Project Description

Rina Sawayama: Lucid

Bild Studios and Real Good Liars use a virtual production workflow in Notch to turn Rina Sawayama’s dreams into reality for her new music video ‘Lucid’.


Keen to demonstrate the capabilities of their pioneering virtual production workflow, Bild Studios and Real Good Liars teamed up to create Rina Sawayama’s music video ‘Lucid’. Filmed this summer, with strict COVID protocols in place, at MARS – Bild Studios’s own virtual production studio, the production is on the cutting edge of contemporary film production.

Real Good Liars and Rina Sawayama conceived the narrative story at the heart of ‘Lucid’. The story follows Rina as she traverses from her LA. Mansion into a dream world where she meets and falls in love with an alternate version of herself. Creative director Dave Ferner envisioned an illustrative style in his storyboards of the enchanting animated dream world. Real Good Liars got into the design of the world, creating a colour script and blocking out the 3D environments. The scenes were built at a base level in Blender and then textured and lit in Notch for real-time rendering.

‘Lucid’ features flying, reflections, forests and a duplicate of Rina Sawayama. To execute the technically challenging elements, the team at Bild unified a range of hardware technologies such as camera tracking and motion capture in perfect harmony, using Notch and disguise. They even created a few custom tools along the way. For example, a Python script that exports Blender’s Collection Instances as CSV table data arrays that could drive Notch’s Cloner system. These cloner systems are responsible for dense forests made up of hundreds of trees and thousands of animated blades of grass, all fully controlled by the artists and rendered in real-time. Limited by creativity only, the team were able to transport Rina to fantastical worlds identical in composition to those storyboarded by Dave Ferner. The resulting video imbues the pure creativity and endless possibilities of a technically brilliant virtual production workflow.

“The ability to dynamically update any scene quickly is perhaps one of Notch’s greatest strengths. Notch is responsive to the creative director’s vision: colour, beat, sizes, scales – everything is a parameter that can be changed live on the LED MARS stage. Working in Notch we could replicate the director’s style and achieve the same visual quality as you would do in a non-real-time 3D software package.”

David Bajt, technical director, Bild Studio & MARS Studios

“Working with the MARS setup allowed us to achieve the total opposite of photorealism. Sure, photorealism is sometimes useful, but it can also be creatively restrictive. Rather than trying to replicate the physical world as you would see it through a camera, our world contained colours and shapes wilder and more vivid than anything that could exist physically – which we could then capture in camera. It felt magical to be on set – having the power to bring imaginary objects into tangible reality instantly was just an incredible experience.”

Dave Ferner, creative director, Real Good Liars

Client: Dirty Hit / House of Us
Production & Engineering: Bild Studios
Filmed at: MARS Studios
Design & Animation: Real Good Liars
Directors: Dave Ferner & Ksenia Kulakova
Creative Director: Dave Ferner
Director of Photography: James Medcraft
Editor: Una O’Sullivan
Product Manager: Tom Connick
Management: Caspar Harvey, Will Frost
Starring: Rina Sawayama
Technical Producers: Rowan Pitts and David Bajt
Senior 3D Artist / Notch Designer: Dave Ferner
Junior 3D Artist: Cal Weir
Junior Notch Designers: Charlie Smith, Jamie Kenny
Green Screen / Roto: Lucio Cavallari, Cal Weir, Seb Dows-Miller, Charlie Smith, Jamie Kenny
Compositing: Lucio Cavallari, Cal Weir
Grading: Gabriel Xavier @ Priory Post
Executive Producer: Ben Fender
Senior Producer: Eleni WiIlmott
Animation Producer: Rosie Mitchell
Production Coordinator: Caroline Wong
Studio Manager: Ali Owen Thomas

Technical Director: Christian Dickens
Lead Engineer: Pete Dunsby
Lighting Engineer: Rury Nelson
1st Assistant Camera: Alex Bender
Gaffer: Dom Aronin
2nd AC Loader: Andres Claridge
Grip 1 – Jib: Charlie Wall
DIT: Davo McConville
Playback: Jack Driver
Choreographer: Joshua Pilmore
Stylist: Joel Palmer
Styling Assistants: Anairin Kaines, Sacha Lauren Nicette, Mariamu Fundi
MUA: Ana Takahashi
Hair Stylist: Tomomi Ropongi
Assistant Hair Stylist: Charles Stan
Manicurists: Lauren Michelle Pires, Milana Milcanovska
Photographer: Nwaka Okparaeke
Special Thanks: Jamie Sunter, Tom Whittock, Joss Gray, Matt Swoboda, Nerea Castro, Deke Kincaid, Michael Dolan, Matt Cameron
Content Platform: Notch
xR Workflows powered by: Disguise
Camera Tracking Technology: Mo-Sys
Camera Equipment: Focus 24
Screen Supply: 80 Six