Interview: Glassworks details VFX work on Justice’s New Lands 70s-cult-sci-fi-referencing music video

VFX company Glassworks was asked by production company Canada to work on the latest music video for French throbbing dance act Justice. As a result it helped create an astonishing futuristic video with a heavy vintage feel. You can watch the video at the end of this story.

The music video for New Lands features two teams playing a violent sport that mixes American football with the game from 70s cult classic Rollerball. The film has a distinctive look that draws on that film and others of its dystopian near-future ilk from the late 70s and early 80s such as The Warriors and Escape from New York – there’s even a cheeky reference to Kurt Russell’s Snake Pliskin from Escape from New York with one of the players sporting an eyepatch, big hair and a permanent scowl.

“The look and feel of the piece is one of the most important elements of this video,” producer Joan Amet told us. “When we first saw the director treatment we were very excited. We quickly realised that we had to find a modern yet vintage feel. It's like a mix of different classic comics [and] action movies.The result is something very interesting.

 “Canada was very strict in giving us lot of references from films, comics, images, colours for reaching this concrete look. It was important that we borrowed from the past, but at the same time brought something new to the concept.”

To help with the vintage feel it wanted for New Lands, Canada filmed the music video on 35mm film, which was scanned and provided to Glassworks as 2K LOG scans.

New Lands was a project that demanded hard work from the 2D and 3D departments of Glassworks’s Barcelona office. The 2D team had to integrate the crowd into rain shots. However on the third day of shooting it did rain and so the opposite had to be done and the rain had to be erased from the shots. Due to the lack of extras, the CG crowd had a lot of work where many shots had elements of CG people.

The 3D team built a 3D crowd system for the stadium shots, as there were very few extras during filming. Joan Amat carried on to say that they “added some stadium elements, such as flags which were shot as plates; that helped integrate the CG better”.

One of the key visual effects was the field player’s ball, which drew on the ball from little-known 80s rollerskating sci-fi movie Solarbabies. The hands and arms around the real ball that was used were rotoscoped to give a space-age glowing illusion. Particles were also built in Autodesk Softimage using turbulence physics to add more of an effect of the flying movement.


Xavi’s Lab, Glassworks special projects division leaded by Xavi Tribó, designed the polygon graphics with the use of open Frameworks and algorithms programmes for the helmet of the main arbitrator. As a result, the team had delivered to Canada a special polygon look added in the 202 shots that make up the video clip.

Ben Rodgers, a colourist from Glassworks London graded the piece. The overall look was achieved by Ben creating a series of different grade options, which were whittled down until the final look was selected.

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