Kendrick Lamar is gearing up to release his new album next week, and that means lots of interviews and a steady drip-drip of new teasers and singles. Many music fans are looking forward to Lamar's new album, of course, but for the film nerds among us his releases also come with an extra treat. In short: the man makes great music videos.
The newly released "Humble" is a great song and there are a few bits of imagery, like Lamar in a sea of bald heads, that are instantly iconic. Special effects like the spastic, twitching rendition of the Last Supper or men with their heads wrapped in flaming coils of thick rope are also drawing a lot of attention. But what about the most dramatic shots, which show Lamar riding his bike across his own tiny spherical planet, like a beat-dropping Little Prince?
One YouTube editor took an in-depth look at the editing, hypothesizing that the tiny planet effect was filmed on a large 360-degree camera rig and then stitched together in post-production. But you can actually do this effect with any 360 camera. In fact, YouTubers have been making tiny planet videos for a while now. Like Karen X. Cheng, who shoots on a Ricoh Theta 360-degree camera and edits her footage on an iPhone to get the same effect.
Karen X. Cheng demonstrating how to make the "tiny planet" video effect. Karen X. Cheng / Medium
Here's Ben Claremont walking around town with his 360-degree camera on top of a selfie stick for an extra-tall view. "One downside to the selfie stick approach is that people look at you like you've got a horn growing out of the middle of your forehead," Claremont says in the video.
Ben Claremont showing how to film a "tiny planet"-style video with a selfie-stick. Ben Claremont / YouTube
In fact, Claremont's example shows that you can really make yourself look like a giant stomping across your own world by planting the camera in one spot instead of carrying it.
Another type of "tiny planet" effect. Ben Claremont / YouTube
Ever wanted to smoke on a planet-sized hookah bar? Filmmaker Sam Jovel has already been there.
Another example of the "tiny planet" effect. Sam Jovel / YouTube
There are a lot of different ways to make this effect, including a few mobile apps like Tiny Planet Photos. These apps use the panoramic photo mode to gather the same 360-degree data used in these video shots, creating the same warped, spherical tiny-planet effect.
It can also be done with the Samsung Gear 360 camera. This video was edited in Insta360 Studio, which is free, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC, which starts at $19.99 a month.
There's a ton of other stuff to unpack here, and it's a sign of Lamar's fame that elaborate break-downs and write-ups of how his videos are made fill the internet within days. In 2015, a timelapse of the editing process for Lamar's video "Alright" drew thousands of views.
We might not have the first clue about how a few of these effects were pulled off, but the most eye-catching sequences in "Humble" are no mystery.