Press Release -- STEELE VFX
STEELE VFX Creates Virtual Magic For Hot Sugababes Video
Studio team produced and composited complex effects elements for ‘In the Middle’ music video.
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Santa Monica, CA (Apr. 13, 2004) --

STEELE VFX created a sparkling glass room and several other glamorous virtual environments as part of a huge package of effects for In the Middle, the latest music video from the British pop trio Sugababes. Facing an all but impossible deadline, the studio’s team of visual effects artists, animators and designers produced and composited complex effects elements for every shot in the video.

Directed by Matthew Rolston, the video is the third release from Sugababes’ multi-platinum selling Three CD, and a follow-up to the group’s number one hit Hole in the Head. The first Sugababes video to be directed by Rolston, In the Middle offers a more mature take on their distinctive urban pop sound with the women giving a sultry, high energy performance in a series of magical settings.

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Rolston shot the performance material against green screen at London’s famous Pinewood Studios and presented STEELE VFX with an edited cut. From there, visual effects supervisor Jerry Steele designed and created effects for each of the video’s environments, including, most spectacularly, a prism-like glass room. “Matthew conceived of it as a six-sided room with massive glass walls,” said Steele. “That gave us an amazing opportunity to create effects with light and reflections.”

Steele also created an exterior view of the prism set used in a series of camera fly throughs.

Although the prism set appears to be 3D, Steele actually created it, and all of the other environments, as 2D elements with a Quantel Henry. He also used the Henry to composite the women into the sets and track them to it as the camera arcs around them, creating the illusion of 3D space.

Additionally, Steele shot smoke elements on a small effects stage set up at STEELE VFX’ studio in Santa Monica. Again using Henry, Steele bent and animated the smoke elements to make it appear as though Sugababes singer Mutya Buena is controlling the smoke trails with her hands.

STEELE VFX’ animation and design departments also made key contributions. Animator Wayne England created groups of diamond-like 3D objects that tumble through the frame and form the name of each member of the group. Designer Sinbad used Adobe AfterEffects to adorn singer Keisha Buchanan’s face with rainbow colored sparkles and to enhance lighting effects. Additional compositing work was performed by Henry artist Dave Neuberger. Monique Essing handled beauty work.

The most daunting aspect of the project was its deadline. STEELE VFX had less than one week to design and produce the effects and finish the video. “In total, our artists logged more than 200 hours on the video,” said Steele. “We had everybody going full steam. We got it done and it looks fabulous.”

STEELE VFX is located at 1437 Seventh Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
For more information, call (310) 656-7770 or visit



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