Director David M. Helman on Joey Bada$$ "Fromdatomb$"

Rap fans have seen this kind of video countless times before. Performance to camera in the home/hood environment. Director David M. Helman gives that formula an updated, yet retro flavor in this Joey Bada$$ clip with a clever technique that mashes up VHS with HD.

Joey badass

David M. Helman, director

"Joey is clearly influenced by the '90s boom bap style, so when I was digging around for ideas, I started looking at old Wu-Tang and Gang Starr videos on YoutTube. I was inspired by the nostalgia I felt when watching these VHS recorded videos that somebody uploaded to the internet.
But I really didn't want this to just be a novelty / nostalgia piece. The hip hop community constantly gets in heated arguments that today's rappers don't compare to '90s golden era hip hop. I'm not sure that's true and Joey's proof of that, so I wanted to make sure there were modern elements incorporated in this video. That's where I chose to keep it widescreen and how we ultimately came up with rotoscoping Joey & Chuck.
I knew I didn't want to use an After Effects plugin, or create the analog aesthetic in post, because it just looks terrible. So I called up Andrew Finch, a VFX artist/friend of mine, and he figured out a roundabout way of getting the footage onto a VHS tape and then digitally-capturing it back into the computer.
We used a capture card that connected to a VCR to record the HD footage onto a VHS tape. Then we took that same VHS and re-captured it back into the computer. The footage comes back in 4x3 so we simply stretched it out to match the 16x9 HD frame. In After Effects, we put the the HD and VHS layers on top of each other. Then Andrew and I rotoscoped/masked out the HD footage with the analog layer exposed underneath and feathered it to make it seem as seamless as possible... there are definitely a few glitches in there though."

--> watch "Fromdatomb$"

Joey Bada$$ f/ Chuck Strangers "Fromdatomb$" 
David M. Helman, director/editor | Chike Ozah, producer | Creative Control, production co. | Trevor Wineman, DP | Andrew Finch & David M. Helman, vfx | Ro Oeurn, title designer