THE Jamaican music video industry has come a long way. Directors such as Ras Kassa, Jason ‘Jay Will’ Williams, Asha McHail, Trevor Baillie and newcomers Dexter Pottinger, Gareth ‘The Truth’ Cobran and Storm Saulter have made their mark over the years.
Siblings Adrian and Amanda Lopez, however, are intent of carving a niche for themselves. The directors of Liquid Light Digital are banking on their wealth of experience and training to make that difference.
The brother-sister duo started their own production company with the hope of taking television production and music videos to another level.
“We started Liquid Light about 11 years ago, and I believe that in many ways we have succeeded in what we set out to do. At that time, most animation and special effects were being outsourced to overseas countries and we were among the first to bring that expertise to Jamaica. As with most things digital, the landscape changed as computing power and software capability grew. Motion graphics and animation became widely available and inexpensive, which is great. We expanded from specialising in computer-generated imagery (CGI), to full production in all regards — from advanced CGI to episodic television. Our first entry being the new In the Dance show which recently aired on TVJ,” Adrian said.
“Innovation is still our core, and we’re constantly trying to raise the bar in terms of what’s possible locally. We have several projects in the pipeline that we think will raise the bar once again,” he added.
Adrian said by pushing the creative envelope their work easily stand out from the pack. “Being co-directors on most of our productions, I think gives us a unique perspective. Amanda and I complement each other on set. She’s aesthetic, while I tend to be more technical. So we’re always looking to push things to the bleeding edge whenever possible — whether conceptually or visually. Our background in the arts and sciences gives us the ability to do so,” he said.
The brother-sister production team has had a track record of television and music video productions. They include David M’s Lest We Forget and Here Comes Your Life, Gnarls Barkley’s Going On (shot in Jamaica), Mavado’s Last Night (directed by Little X) and So Special (directed by Ras Kassa).
As to his thoughts on the current state of locally produced videos, Adrian said: “Technology has become more accessible and I have noticed a real change in the style and quality of music videos. Everyone and anyone is making music videos and commercials now. The production value is running the full spectrum from truly hideous to absolutely beautiful. The challenge of budget is always there, and sometimes, the label is very conservative. However, I think locally produced videos have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go”.
He added: “We have a tendency to look to MTV and VH1 as the gold standard, but as Jamaicans, I think we need to carve out our own style in much the same way we did with Jamaican music itself. The music video is a great medium for experimentation and expression, but unfortunately, most entertainers don’t have the budget to allow us to explore the visual styles that we’re interested in. Unless an artiste comes to us with an unusual concept and gives us the freedom to explore it in innovative ways, then there’s very little motivation to produce at a loss.”
The Lopez’s were born in Nairobi, Kenya but moved to Jamaica in their early years. Both attended Mona Preparatory and Campion College. Adrian would later complete degrees in computer science and marketing from the University of Lethbridge in Canada.
While in Canada he worked as an apprentice with an animation house where he was exposed to computer animation. He later returned to Jamaica where he did jobs in several corporate entities before starting up Liquid Light Digital with Amanda.
Amanda attended the University of Western Ontario, where she majored in film and minored in environmental management. While in Canada, she worked part-time at Ontario’s Rogers Cable Systems as well as with her university’s on-campus television station, TV Western.
She too held jobs in corporate Jamaica before the start-up of Liquid Light Digital. In 2003, Amanda became a board Member of Women in Film and Television International.
For their work in television production, commercials and music videos, the duo has won several awards, including the Peer Awards — Producers of the Year award in 2003. In 2002, Adrian was awarded the BWIA Award for Most Outstanding Animation for his short film Roots at the Animae Caribe Animation Festival held in Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2010, Adrian won the Caribbean Peer Awards for Producer of the Year – TV Commercial, and Best Technical/Artistic Achievement, as well as the David Ogden Award for Best Director — TV Commercial.
Siblings hoping to carve niche