Tapia's Blog

Hi my name is Steven Tapia I'm a New York based Director & Motion Designer. I will occasionally post my work, visual effects breakdowns & Interviews on this blog.

Please visit my sites
www.steventapia.com
www.tapiafilms.com

Check out my new music video for World-Renowned and Latin Grammy nominated Salsa singer Victor Manuelle - Ella Lo Que Quiere Es Salsa Feat. Voltio and Jowell & Randy

Oppenheimer Funds - Global Tracker App Demo I’ve been really busy these passed couple of weeks working on some new Motion Design pieces. Check out the video demo I created to help launch Oppenheimer’s new Financial App. Download the App here. https://www.globalizeyourthinking.com/global-tracker/

Check out my interview with Cranbrookdesign.com. Many thanks to Arjen Noordeman for conducting the interview.
Interview with Music Video Director Steven Tapia by Arjen Noordeman.
Steven Tapia is a pretty much self taught designer,  animator and director who is making a lot of waves in the hip hop scene  right now, with eye catching videos for underground artists like New  York City’s own AC, Karniege, Fresh Daily. Most recently he put together  a very entertaining video for legendary artists Masta Ace & Edo G.,  for the track “Little Young” that is currently airing on MTV. Steven  was kind enough to shed some light on the path the led him to where he  is today.
Q:  You have experience both in the interactive and motion  graphics realms. Can you tell us a little bit about your path, and how  you arrived at your current status as Music Video Director?Way back in 2002 I stumbled upon www.2advanced.com at a friend’s house. I was so excited, that I asked him if he knew what  program they used to do the animations. By chance my friend had a copy  of Flash 5 & loaned it to me. It took me a couple of weeks to learn  Tweening and making functional buttons. From then on I knew I wanted to  animate graphics. I didn’t know anything about interactive design but  somehow landed an Internship at www.Monkeyclan.com then moved on to www.idsociety.com . After years of doing Flash design I wanted more. I felt like Flash  was limiting. And that all I can do is make things fade in and out and  move things from left to right. It became mundane. So I started  searching for other animation programs and found After Effects. I fell  in love with what the program can do and taught myself. After all the  long nights & tutorials I needed something to apply it to, so I  bought a camera and started seeking out people to do videos for. My  First subject was an Indy Artist from Staten Island named AC. Q:  You have mentioned that becoming a music video Director is a lifelong  dream. Why did you initially pursue other things and do you feel as  though the previously mentioned experience still contributes something  valuable to your arsenal of creative skills?At the time  a career in design was more promising for me. I figured that when I  hone my skills in design and animation I could apply them to Directing  & shooting videos. I would definitely say everything I’ve learned to  date has helped out with my video productions. From breaking down  Photoshop files and bringing them into flash to integrating After  Effects & Flash. All the skills I’ve learned throughout the years in  the interactive industry were just transferred over to what I do in  video. Q: When you first started directing, you worked a  lot with underground hip hop artists AC and Karniege, how did those  particular collaborations help you define and evolve your voice?There  was no money involved with them. Just me, their track, a concept and an  HD camera. No real time deadlines or worries. Just two cool dudes who  were gung-ho & knew we were doing it for the love. That gave me so  much lee way as to what the final product was. Working with them made me  more comfortable at Directing. They were my Guinea pigs so to speak.  With them I tested out everything from in camera presets to camera  angles & editing techniques. All with no pressure or restrictions  from a label. Q: Most of your video work still  incorporates a lot of graphic design. Are you a type-nut with stacks of  type and graphic design books on your desk, do you always carry a camera  to document lettering and signage on the streets? How important is  graphic design and typography to you?I always say I’m  not the traditional Graphic designer with design books, posters &  vinyl toys all over the place. My work space looks more like a mini  recording studio rather than a design studio. Even though I did a short  stint at Parsons & didn’t stay long enough to learn traditional  Typography and Graphic Design, I know how important it is to know what  type of Design & Typography is appropriate for any given project. It  kind of intuitively comes to me. My classroom is the World, The  Internet & People. Good design always speaks to me and I keep a nice  inspiration folder with tons of Art, Video, explorative type and things  that inspire me. Q: You just recently have  significantly raised your profile with your video for underground  legends, Edo G & Masta Ace. The video you created for their song  “Little Young”, even made it to MTV!Yes! It’s currently  playing on MTVJams and was premiered on BET’s 106 & Park a couple  of weeks ago. I consider it a milestone for me. I didn’t expect it to  play on TV. I worked on it for about a month and a half. In The last  week of production I pulled a couple of 24 hour days. All worth it  though. Can you tell us a bit about the change that  comes with working with higher profile artists as well as what this  particular project was like for you?When working with  higher profile artist there’s more expectation from you as a Director.  They expect you to have your production on point. This was my first  project with a tight deadline and a Record label. So my approach had to  be on point. This was the first time I had to write up a shot List, have  catering and a small production crew on set. So preparation was Key.  This time I felt as though the Artists promotional efforts were my  responsibility. I was very nervous at first but as the day progressed I  felt more comfortable with the Artist.As far as Post Production,  there were long days and long nights. I had to Design, Animate &  Key over 4 hours of footage all by myself. It was very time consuming,  at points I felt like I wouldn’t get the project done on time. But I  pulled through. Great learning experience. Q; Do you  have a crew of freelance production people that help you with lighting,  set, post etcetera? Or are you truly the one man army, I’ve heard you  are?I usually do it all by myself unless I have to  shoot at a studio or in doors when lighting is needed. I have my go-to  guy for lighting. I would love to form a Creative team of designers,  animators and 3D artist in the future. Q: Do you  have a particular process that every single project has to go through?  For example: Research > Concept > Design Frames > Production  > Post?I usually listen to the song first. Hear what  it tells me. Then I write up a treatment and send it along with video  links/images that represent my concept. When the Treatment gets approved  I start researching for ideas. I’ll research what companies are  currently doing in the motion industry. Either I’ll steer away from an  idea or figure out how I can make it better or just mash up ideas. When I  gather enough research I start throwing paint to canvas to figure out  what works. When I feel like I have something that makes me happy I send  Design Frames over with motion samples to get the Artist thinking. We  go back and forth until they agree on a look & feel. Once the  overall look & feel is approved we set up a shoot date & shoot.  All the magic happens in Post Production.Q: Do you have any exciting projects in your lab that you can give us a little sneak preview or hint of?I’m  currently writing treatments for some known artists. Just finished  shooting a second video for Masta Ace & Edo G’s new single  “A&E’s” featuring Martha Ambrosius from Floetry. Expect that to be  out soon. I’m also finishing up a Green Screen Music Video for Benzino’s  son (Owner Hip-Hop Weekly, ex owner of The Source Magazine) Cool Breeze  Ray for a song called “Magazines”.  Some more things cooking… Thank you very much for this interview Steven.See Steven’s work in all its glory at the following links:http://www.steventapia.comhttp://www.tapiafilms.comhttp://www.vimeo.com/steventapiafilms

Check out my interview with Cranbrookdesign.com. Many thanks to Arjen Noordeman for conducting the interview.

Interview with Music Video Director Steven Tapia by Arjen Noordeman.

Steven Tapia is a pretty much self taught designer, animator and director who is making a lot of waves in the hip hop scene right now, with eye catching videos for underground artists like New York City’s own AC, Karniege, Fresh Daily. Most recently he put together a very entertaining video for legendary artists Masta Ace & Edo G., for the track “Little Young” that is currently airing on MTV. Steven was kind enough to shed some light on the path the led him to where he is today.

Q:  You have experience both in the interactive and motion graphics realms. Can you tell us a little bit about your path, and how you arrived at your current status as Music Video Director?

Way back in 2002 I stumbled upon www.2advanced.com at a friend’s house. I was so excited, that I asked him if he knew what program they used to do the animations. By chance my friend had a copy of Flash 5 & loaned it to me. It took me a couple of weeks to learn Tweening and making functional buttons. From then on I knew I wanted to animate graphics. I didn’t know anything about interactive design but somehow landed an Internship at www.Monkeyclan.com then moved on to www.idsociety.com . After years of doing Flash design I wanted more. I felt like Flash was limiting. And that all I can do is make things fade in and out and move things from left to right. It became mundane. So I started searching for other animation programs and found After Effects. I fell in love with what the program can do and taught myself. After all the long nights & tutorials I needed something to apply it to, so I bought a camera and started seeking out people to do videos for. My First subject was an Indy Artist from Staten Island named AC.


Q: You have mentioned that becoming a music video Director is a lifelong dream. Why did you initially pursue other things and do you feel as though the previously mentioned experience still contributes something valuable to your arsenal of creative skills?

At the time a career in design was more promising for me. I figured that when I hone my skills in design and animation I could apply them to Directing & shooting videos. I would definitely say everything I’ve learned to date has helped out with my video productions. From breaking down Photoshop files and bringing them into flash to integrating After Effects & Flash. All the skills I’ve learned throughout the years in the interactive industry were just transferred over to what I do in video.

Q: When you first started directing, you worked a lot with underground hip hop artists AC and Karniege, how did those particular collaborations help you define and evolve your voice?

There was no money involved with them. Just me, their track, a concept and an HD camera. No real time deadlines or worries. Just two cool dudes who were gung-ho & knew we were doing it for the love. That gave me so much lee way as to what the final product was. Working with them made me more comfortable at Directing. They were my Guinea pigs so to speak. With them I tested out everything from in camera presets to camera angles & editing techniques. All with no pressure or restrictions from a label.

Q: Most of your video work still incorporates a lot of graphic design. Are you a type-nut with stacks of type and graphic design books on your desk, do you always carry a camera to document lettering and signage on the streets? How important is graphic design and typography to you?

I always say I’m not the traditional Graphic designer with design books, posters & vinyl toys all over the place. My work space looks more like a mini recording studio rather than a design studio. Even though I did a short stint at Parsons & didn’t stay long enough to learn traditional Typography and Graphic Design, I know how important it is to know what type of Design & Typography is appropriate for any given project. It kind of intuitively comes to me. My classroom is the World, The Internet & People. Good design always speaks to me and I keep a nice inspiration folder with tons of Art, Video, explorative type and things that inspire me.


Q: You just recently have significantly raised your profile with your video for underground legends, Edo G & Masta Ace. The video you created for their song “Little Young”, even made it to MTV!

Yes! It’s currently playing on MTVJams and was premiered on BET’s 106 & Park a couple of weeks ago. I consider it a milestone for me. I didn’t expect it to play on TV. I worked on it for about a month and a half. In The last week of production I pulled a couple of 24 hour days. All worth it though.

Can you tell us a bit about the change that comes with working with higher profile artists as well as what this particular project was like for you?

When working with higher profile artist there’s more expectation from you as a Director. They expect you to have your production on point. This was my first project with a tight deadline and a Record label. So my approach had to be on point. This was the first time I had to write up a shot List, have catering and a small production crew on set. So preparation was Key. This time I felt as though the Artists promotional efforts were my responsibility. I was very nervous at first but as the day progressed I felt more comfortable with the Artist.

As far as Post Production, there were long days and long nights. I had to Design, Animate & Key over 4 hours of footage all by myself. It was very time consuming, at points I felt like I wouldn’t get the project done on time. But I pulled through. Great learning experience.

 
Q; Do you have a crew of freelance production people that help you with lighting, set, post etcetera? Or are you truly the one man army, I’ve heard you are?

I usually do it all by myself unless I have to shoot at a studio or in doors when lighting is needed. I have my go-to guy for lighting. I would love to form a Creative team of designers, animators and 3D artist in the future.


Q: Do you have a particular process that every single project has to go through? For example: Research > Concept > Design Frames > Production > Post?

I usually listen to the song first. Hear what it tells me. Then I write up a treatment and send it along with video links/images that represent my concept. When the Treatment gets approved I start researching for ideas. I’ll research what companies are currently doing in the motion industry. Either I’ll steer away from an idea or figure out how I can make it better or just mash up ideas. When I gather enough research I start throwing paint to canvas to figure out what works. When I feel like I have something that makes me happy I send Design Frames over with motion samples to get the Artist thinking. We go back and forth until they agree on a look & feel. Once the overall look & feel is approved we set up a shoot date & shoot. All the magic happens in Post Production.

Q: Do you have any exciting projects in your lab that you can give us a little sneak preview or hint of?

I’m currently writing treatments for some known artists. Just finished shooting a second video for Masta Ace & Edo G’s new single “A&E’s” featuring Martha Ambrosius from Floetry. Expect that to be out soon. I’m also finishing up a Green Screen Music Video for Benzino’s son (Owner Hip-Hop Weekly, ex owner of The Source Magazine) Cool Breeze Ray for a song called “Magazines”.  Some more things cooking…


Thank you very much for this interview Steven.

See Steven’s work in all its glory at the following links:
http://www.steventapia.com
http://www.tapiafilms.com
http://www.vimeo.com/steventapiafilms

(Source: typeservations)

IBM Supplier Connection Motion Design created for IBM Supplier Connection’s website to demonstrate the many benefits a small business can acquire by joining the Supplier Connection. Created for EuroRSCG

Jennifer Lopez Maribel Foundation PSA I designed and animated all the graphical elements throughout the video.

Armageddon - Sending my Love This is my recent video for former Terror Squad member Armageddon. I remember hearing his track “My Prerogative” on Fat Joe’s Don Cartagena album and thinking “wow this is the Dopest track on the album”. I also think he was the Illest MC on Terror Squad next to Pun. Crazy to be able to work with him years later on his own project.

Tis was a cold winters day in the Bronx. I went out to Geddy’s neighborhood with 2 cinematographers, and we went to work. We started out in the Bronx and ending up in Williamsburg Brooklyn to shoot the rest of the green screen footage.

It was cool to hear that he did a track on the Sucker Punch sound track with Queen. Check out it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRX2bx3LHkw

His new album The Journal, Vol. 1: Rebirth is out now on Itunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-journal-vol-1-rebirth/id435743340

Red Cafe - I’m Ill music video Title Sequence This title sequence was inspired by the opening sequence in the movie Panic Room. I originally created some Fast and the Furiousesque flashy 3d type to go with the race car theme of the video, but director Edwin Decina wanted something much softer.

Masta Ace & Edo G - A’s & E’s featuring Marsha Ambrosius This was my second video for Masta Ace and Edo G. This video features a cameo from the lovely model Melani Rose. It was cool to work with these guys again and even better working with Melani (wink wink). They are very cool & professional. This was a quick shoot. We got in and got out.

Tony Yayo - Pass the Patron featuring 50 Cent I was super excited when I got the call to direct the visual effects for this video. In this video we transformed 50 Cent into 80s pop icon Max Headroom. I created the intro sequence where the nerds get pulled into the TV screen by 50 Cent and the TV screens composite behind Tony Yayo as he rapped.

It didn’t hit me that I was working on this video till the director James Clark called me into an office for a mini meeting with 50 Cent. Overall 50 Cent and Tony Yayo were easy to work with. This was the third video I worked on that played on TV.

Reflection Eternal - In this World I felt so blessed that my work was starting to get out more when up and coming Californian director Punit Dhesi reached out to me to do visual effects for Reflection Eternal’s reunion album Revolutions per Minute. I was like Talib Kweli and DJ Hi Tek back together? Yes Please! I’ve known of Punit’s worked through his videos for Cali rapper Fashawn. My first thought was, let’s work!

The particle systems were fairly easy to make, but rotoscoping them around Talib was not so easy. I think I spent a solid week getting them to swarm around him. It’s all good because I learned a couple of new tricks with this new challenge. When I get some time I will post some break downs of the particle system I created.