Spike Lee did the honors in directing Michael Jacksons last video, and chose Smoke & Mirrors New York (SMNY) to do post and VFX work for the postmortem tribute to Michael Jackson. The video is a montage of images spanning the King of Pop's lifetime and is set to the sounds of This Is It, a track that is two decades old.
"When Spike (Lee) asked us to be involved in a secret project, of course we said yes. It was a huge compliment to SMNY, as he could have chosen anyone to help him achieve his vision," noted Smoke & Mirrors CD Sean Broughton. "We knew this would not only be a fun project, but a heartfelt goodbye to the King of Pop."
Nick Seresin led the team of artists at the SMNY facility. The crew used Autodesk's Flame to create seemingly three-dimensional movements to Lee's deftly chosen assortment of videos and photos spanning fifty years, from Jackson's childhood to his live performances to his interactions with his hoards of fans.
As they refined the edit, more photos became available and every department at SMNY came together to expertly rotoscope and matte paint to achieve Lee's vision and ensure delivery. To bring all the different film and archive mediums together, SMNY employed its new Da Vinci grading solution, helmed by the legendary Ben Eagleton, to do a masterful grade of the final work. The finished product is a joyous celebration of the singer's life; a careful mixture of slowed-down video, treated still shots and classic reels that pay homage to Jackson's life.