In early February, amazing Yemeni and Emirati singer Balqees Ahmed Fathi released her newest single Hala Jdeeda (Dodom). FRENDER, a Los Angeles-based VFX studio with years of experience in top-notch VFX outsourcing services, was proud to join the singer’s production team in the UAE and create staggering visual effects for the project. And things like swinging on a Dubai Frame swing or riding on a cloud became possible.
Making her debut with the first single Ya Hawa in 2012 and the first album Majnoun in 2013, Balqees earned significant popularity in Arab countries and was awarded a star on the Dubai walk of fame in 2019. The same year, she performed at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and was listed among Arabian Business DXB 100 most influential people. Being both singer and composer, Balqees also manages to embrace multiple music genres, from performing with the National Symphony Orchestra to conquering the house music scene by teaming up with an internationally known DJ.
For the Dodom music video, Balqees partnered with Kuwaiti rapper Queen G, who is one of the most popular local hip-hop artists. The project was entrusted to the award-winning director and CEO of Eye-Con Entertainment Hossam L Hossainy. The Egyptian/British filmmaker is known for his creative TV commercials and music videos, including those crafted for a brilliant talent of Egyptian origin Mohamed Ramadan. Moreover, Hossam L Hossainy raps himself; so, he definitely knows the ropes and was doomed to generate an outstanding idea of how to spice up this pop song about love with a bit of hip-hop.Circle, a post-production company located in Egypt, was engaged in footage processing with its team of experienced editors, audio engineers, and CGI artists. However, the project required a helping hand from Hollywood-level experts to deliver the right mood and authentic atmosphere of the story through cutting-edge VFX graphics.
Here is where FRENDER came into play. Led by its founder and CEO Max Colt, a visual effects artist with MTV and multiple other awards under the belt, the team parachuted in the UAE. Despite the pandemic, FRENDER’s experts joined their peers on the filming location to provide a seamless transition from production to post-production stages and, thus, reduce time and financial expenditures without compromising the results. The project implied mainly studio shooting with Dubai’s magnificent cityscape added later, including shots with the world-famous Dubai Frame. Surely, there was plenty of work with arranging blue backdrops on the site and compositing in a studio, but FRENDER’s team managed to finish the whole VFX production process within ten days, which is pretty fast for a project of this scale.
Thanks to the well-coordinated work and expertise of all the participants, the vibrant music video got one million views on YouTube just four days after it was released on 2nd February 2021. In two weeks, the number reached 5 million. Dodom led Arab Top 20 according to Arabsounds and currently has nearly 150,000 plays on Anghami, which is the leading music streaming platform in the Arab world. Well, the figures tell their own tale, and now, it’s time to explore how FRENDER contributed to the success.
The following VFX before and after pictures will make it clear how chroma-keying and some other modern techniques worked their magic on the footage.
While the above VFX breakdown is great to illustrate how a video can be transformed with the right tech stack at hand, it’s more than just technology standing behind the Dodom project. FRENDER did its best to make the cooperation with oh-so-talented Balqees and her international team really enjoyable, creative, and fruitful, which is a never-changing approach of the LA company.