Eric Prydz: Generate


The images below are an in depth look into the beauty and process behind the music video for Eric Prydz' 'Generate'. The creation of this film was a showcase of talent and experience that came together to build a mind bending world of lush beauty. We all walked away with our hearts full of confidence in each other and in the possibilities the physical realm offers. All the graphics seen in this music video, though sometimes inspired by digital art, are all executed using physical builds and in camera tricks. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and often  much more powerful. 

Directed by GMUNK, this film was another perfect storm of happy talent; long hours and hard work shadowed by good memories and  positive moods. The props and methods used for shooting this music video harnessed an inspiring level of creativity. Joe Picard was the scientist behind the camera, with an ability to make the impossible possible, found the right way to make every shot a proud one. My role was teaming up with friend and parter-in-crime Mike Williams to concept and design the graphics seen below. Getting to work the entire process from concept to physical build is a rewarding experience. I will forever be looking back fondly to the days spent working on this video. 



Watch the music video here.





Design Director: Conor Grebel, Mike Williams

We knew we wanted to build some sort of practical tunnel the camera could travel through to match the driving feeling of the track. Ever since I saw Interstellar my mind has been flooded with film SFX concepts involving bending light and curved mirrors, at my house I have a small collection of convex / concave mirrors laying around. The opportunity to use them has been a long time coming. So for a solid week we bounced around some concepts involving tunnels of curved mirrors. It plays off of the infinity mirror trick, but when using curved mirrors the endless internal reflections bend into tendrils of fractal shapes.

It all changed when we mocked up what it would look like if we had strips of color changing LED’s running inside the mirror tunnel. The Sugar Cubes were a great asset, a geniously modular piece of hardware that can run endless live patterns through any configuration you put them in. It was a magic combination. We could only hope that our previz in 3D looked as amazing in person...luckily it exceeded expectation. To be perfectly honest I’ve never felt my heart beat so hard while watching a live video feed. The endless maze of LED fractal patterns that reflected in the mirrors were so dense and exciting it nearly gave me an panic attack.




Hanging the Cubes
Director of Photography: Joe Picard

We decided to hang the sugar tubes from the grid, exposing the open end of the towers to the camera from below. This allowed us to boom the dolly straight up and down giving 4 feet of smooth hydraulic travel. The motion control camera head was stacked onto 4 feet of mitchel risers. Allowing the camera to travel the a narrow straight path upward. Hanging the sugar cubes also allowed us to cluster 9 towers closely together. With the motion control head we were able to smoothly pan and tilt the camera inside of the sugar cube abysse as the hydraulic column lifted and relaxed.






Process photography





Sugar Cube Director: Alexander Green

The Cubes are a modular 3D LED installation that can be built, like legos, to form surfaces and shapes.  They are designed to be a “light instrument”.The algorithms that run on them have a wide variety of parameters that can be tuned live to compliment music and achieve color and emotional palettes.  

For the Generate video we used them in a few entirely new ways.  We rigged them from the ceiling and used a camera equipped with a variety of lenses including a sphere lens that stretched the cube geometry semi-spherically. The motions of the camera through the structure gave us a variety of different effects as we manipulated  the patterns running on the cubes to achieve aesthetics specifically for the video.  

The second approach was even more involved and technical. 5 cubes were spray painted jet black and the LED strips were flipped to only face internally.  Then 24 18’’ convex mirrors were placed in the open faces of the cubes.We used the cubes as a real-life fractal generator.  This was a novel way to use the cubes, one that I never anticipated when I built the sculpture.





Design Director: Mike Williams, Conor Grebel

The perf tunnel is essentially an 8 foot hexagonal tube, open on both ends, with a pattern of holes cut into the sides. It came out of the idea to use the magic and brilliance of volumetric light to create a surreal and overwhelming physical environment that evoked depth and motion. We started by running some tests in 3d, and went on to build several smaller prototypes out of peg-board, testing them with a small fog machine and hand held shop lights. Even with these crude materials, the test footage was impressive and we knew we were on to something. After a few more tests, we were ready to build the real thing...

For this we had the privilege of working with Kenny Johnson, an extremely talented carpenter and craftsman. He was super helpful and generous, and totally essential in bringing the design to life. With Kenny’s help, we carefully drilled (by hand!) a pattern of holes, alternating in size, into the walls of the tunnel along a spiraling path. When hit with lights and fog, the result was a stunning geometric matrix of intense light beams sweeping past the camera, as well as an intricate pattern of glowing points along the interior of the tunnel. This effect was made all the more dramatic by the sphere lenses, crazy optical filters, and expertly executed camera moves.

One very nice surprise that we had not anticipated in our early tests was the use of lasers inside the tunnel. That brought it to a whole new level of intensity! “Laser tunnel” was the last thing we shot and it was great to end on such an exciting and satisfying note.



"The Balls"

Design Director: Conor Grebel, Mike Williams

This concept was particularly satisfying, not only in its simplicity but because it was a physical manifestation of our digital work in 3D. We found these silicone balls at a craft store, when you soak them in water they become perfect little clear spheres with the same refraction index as water. In open air they act like perfect sphere lenses, a familiar tool in regards to creating optical refraction art in 3D. We lined the bottom of a glass bowl with a single layer of balls, and propped it on top of a display and ran a bunch of trippy / oppy textures. The outside of the glass bowl was lined with mylar because….when the opportunity to add even more sparkle and reflection arises, we jump on it. The whole rig acted like a giant compound eye, distorting and transforming the screen content beneath the bowl into a hundred tiny spheres.







Production Company: Tool of North America


Production Dept.


Director: GMUNK

Managing Director Live-Action: Oliver Fuselier

Executive Producer: Robert Helphand

Head of Production: Amy Delossa

Producer: Yovel Schwartz

Production Supervisor: Johnny Carroll

Asst. Supervisor: Geoffrey Sawyer

Production Assistant: Hannah Burgos

Production Assistant: Josh Cereghino

Production Assistant: Tim Ditmer


Client: Virgin Records


Prydz Creative Director: Liam Tomaszewski

Virgin Creative Director: James Hackett


Camera Department


Director of Photography: Joe Picard

1st AC: Jeremy Wong

2nd AC: Dakota Wilder Smith

Script Supervisor: Stormy Pyeatte


Grip & Electric Department


Gaffer: Nick Anthony

Key Grip: Don Henderson

Grip: Patrick Walsh


Art Department


Design Director: Conor Grebel

Design Director: Mike Williams

Prop Master: Conor Grebel

Prop Master: Mike Williams

Sugar Cube Director: Alexander Green

Sugar Cube Technical Director: Trip Vest

Sugar Cube Programmer: Jake Lampack

Sugar Cube Programmer: Ben Morrow


Casting: Scout Model Agency


Woman: Terra Juano

Stylist: Lisa Zomer


Editing Facility: Final Cut LA


Editor: Arianna Tomasettig

Editorial Producer: Michael Miller


Post Facility: Spypost


Colorist: Carey Burens


Vendor Services


Camera: Chater Camera

Grip Equipment: Little Giant

Dolly: Little Giant

Stage: Meets The Eye

Catering: Above & Beyond

Security: Overall Security