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Creating a music video for a legendary rock band is no easy feat, and we knew Rhino Records would be looking for something special to celebrate the artistry and cultural impact of the iconic ’70s track.
Enter LANDIA and Great Guns directing duo Brendo + Gonfiantini, the creative partnership of married pair Brendo Garcia and Adriano Gonfiantini. The couple started their careers in art direction and cinematography, before they began directing award-winning creative and commercial work in their signature experimental and surrealist style.
From their initial pitch on Genero to the final psychedelic project, we went behind the scenes on the directors’ striking and technical music video, which was delivered in just six weeks with the help of their production team at LANDIA.
This song is sacred to fans of The Doors and we took that to heart through every step of this project. When Alicia from Rhino and I were reviewing treatments together and imagining the die hard fans watching 'Riders On The Storm' for the first time, B+G's idea and their gorgeous presentation made clear that they understood the importance of this video in the legacy of the band.
Approaching a track from a completely different era in the music industry challenged Brendo + Gonfiantini to find the perfect visual world for a video that could combine the old and new. Both the band and the song “are such an emblematic and important part of music culture, that we had to have the exact world for them to live in harmony” the directors explained.
Eager to honour the cultural impact and original lyrics, their intention from the beginning of the brief was to create a contemporary homage: “With all the glory that Riders On The Storm deserves, we wanted to create something to connect all generations by bringing modernity, technology and an intense narrative to the video”.
While the opening scene gives a nod to the crucifixion artwork on the inner sleeve of the ‘L.A. Woman’ record, another important piece of visual and thematic inspiration for both the original track and new music video was a short experimental film from 1971, which stars frontman Jim Morrison as a transient hitchhiker crossing the Mojave desert.
Delving into the history of Jim Morrison unearthed another key piece of imagery when the directors found a photograph of him balancing on a bike as a child, a visual they utilised to reflect the relationship between internal ego and self-control. “The protagonist’s journey”, they explained, “begins when she puts her fear to the test and challenges the indomitable ego, represented by her motorcycle”.
In casting talented transgender actress and model, Gabe Joie, as the character that breaks through physical and metaphorical barriers, the directors wanted to find “a personality who could translate the daily fight against oppression” and be able to represent the LGBTQIA+ community as they continue to advocate for diversity in the creative industry.
As queer kids themselves growing up in the ’90s in Latin America, Brendo + Gonfiantini needed a place to go to “escape to [their] minds” and feel safe. They were captivated by the magic of cinema and the dream-like qualities that CGI films encapsulated in their childhood, so they used those memories as inspiration in their work.
Incorporating this love for visual effects and its relevance in popular culture, they put forward a creative treatment with a focus on ’60s and ’70s psychedelia and retro VFX, designing the music video to look like a retro video game with a modern twist.
“A question that echoed many times in our heads was: How do we create a new psychedelic look in a world immersed in games – a territory of magic and unthinkable possibilities?” they said. With that in mind, they decided to work with virtual production and game engine techniques “to translate all this psychedelia into a gaming language, which was suitable for production, post-production and the narrative.”
A question that echoed many times in our heads was: How do we create a new psychedelic look in a world immersed in games?
Pre-production VFX processes were used in over 75% of scenes to create 3D real-time backdrops for live action filming. These virtual environments, including both virtual deserts pictured in the video, were crafted in Unreal Engine and powered by Pixotape, which helped integrate more than 80 square meters of LED walls that were used on set.
After coming from such an intensive process of pre-production and pre-vis, the directors “had a very clear story to tell” with their shot list. Working with in-camera VFX was also a valuable approach to save time in post production, as the backdrops had been processed in real-time to include live visual effects and reduce the need for green screens.
As they moved into post in collaboration with editor Nathalia Kamura, the team focused on clarifying the narrative, adjusting the pacing and reviewing the intention for each shot to develop the film into its final creative form.
We were continually impressed with Brendo + Gonfiantini's flexibility and adaptability to field numerous change requests late in production with openness and grace, and come back with creative solutions that I believe everyone involved would agree made this video all the better.
Watch the official music video for ‘Riders On The Storm’ by The Doors below, commissioned by Rhino Records via Genero and directed by Brendo + Gonfiantini. See more of their work here.
Production Company: LANDIA
Director: Brendo Garcia and Adriano Gonfiantini
EP & Managing Director: Carol Dantas
EP: Valentina Baisich
Executive Producer Assistant: Larissa Delfini Rocha
Head of Production: Camilla Bastos
Producer Assistant: Luciana Andrade
Director of Photography: Adriano Gonfiantini
Production Designer: Brendo Garcia
Post Production Coordinator: Elton Bronzeli
Post Production Coordinator Assistant: Rui Fontes
Edit: Nathalia Kamura
Post-Production: CLAN vfx
Color Grading: Marla Colour Grading
Colour Grading Artist: Fernando Lui
Sound mixing: LOUD+
Starring: Gabe Joie
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