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Ab-Soul ft Zacari 'Do Better' by Omar Jones

Promonews - 2nd Nov 2022

Omar Jones, director of impressive videos for the likes of Pusha T, Isaiah Rashad ft Lil Uzi Vert and Doechii - and recently signed to Riff Raff Films in London - has confronted the subject of mental health head-on in his stunning video for LA hip-hop artist Ab-Soul.

The rapper took a six year break from music as a result of mental health issues that led him to attempt suicide. In the video for Do Better, Jones and Ab-Soul actually recreate this suicide attempt, where he fell from a building resulting in serious injury and sight loss.

It is a tough subject that Jones handles with both sensitivity and flair, with the brilliant use of visual effects within the almost fragile black and white aesthetic. Most importantly, the dignity and humanity of Ab-Soul shines through. You really do get a sense of him coming to terms with his life, disability and all, and in spire of everything, being in a better place.

OMAR JONES

"Moosa Tiffith from TDE initially came to me wanting the video for Do Better to be based on a real tragic event in Soul’s life. The fact that part of his story was being revealed in this video meant it had to be portrayed correctly and lensed using an autobiographical approach. Moosa’s close friendship with Soul was instrumental in making sure there was an open line of communication between me and Soul. This was a delicate story to entrust to a stranger at the time, and his involvement made Soul comfortable.

"I felt a deep sense of responsibility, not only to Soul, but to all who struggle with their mental health, and deal with thoughts of suicide. In the end, the song’s message is a positive one, encouraging people to face themselves and focus on their self-improvement. Soul faces loss, regret, depression but emerges stronger on the other side.

The hardest part was to ask Soul to revisit the darkest moments of his past. I felt the weight of every shot..

"The video shows what one sees on their way down, the moments that lead up to it, Soul’s constant conflict with the burden of the past and alternate realities surrounding the decision to jump. What does one see in those final moments? How does the world appear from such a heavy perspective? It’s hard to even begin to imagine, but my approach uses a non-chronological edit and flow to evoke the brain frantically reaching for any memory it can (while it can), while the concept of time completely shifts.

"Shooting it was tough. Because the video is based on true events, the hardest part for me was to ask Soul to revisit the darkest moments of his past. I felt the weight of every shot and tried to share some of that emotional load as the director. During the ledge scene, I had Soul thirteen stories up, looking down at the drop. He was secured with wires, yet it still felt like the longest shot of my life. I couldn’t wait to yell 'cut'. Throughout the shoot, he was extremely collaborative and willing to explore every option. I am humbled and grateful for Soul's trust. In his words: 'I’ve cried enough about it, so I’m choosing to laugh now.' "

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Promonews - 2nd Nov 2022

Tags

  • Director's notes
  • New Director
  • Pick of the Day
  • Performance
  • VFX
  • Hip Hop
  • Black & White
  • Mental health

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Credits

Production/Creative

Director
Omar Jones
Producer
David Wept
Producer
Farah Idress
Production Company
Sixtwentysix Productions
Executive Producer
Anthony 'Top Dawg' Tiffith
Executive Producer
Anthony 'Moosa' Tiffith Jr
Executive Producer
Austin Barbera
1st AD
George Solomon
CREATIVE PRODUCTION
Mecca Studios
HEAD OF PRODUCTION
Kai Yuricich
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Amber Bolden
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Dain August
2ND AD
Arielle Zollezi
2ND UNIT 1ST AD
Khyber Law
2nd Unit PRODUCER
Henry "Hendo" Anguiano
3RD UNIT 1ST AD
Julien Baner

Camera

Director of Photography
Kristian Zuniga
1st AC
Spencer Wood
2nd AC
Emilio Fermin
2ND UNIT DP
Cory Burmester
2ND UNIT 1ST AC
Duy Nguyen
2ND UNIT 2ND AC
Tanner Charnstrom
2ND UNIT STEADICAM
Zachary Stankey
2ND UNIT BTS
Daniel Maldonado, Elle Jones
3RD UNIT DP
Grant Duncan
3RD UNIT 1ST AC
Sai Aung-Tun
3RD UNIT STEADICAM OPERATOR
Chris Pinto
AUDIO RECORDIST
Jason Allen
DRONE
Josh Ewalt
CRANE
Bryan JIB Sprow

Lighting/Grip

Gaffer
Vatche Giragossian
BBE
Dimitry Kharmov
ELECTRIC
Serge Svetnoy
KEY GRIP (DAY 1)
Stu Brumbaugh
KEY GRIP (DAY 2)
Nick Lundstrom
BB GRIP
Corrie Anderson
GRIP
Coda Abatti
GRIP
Cody Ingham
2ND UNIT GAFFER
Tristan moffat
2ND UNIT BB ELECTRIC
Connor Soules
2ND UNIT KEY GRIP
Luke Poole
2ND UNIT BB GRIP
Myles Evenson
3RD UNIT GAFFER
Tom Peake
3RD UNIT KEY GRIP
Kevin Woodruff
3RD UNIT SWING
Josh Anderson

Art

Production designer
Lucca Liberal
SET DRESSER
Nandalal "Mike" Ranglall

Wardrobe

Stylist
Cynthia Irene
2ND UNIT GROOMING
Ashley Sarmiento
2nd Unit WARDROBE
Cyn
HAIR
Antonique

Casting

Casting director
Mills Ticket Casting

Editorial

Editor
Omar Jones
Editing company
Barbershop Post
FINISHING EDITOR
Miles Trahan
TITLE/CREDIT DESIGN
Onda
SOUND DESIGN
Thomas Nielsen

Grading

Colourist
Dante Pasquinelli
COLOR PRODUCER
Nat Tereshchenko

VFX

VFX Company
Digital Axis
VFX Supervisor
Sherif Higazy
Post Producer
Dan Gillette
VFX ARTIST
Justin Johnson
AI VFX
Lyell Hintz
SPFX MU SUPERVISOR
Alan Gonzales

Agent

Director's Rep (UK)

Commission

Label
Top Dawg Entertainment

Misc

Location Manager
Ron Dabach

Promonews - 2nd Nov 2022

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