Editing and Grading the Global Hit 'Dance Monkey' Video
February 4, 2020

Editing and Grading the Global Hit 'Dance Monkey' Video

FREMONT, CA – The “Dance Monkey” music video by Tones and I was edited and graded by Australia’s Visible Studios using Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio.

“Dance Monkey” is Australian singer and song writer Tones and I’s top charting song, hitting number one in more than 30 countries, seven times platinum and a number one song in Australia for 22 weeks. The video has been viewed on YouTube more than half a billion times and has been nominated for numerous awards such as Best Music Video of the Year at the recent ARIA Awards. 

The video was created by Melbourne’s Visible Studios, run by producer Tim Whiting and director and editor Nick Kozakis. Visible Studios is a full production and post production company that includes a highly specialized team of directors, scriptwriters, designers, motion graphic artists and editors, and which has created a huge number of films, TV commercials and music videos.

For “Dance Monkey,” Visible Studios worked directly with Tones to develop the idea for the video. The video, which was shot at the beginning of the song’s meteoric rise, was completed in less than a week and on a small budget. 

“The Dance Monkey music video was made on an extremely quick turn-around,” said Whiting. “She was blowing up at the time and they needed the music video out fast. The video was shot in one day, edited in two, with an extra day and a half for color and VFX. I doubt we could have completed it this fast, to this quality, without Resolve. With the seamless integration between edit, VFX and color, we didn't have to worry about the time and potential errors associated with round tripping between software.”

“Dance Monkey” features the singer dressed as Old Tones, an elderly man whisked away by his friends to golf course to dance and party. On the day of production, the sun was nowhere to be found and each shot was done against a gray and dismal background. To fix this, they brought in a sky image as a matte and used DaVinci Resolve’s match move tool, keyer, lens blur and power windows to turn gray footage to brilliant sunshine.

“In post we decided to replace the overcast skies with a cloudy blue sky and used a number of Resolve features. We ended up doing this all in Resolve’s color page and keyed the grass and plants to make them more lush and we were there. So in this case it wasn't any one tool, but the power of combining effects with nodes in Resolve’s color page,” Whiting continued.

Another feature that was used in the video was DaVinci Resolve’s Speed Warp, which is part of the new DaVinci Neural Engine and helps with motion estimation. 

Whiting continued: “We slowed down some footage using speed warp. This footage involved a fast moving golf club passing across objects like bodies, highly textured background trees and horizon lines. This kind of footage usually causes issues for traditional optical flow techniques, however speed warp handled it well.”

Editor/Directors Nick Kozakis and Liam Kelly used DaVinci Resolve Studio for the entire editing process. 

“While we love the flexibility of editing tools in Resolve, for Dance Monkey it was all down for performance. Being able to edit 6K RAW footage smoothly on a 4K timeline, at a good quality debayer, means that we don't have to mess around with proxies and that the footage gets out of the way of the editing process. The recent update for decompression and debayer on Nvidia cards has made this performance even better. Stabilizing footage is fast, intensive effects cache on the timeline,” Kozakis said.

“We use Resolve to edit all our projects. This includes all of our music videos, commercials, short films, corporate videos, and have worked with Australia’s Mezzanine Films to develop a Resolve based workflow when we worked with them on their travel show Photo Number 6, and now some other local production houses have started to emulate our workflow. Time is money in business, and any time we can save from having to move projects back and forth between software is time we can spend being creative. Editing in Resolve allows us to do this,” Kozakis continued.