Creative Director's Cut: Harbour Collective's Grant Parker praises the craft of Pharrell Williams' Cash In Cash Out
3.56 minutes of faultless joy
Grant Parker, creative partner, Harbour Collective
Firstly, thank you to my ferociously talented colleagues, Yann and Thib, for excitedly showing me this gem. (Merci, Mecs!)
And then, a huge heap of gratitude to director Francois Rousselet and the Electric Theatre Collective for bringing us the music video for Pharrell Wiliams, Tyler the Creator and 21 Savage’s track ‘Cash in, cash out’.
3.56 minutes of faultless joy. Proof that craft is as necessary today as it has always been, and always will be.
I’ll be hitting thesaurus.com hard to find enough words to express just how much I love this. Unsurprisingly, it took over a year to birth. Just look at the details. THE DETAILS!
Lockdown restraints drove the artists to a CGI solution. And so, untethered from reality we’re gifted Tyler as a majestic hula-hooping female colossus of Rhodes as Savage 21 glides through her legs lighting a cigar from a wad of burning cash. Pharrell cruises past in a Tesla Cybertruck sporting CPFM socks (have I mentioned the detail?).
The character animation in this hypnotic world is phenomenal.
There’s a weight to them. CGI often gets gravity a bit wrong, so weighty dinosaurs appear like tip-toeing-T-Rexes that tread gingerly rather than stomp. Not the case here. There’s a real-world weight to the swaggering and romping avatars as they move in sync to Pharrell’s beat. This mind-blowing level of craft continues to their apparel too. Global mega brands reduced to miniature—but not reduced in quality. Nothing cheap in the rendering of the “Louis V shirt with no sleeves” and the “Chanel on my feet”.
The colour palette’s spot on for a track about ostentatious wealth—rich and opulent. Nothing desaturated or apologetically pastel. The lighting is mesmerising. Creating jewel-like sparkles that allow pings of detail to come and go as this zoetrope of excess spins past us, again and again.
Ultimately, it is a perfect example of uncompromised craft.
I won’t begin to enthuse about the track too, but simply put, the ears are just as happy as the eyes.
Not a whiff of “that’s perfect, but change that bit where…”or “strip some detail back and get it done quicker…” or “it’s dark on my screen, try a lighter version…” nonsense. Clearly no corners were cut making this mesmerising merry-go-round. It is simply, wow (thesaurus is failing me).
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