A horde of humans obeys the “Witch Doctor” in this creepy music video

The concept is simple: Dutch rock band De Staat’s lead singer, Torre Florim, stands in the center of a throng of shirtless men, who seem obey his thoughts like a mindless horde of zombies. 

The effect is surprisingly exhilarating. It’s like watching a cult leader command his army of followers before your very eyes. We caught up with Studio Smack, who made the video with Torre and Floris Kaayk, for a few more details about the process behind the project.

Making of

Q&A with Studio Smack

Where did the concept come from?

The song is based on gabber hardcore from the 90’s. And the lyrics are about mass-hypnosis and mass-behavior.

So when we got together with Torre Florim and Floris Kaayk for some brainstorming sessions, these two things were the foundation on which we wanted to build the music video.

Was it challenging directing Torre? Could he imagine the scene?

Torre is an amazing performer, and since he was closely involved in the development of the concept, he needed little direction

It was all shot in one take, right?

Yes, we wanted to to use a long shot instead of a fast paced edit, which makes the video kind of stand out from other music videos.

Did you use crowd simulation software?

We did some tests with Miarmy for Maya, but that didn’t work out the way we wanted.

So we decided to use Videocopilot’s Element 3D, which isn’t made for crowd simulation. But through the use of a lot expressions and 80gb of .obj sequences, were we able to simulate a crowd of more than 2,000 wild men.

Technically speaking, what were the most challenging parts?

  • Cleaning up the greenscreen — over 4,000 images were cleaned by hand in Photoshop
  • Adding post-lighting effects to Torre’s performance
  • Inventing a workaround to use Element 3D as a crowd simulator

How long did it take, start to finish?

Since we had a small team of three guys, it took us over half a year from start to finish.


Created by: Studio Smack, Floris Kaayk & Torre Florim
Music: De Staat
Make-up: Stephanie van der Wal
Special thanks: Nona Weltevrede
Sponsored by TAXfonds / Media Fonds & AKV St.Joost