Last Friday afternoon we finished and uploaded Miniclip’s take on PSY’s global phenomenon-smash-hit, Gangnam Style. If you’ve not already seen the video, it’s on our YouTube channel. The video was only two minutes long, but it took a whole week to make; in this blog post I’ll take you behind the scenes and show you how we did it.
The idea to recreate a dance video came from Miniclip’s Team Awesome, who are the ones you see dancing around in the video. They wanted to do a group dance as a team building exercise and thought it’d be fun to make a video out of it. We weren’t sure which dance they should do, so we thought we’d let you, our users, decide! At the start of the month we put an option on our Facebook page every day over four days and said we’d recreate whichever option had the most likes. Two options emerged as the clear front-runners: Gangnam Style and Party Rock Anthem. It was close, but Gangnam Style overcame Party Rock Anthem’s 1011 like total to win with 1171 likes.
With the dance decided on, Team Awesome set aside a whole afternoon to learn the dance and get the filming done. The dance teacher was booked, the whole of a floor in Miniclip’s London office was booked and the cameras were all set up. Everything was set. I’d been asked to direct and shoot the video, so I arrived with two of my colleagues who’d kindly agreed to help do the filming an hour and a half after Team Awesome had started learning their dance to find a room of very hot and very sweaty dancers. We had a schedule to keep, though, and got straight on with the filming regardless of Awesome’s physical state.
Unfortunately, they either over-estimated their dance skills or under-estimated the time it’d take to shoot the footage for a two minute song, but we only managed to film the footage you see at the very start and very end of the song, leaving us with a one-and-a-half minute gap in the middle. This meant reconvening with the video’s stars, Rob and Jamie, at lunchtimes over the next week to fill in the gaps in the footage. Rob was absolutely brilliant in his performance as PSY, showing off his impressive Korean lip-syncing skills as well as his equally impressive Pool skills. Jamie also excelled as Big Rob, a role he’d not tried before. One of his highlights was nearly getting stuck in the actually-quite-small lift in the Miniclip office for the sake of three seconds of footage. One of our most ambitious shots was this one: What’s happening here is Rob is being showered with Nerf darts whilst singing and having his jacket blown around by a fan we were using as a wind machine. This was actually quite hard to set up; we had the challenge of firing enough Nerf darts at Rob so that they’d be seen on camera, but we also didn’t want to hurt him… too much. We ended up shooting in one of the main parts of the office, against a wall for easy collection of stray darts, with a fan sitting on a chair just out of shot and two Nerf guns firing over my shoulders as I held the camera. The resulting footage was actually quite impressive, considering our low-tech setup and I’m sure Rob will say it was worth having a dart to the face for the sake of three seconds of footage. I’d been editing the footage as we’d been shooting it, so with the final bits of filming done, I slotted those bits of footage into the edit and after a little bit of help from one of my colleagues, Ben, the video was finished! With the video complete, all that was left to do was upload it to YouTube and announce it to the world! So with all of that behind-the-scenes knowledge on board, take another look at the video and see if you view it in a slightly more knowledgeable light: