Award-winning production company Pomp&Clout has made music videos for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Diplo, Lil Wayne, and Alt-J. Founder and director Ryan Staake talked to us about what makes his Bushwick-based company tick, his go-to gear, and his predictions for the future of cinema (hint: it doesn’t involve cameras).
KitSplit: Tell us a little about your work and company.
Ryan: Pomp&Clout is a production company and design studio based in Bushwick. We work mainly in Music Videos, Commercials and New Media / Interactive projects. Our roster of directors have created videos for a diverse range of artists such as alt-J, Major Lazer, Lil Wayne, Diplo, Future Islands, Danny Brown, Blood Orange and more. Recently, the advertising world has come knocking, and we’ve been doing much more commercial/promo work for clients like Balenciaga, Duolingo & McIntosh.
KS: Why did you two start working together?
KS: How would you describe your style?
R: As a director, I think I’m known for taking kind of left-field approaches to my concepts, and normally incorporating a visual/thematic element that runs throughout the piece. I got into video through graphic design and animation, and as such, my work tends to rely heavily on these elements. For Pomp&Clout as a company, I think we’re known for a generally bold approach, doing things in a generally different way than most other production companies.
KS: What have you been working on lately?
R: We just put out a big spot for a Chinese dairy company starring Jay Chou and a bunch of huge domino contraptions. Currently, we’ve been wrapping up a music video I directed in Long Beach for Clams Casino & Vince Staples, designing titles/graphics for a new show on Adult Swim, delivering a music video our director Alan Del Rio Ortiz directed for Fetty Wap, finishing a VFX heavy piece for an EDM trio, writing a spot for a large tech company, and creating a VR game.
KS: Can you tell us a little about your process?
R: When writing a concept, I normally listen to the track way too much. I try to pick up on a central idea within it, and imagine a concise visual/thematic representation of that idea. When putting together the actual treatment pdf, I tend to tweak a lot of my reference images in Photoshop, as it’s hard to find the exact images I need. In some cases I’ll hire a storyboard artist to help with putting together images for a treatment if the content I need his super specific. Once a treatment is approved and greenlit, I try to maximize my pre-production time by visualizing as much as I can before I arrive on set or at a location scout. I sketch, diagram, 3D model, do quick camera tests, mockup vfx in after effects—basically I use whatever tools I have to employ to gain a more accurate understanding of what I’m going to do once we’re on set and the clock is ticking. I’m normally very involved in the post of my projects, so once we’ve wrapped on set, I have a very specific idea of what I want to do in post, and my team and I at Pomp&Clout jump right in and begin to put all of the elements together. Once we wrap post, we tend to bring on a talented colorist to add a final level of polish and finesse. Lately, we’ve been working with David Torcivia (an independent colorist) and Mikey Rossiter or Josh Bohoskey at The Mill.
KS: Can you give us a general overview of the gear you typically use?
KS: Can you talk a little about what inspires you?
R: I’m really inspired by people creating work with new tools, technologies and approaches. There’s definitely an increased chance for failure when you take this approach, but personally the idea of doing things the same way over and over, and following the tried and true approaches and losing that spark and excitement is so much more terrifying.