Flame Artist: Andy Davis, Miles Kinghorn
Sound Design: Michael Vargas

Editorial Company: Mirada
Editor: Doug Krise
Editorial Assistant: Kayla Emter

Color Company: Incendio
Colorist: Clark Muller
Producer: Christina Caldwell
Data Assistant: Luis Silva


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