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  • Writer's pictureStudio Lab

XR Music Video Release 'Empty'

Written by: Shaylyn Kelly

The field of independent video production is progressive and exciting. Virtual production at Studio Lab continues to thrive within the industry. Today’s blog features an insightful conversation with Ian Messina, Director of Virtual Production at Studio Lab. He enthusiastically shares his grasp of production knowledge on his newly released music video.

Ian used Unreal Engine, a 3D computer graphics game engine developed by Epic Games, and Disguise media servers to bring this music video to life. Our studio’s Red Digital Cinema cameras and KIRA CineRobot from Motorized Precision provided the crisp lines, colors, and tracking needed to produce this intricate brainchild of Ian's creative vision.

On May 6th, the up and coming artists, Brompton Beats and Emilia Ali, released their visually thrilling music video to accompany their emotive track 'Empty,' directed and produced by Ian Messina. It is the first release taken off of their EP, Emotional Monster (dropping later this year.) 'Empty' paints the picture of someone experiencing heartbreak when an unexpected text is received. The poignant lyrics Emilia Ali sings:

Just as I think I’m empty

And I’ve felt everything

You send me a text and the flooding begins

Ian stated, "Mario Brompton, Emilia, and I had never met before, but I had listened to their music for years. I ended up direct messaging him about how great his music was which resulted in him sending me their whole EP. When I listened to the song ‘Empty’ I instantly

envisioned the idea behind this music video."

The concept of syncing the real world and physical world was complex yet enjoyable for the Studio Lab crew including Greg Farnum, Director of Photography and KIRA Robot Operator, and Jake Ohrt, Lighting Designer. Ian said, "I wanted to make sure the music video idea also went along with the messaging of why they wrote the song. The beginning of the video speaks to the reason she feels the way she does.” A turnabout occurs when a text arrives dramatically altering her feelings. Ian pointed out that at the beginning of the music video the phone lights up with the text ding and then the sun begins to fade away. Lasers were then introduced to simulate and bridge the gaps between the digital and real world experiences. This visual symbolism beautifully corresponds with the world Mario implemented through his purposeful lighting and sound effects. These sound effects inspired the glitching within the creative momentum for the video.

When asked what challenges the Studio Lab team had to overcome for this project, Ian responded that he wanted his visions and implementations to be as streamlined as possible. He stated that two to three days before talent arrived, they crafted how to present and time-align each element within his design. The video wall, lighting/laser triggers, cinerobot, and audio all needed to be synced within the digital world. Automation was a key component to make Ian’s vision come to fruition. He expressed, “We worked backwards, starting with the video wall, and discovered that the triggering of lasers was our biggest challenge. Disguise and Unreal were extremely valuable in this process. We were able to trigger the lighting, audio, and camera movements all within the Disguise software. Each time we played it, all of the elements would play seamlessly. ”

Studio Lab is evolving each and every day along with our creative visionaries. Our studio space allows us to bring our innovative dreams to life. We welcome you to come visit and make our facility your creative space too! Visit us today or set up your tour by visiting, or calling us at (603) 260-5984.


Director & Producer: Ian Messina

Director of Photography & Robot Operator: Greg Farnum

Lighting Designer: Jake Ohrt

Key Grip: Joel Pelletier

Production Assistant: Wesley Messina

Photographer: Lauren Lyons


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