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How a Calgary effects company brought Migos, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj into a sci-fi city

META Productions was brought in to work on the MotorSport video

The bulk of META's work was bringing this future-city to life behind the members of Migos.

Courtesy MigosVevo

The bulk of META's work was bringing this future-city to life behind the members of Migos.

In a province where big name music videos are dominated by luminaries of the country scene, one Calgary visual effects studio is making big waves with Migos, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B.

John Cameron and his company META Productions were tapped to bring the artists into a sci-fi world in the music video for MotorSport – which has more than 15 million views on Youtube since its release last week.

META was tapped by directing duo Bradley & Pablo after they discovered the production studio online. The demanding visual effects meant there are very few shots in the music video that weren’t touched up by META, but their crowning achievement appears in the back-end of the video.

The musicians were set up on a rooftop stage surrounded by a giant green screen. Cameron and his crew had to create a futuristic, dystopian city around them.

“With a combination of 2D and 3D methods, we created this cityscape that would work and move with the camera, as it moved in the studio,” Cameron explained.

“We had a techno-crane camera that would move in, around and every way possible to make the performers dynamic, then when we had the edit in place, we would track the shots and create this look – as though the building and city scape was around them.”

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It’s a time-consuming process, and one that involves a deep level of love to accomplish.

“More than anything, you have to be passionate about what you do,” Cameron said. “We joke that the sexy world of TV isn’t necessarily so sexy at 3 a.m. in the morning.”

The music video is just the latest in a growing list of successes for META. They also worked on the Golden Globe-nominated third season of Fargo, particularly working on the tragic fates on Ewan McGregor’s twin characters.

While Alberta isn’t exactly a hotspot for visual effects, Cameron said he grew up in Calgary and wouldn’t want his studio anywhere else.

He hopes more production houses and film work opens up in the province, not only to diversify the economy, but to retain talent within the city – instead of having talented people seek out other places to build their careers.

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