Azealia banks behind the scenes of Ice Princess music video
April 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM
by Black Box Productions

 As the view counter for Ice Princess surpasses one million views, BBP cinematographer Josh Usheroff reflects on working with directors We Were Monkeys and the Ice Princess herself Azealia Banks 

 When We Were Monkeys first approached me to DP Ice Princess, they described a powerful Medusa-like Banks battling a shape-shifting supernatural force in an icy world. Whether inside her translucent ice castle or riding a giant flying snake, Azealia’s character was to be illuminated by the cold diffuse light of a cloudy sky. In order to match the even lighting of an overcast world, I used two flicker-free 1200W HMI lights bounced into 8ft frames to evenly wrap around Azealia’s face. Plus, I used an Arrilux pocket-par to add a little sparkle to her eyes. We filmed Azealia in a green-screen studio and recorded entirely in 4K RAW to allow for easy composting into the CGI world. Having an evenly lit green background is important in order to “key” or remove it in post, so it felt great when I received a note from WWM saying “these are some of the best keys I have had to deal with”. In order for the animated crown of snakes to follow Azealia’s head movements, the directors placed tracking points along her neckline and around her head. 

 Azealia was was super fun to hang with on set. She was incredibly patient during her hours in the make-up chair as she transformed into the pale faced and bejeweled Ice Princess. Her performance was always on-point and her expressive delivery lit-up the screen every time. Between takes, she joked with crew and posted photos of her “white-face” to Instagram. Without a doubt, Banks is a driven and talented young woman, who will one day save us all from the evil volcano spirits that haunt us. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then watch the video…