Video Chats: Carlos Lopez Estrada on 'Me Voy' by Jesse and Joy

Posted by Doug Klinger on November 21, 2012 in Interviews

Staff Post

Carlos Lopez Estrada

Last week, we talked about reaching a database related milestone when we crossed 9,000 videos listed on our site. Today, we celebrate a content related milestone as we welcome Carlos Lopez Estrada to our Video Chats series, our first Grammy Award winner for a music video related category. His stop-motion music video “Me Voy” by Jesse & Joy won Best Short Form Music Video at this year’s Latin Grammys. We talked to Carlos about the video, and about all the cool stuff that’s happened to him since he’s won.

Update (1/19/13): Carlos has officially received his award! Check it out here.

Doug: What was behind the decision of using stop-motion and in camera effects rather than achieving some of the effects in post?

Carlos: We had actually worked on another stop motion music video for Jesse & Joy called "Chocolate" a couple of years ago and had such a good time during the animating process that we decided to do it again. The crew in both videos was made up from people I had gone to school with, so it was just a big month-long party. We all lived in the same house and worked 24-7 building and animating the sets. It felt like some sort of arts & crafts summer camp. Regarding the stop motion choice: Since last video, we agreed to use post effects as little as possible and tried to accomplish all of the images practically on camera. This was challenging, but also rewarding and made the video feel incredibly personal. There are small details all throughout the video like accidental paper folds, blood stains from one of our crew members who had an exacto knife accident, crew cameos, etc... that we wouldn't been there if we had shot the whole thing on a green screen and then animated in post. It also just feels good to say we did it for real.

Doug: Did you do any test shooting for this one or anything? "Me Voy" seems more complex than "Chocolate." 

Carlos: We used the same pre-visualization techniques that we had in "Chocolate" but things got a bit trickier this time since we were now dealing with 3D space and not just table tops. Cameron Clark, who was the Director of Animation, deserves a shout out here because he really did handle all the technical aspects of the shoot like a true magician.

Carlos Lopez Estrada

Lean more about Cameron's wizardry here.

Doug: You thank David Altobelli in the Vimeo description for letting you shoot in his living space. You talked about living and working in the same space for the previous video, how did the living space end up being David's room this time around? 

Carlos: David and I were actually roommates at that time. We had no other studio options we could afford so we worked out a deal with him so he wouldn't have to pay rent for a month if we could shoot the video inside his room. So we moved his bed to a corner and watched him sleep in between wooden structures and movie lights all month long. I don't think he liked it very much but he was nice about it.

Doug: Speaking of Vimeo, there are scenes in the YouTube embed of this video that aren't in the Vimeo version. Is the Vimeo version a director's cut?

Carlos: This is a touchy subject (deep breath). The label didn't like the video. They didn't hate it either, but they thought it wasn't commercial enough and the band didn't have enough screen time in it. So they released an alternate version with some performance that they shot themselves inter cut with our animation. It was heartbreaking. Eventually, I was able to release my original director's cut and once the label realized that people enjoyed it more, we agreed to submit the original version to the Grammys.

Carlos Lopez Estrada

The audience at the Grammys. 

Doug: And about that sweet Latin Grammy, do you know how a music video gets considered for one? Who submits it?

Carlos: Labels submit all the videos they produce during the year and then the academy votes. I think you can also submit individually if you are a member. It's confusing.

Doug: Who is the award actually given to? Do you have a statue coming your way, or is it like a VMA where the award only goes to the artist?

Carlos: I think the artists do get a trophy, but the actual nominees were the producer Christian Heuer and myself. Christian and I met in college and have been working together ever since, so it's now an honor to have him as my Grammy brother. And about the statue, they actually tease you with a fake trophy for the show/photoshoots and then take it away at the end of the day. I think we should be getting the actual thing in the mail soon.

Carlos Lopez Estrada

Fake trophy, Grammy bros. 

Doug: So this means you got to attend the actual Latin Grammys?

Carlos: Yeah! We got a couple of free tickets to the event so we were able to take Cameron and Tyler Jensen (Production Designer) with us. They were both indispensable talents during the making of the video, and long-time collaborators, so we were more than happy to share the experience with them. The ceremony was fun. No one really cared about us or who we were so we were able to get away with some pretty silly stunts like making a human pyramid on the red carpet. We also all got a chance to go on stage to accept the award which was pretty cool too.

Doug: Has anything cool happened to you since you've won the Grammy?

Carlos: I think this interview is probably the coolest thing that has happened since. Also, a photo they took of us was voted #1 in the American Grammy website. I thought that was pretty cool too?

carlos lopez estrada, jesse & joy, me voy, video chats

Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.

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