Taylor Swift scored a whopping nine VMA Nominations for this year's show. Ed Sheeran earned an impressive six. Kendrick Lamar secured four.
And you know who else has four? GloriaFX.
If you're saying to yourself, "Wait, who?" that's OK.
GloriaFX is a Ukrainian-based visual effects company that has worked on a ton of music videos and with scores of artists: Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Kayne West, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Imagine Dragons and more. This year, the videos they worked on got nine nominations total -- and the company itself scored four of the five nominations in this year's Best Visual Effects category: For FKA Twigs' “Two Weeks," Childish Gambino's “Telegraph Ave," Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber's “Where Are U Now," and Tyler, The Creator's “F****** Young/Death Camp.”
With such a lock on the category, we reached out to Max Colt (Chyzhevskyy), one of three managing partners of the company, for a chat. He works on pre-production, coordinating with directors and producers to conceptualize ideas.
MTV: What exactly does Gloria FX do and how long have you guys been around?
Max: We started from the very beginning as a post-production company six years ago. During the first several months, we formed our main specialization: visual effects. We do visual effects for video, including but not limited to feature films, commercials, music video, horror movies.
MTV: How big is the company?
Max: We started from one guy who had a dream. Everything was started in Ukraine, where we don't have any special education to be visual effects artists. We learned everything from tutorials and YouTube lessons, step-by-step. GloriaFX started as a small company and now we have about 50 artists with different skills and knowledge. We have a visual effects school and provide online webinars for remote education. These efforts help us to maintain our quality level and keep growing and developing. We do nearly 15 different projects per month.
MTV: Can you tell me a little something about what you did with each of the videos that are nominated?
Max: We have finished nearly 380 music videos projects -- and all of them are so different. Let's focus on the projects that are nominated for at the VMAs. They've got a lot of visual effects that you can't even see:
With FKA Twigs 'Two Weeks,' the project was shot on a green screen. We created all the world around the artist, and enhanced this with light and animated particles. With Childish Gambino's 'Telegraph Ave,' we created monster/parasites in humans. Tentacles raised and killed people, and there's also car crashes. It was one of my team's favorite projects. Monsters are not common in music videos. For Skrillex and Diplo's 'Where Are U Now' with Justin Bieber, we created [the paintings on Justin's body]. Oil like any other liquid is hard to recreate in CG.
And with Tyler, The Creator 'F****** Young/Death Camp' -- this was one of the best examples of mixing practical shooting and CG-created things. A little bit there and there. Do you remember this juicy landscape with the yellow flowers? It was a great combination of Luis Perez's camera and GloriaFX's CG. You can’t achieve this only with CG; you need to have really solid team.
MTV: How do you approach videos differently depending on the artist?
Max: Visual effects is a very creative thing. Basically, you have the opportunity to do everything. And I like this 'no limits' approach. You can make any dream real. Your only limits are time and money. We prefer do not to think so much about limits.
When you're on set and you see how powerful the artist is, and you can feel the vibes from the song, you definitely will be more inspired and make more interesting things. I worked on set with different artists and all of them are really great people.
MTV: What advice would you have for kids wanting to get into visual effects?
Max: If you feel that there is something in this world that you wanna do -- just do it. It can be hard to stay with your dreams, but the gratitude will be more than you can expect. And my favorite phrase, easy and simple from Walt Disney: 'If you can dream, you can achieve.' Sure, that’s true. Do your videos, experiment, turn on your imagination. This industry is growing and everyone with a strong desire and imagination will find their place.