From Sketch to Screens: Crafting Music Video Designs with Carrie J. Liu

Gerardo Ortiz Callada

Carrie J. Liu, a production designer for music videos, film, and television, believes that growing up in Beijing and traveling to over thirty countries has imbued her work with a unique perspective. With a diverse array of cultural experiences, she possesses “a deep understanding of various cultural nuances,” which allows her to infuse authenticity into the sets she designs.

IDGAF BoywithUke ft. Black bea

“Geometry and spatial design has been my childhood passion,” she says. “Making miniature homes and furnishing is one of my biggest hobbies.” This interest ultimately led her into filmmaking, which then drew her to work in set design.

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It wasn’t easy to break into this industry, however. Liu says that not having connections was her biggest challenge—and is likely what inhibits people from advancing further in the industry. When asked about how she gained experience, she said that “grabbing every single slim chance to get on a project is the way to go with a portfolio link of the past work.”

EL PERRO

Liu’s versatility, as well as her ability to adapt on the go, has helped her step into the industry and make impressive strides. She says that, with countless different stories available, being able to understand them thoroughly and create authentic designs with open-mindedness is one of the most important parts of her job.

IDGAF Carosel

With designs featured throughout music and film, Liu’s work speaks for itself. Her music video set designs have reached millions of viewers for artists. These include Gerardo Ortiz, whose “El Perro” music video reached 14 million views, and BoyWithUke, whose “Long Drives” and “IDGAF” videos have reached over 40 million each. Liu’s passion for designing sets that remain in your mind long after you’ve watched the video has earned her high praise amongst both celebrities and their expansive audience.

LONG DRIVES BoywUke

When asked about working with Snoop Dog, during which she designed a rustic western bar for one of his sets, she says that Snoop laid eyes on it and gave her the biggest high five and a wink. “Tight” was the word he used to describe her work. “It was a brief but fulfilling moment,” which she says, “validated my creativity in the realm of the Doggfather.”

When working with BoywithUke on his music videos, she says that both “Long Drives” and “IDGAF” (ft. Blackbear) contained a narrative with a continuous story, during which BoywithUke “fell in love with this girl but got dumped soon after.” She says that, during the creation, she helped custom make 35mm vintage carousel slides with his cartoon character on them.

Snoop Dogg Me Gusta Latina

She’s also worked on Christmas music videos with artists such as Debbie Gibson and Christina Perri, both of whom she claims were “a lot of fun.”

Liu’s drive to create strong narrative pieces has pushed her to new heights in her career. Whether it’s working on music videos, or even feature films such as “Most Wanted Santa” and “The Greatest of All Tina,” she says that her rich cultural experience has allowed her to give her designs a distinctive edge, and has also allowed her to infuse authenticity into the sets she develops.

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