22 Mar 2021

Visual Effects for Cardi B - UP

When Cardi B had decided to fire her scornful “goodbye” at the wasteful year of 2020 while returning to the solo scene after her “WAP” collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, she turned to Tanu Muino, an award-winning Ukrainian music video director known for her stunning projects with Katy Perry and other international artists. The video shooting started in the middle of January 2021 in an LA studio stage, where FRENDER’s VFX graphics professionals arrived to assist Tanu Muino’s squad in translating words and music to bold and meaningful visuals.

Visual Effects for Cardi B - UP

The Hollywood VFX studio joined the shooting still in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, which added much tension to the process. Apart from being strangled with masks, the whole production team had to stick to social distancing and limitations imposed on the number of people allowed on the set. Some scenes like a pyramid made of dancers had to be shot in just seconds to comply with health safety protocols.

That’s why it was more important than ever to have a highly professional visual effects artist working hand in hand with the director at both preparatory and on-set stages. From the development of ideas on how to emphasize the song’s meaning with visual effects to implementing adjustments generated in the middle of production, supervisors from FRENDER accompanied Cardi B’s team throughout the entire creative journey. And, of course, they oozed class during the post-production stage by seamlessly integrating cutting-edge CGI into the footage

Hidden Meaning Behind "UP"

While Cardi B seemed to provoke the public with her rather physiological explanation of "If it's up, then it's stuck" catchphrase on the Tonight Show, there is surely something more than that in both the refrain and the song. The more so that in a couple of interviews, the rapper mentioned she had wanted her new hit to move away from being too sexy and feel more “gangster” than the previous work. So, the chorus better fits into another interpretation, referring to street beef and meaning that the conflict is going to last.

That’s what we can derive from the lyrics telling about Cardi B’s rivals calling her ugly while their boyfriends are dreaming of getting to bed with her. The rapper is burring her haters under a storm of jeering, lavishly spicing it up with thuggish bragging.

VFX for Cardi B - UP

Right in line with the lyrics, the visuals focus on this splurge and Cardi B’s dominance over her enviers, conveying it through a series of stunning and provocative looks. From a Marilyn Monroe-esque white dress to transparent plastic champagne splashes (not to mention a naked man serving as a prop), the video is full of statement pieces establishing the singer’s sexuality, off-beat approach to style, and self-assurance.

Although many of the frames were shot on the set, VFX post-production by FRENDER allowed enhancing those striking looks to the fullest (which can be observed on VFX before and after images). The artists also added CGI to make the video sequence complete and ultimately complying with the director’s idea. Providing VFX outsourcing services to many A-listers, FRENDER’s team in cooperation with video retouching studio  Digital Beauty Work delivered the best expertise in the field again and achieved 100% of the outcomes planned in time.

VFX before and after preview image 1
VFX before and after preview image

VFX for Cardi B - UP [Video]

While the VFX breakdown of the video could have revealed the whole amount of work done by FRENDER, the company’s streamlined workflow and close cooperation with the production team allowed to release the video as early as the first week of February. And it immediately hit the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, followed by the Rolling Stone Top 100 and massive positive critical reception.

Visual Effects for Cardi B - UP video