A first time music video director walked away with the Best Video of the Year award
at the recent South African Music Awards (SAMAs) in Sun City.
The SAMA winning music video for the song It’s Magic by South African band The
Parlotones was directed by Ryan Peimer, which he co-produced with his Flaming
Frames Productions partner, Itumeleng Lobelo.
After The Parlotones wrote the song for pay TV broadcaster M-Net, the broadcaster
commissioned the music video for their Magic campaign. The video is executive
produced by M-Net’s Pierre Cloete and Derek White from Clearwater Productions.
“Derek approached us with a general concept and outline for the video,’ explains
Peimer. “We fleshed out the original concept, converted it into a script format and
then devised a plan to bring the concept to life effectively.’
Peimer notes that the idea behind the video was to create a magical environment
around the band while origami (folded paper) creatures come to life and interact with
“The video builds to its peak when a magical invisible M-Net force creates a powerful
whirlwind as all the origami creatures come together and the entire world
disintegrates, leaving the band wondering whether this was all real or in their
It’s Magic was shot at Q-Studios on 5 September 2011 by director of photography Rory
O’Grady on a RED Epic. “We used the Epic because we needed to shoot at 4k
resolution for keying purposes and we wanted to achieve a filmic look,’ explains
Peimer. “We shot on 4k and downsized to 2k for post, and then to high definition
(HD) for final output. Post-production took about two months.’
The striking visual effects were created by animators Gigh Zack and Dave Theron from
Aces Up, while Clearwater Productions did all the chroma keying, rotoscoping and the
Peimer notes that “everything’ was a challenge. “Considering I had never worked with
3D animation before this project, it was a huge learning curve for us to understand
the technical intricacies and production requirements that come with such challenging
animation work. It was a huge challenge to shoot everything in one day considering
the complexity and timing of all the shots. Directing The Parlotones to react to
objects that aren’t actually there was a challenge in itself.’
The music video was shot against a blue screen and all the animation and creatures
the band members were supposed to react to, were added in post-production.
“Every shot was very carefully storyboarded to accommodate the creatures. I also had
to draft a timing script that would cue The Parlotones to react to certain objects
within their environment at specific points in the song using lyrics as their cue. We
also created certain eye lines so that they would know where to look, and I had a
microphone headset so I also communicated with them during the shoot to cue their
eye lines. Nailing the timing was difficult.’
However, he says working with the well-known band was “an absolute pleasure’.
“There may be a common assumption that many well-established bands carry a
certain arrogance with them, however, this was not the case with The Parlotones. The
band members are such humble, down-to-earth guys who were extremely co-operative
and patient throughout the process, which helped us create a fun and enjoyable mood
Peimer says it was an honour to receive a SAMA as a first time music video director.
“We were up against some serious competition, some really outstanding music
videos. It is always a very humbling experience when you invest time, energy, blood,
sweat and tears into a project and it receives public recognition.
“With regard to our company, Flaming Frames, I hope this award has put us on the
map. It has always been our intention to break cinematic boundaries in South Africa
with every production that we undertake.’
Peimer previously directed a feature length documentary, a few short films, corporate
videos and commercials.
Flaming Frames Productions is currently developing a feature film called H.O.S. –
described as an action / drama film that revolves around a crew that comes together
to execute ATM bombings.
“The story encapsulates the complicated humanity and contentious relationships that
lurk within the depiction of criminal minds in South Africa. We shot a 24-minute pilot
for the film that we’re using as a promotional tool to secure funding. The film should
be released early in 2013,’ says Peimer.