Open Road’s hip-hop music video airs on BET this week


Hip-hop duo Giant’s music video was produced for a $2,300 budget.

A video for Chicago rap duo Giant’s new single “Good Stuff” is slated to begin airing nationally on the BET cable network the week of Feb. 17. Chicago-based Open Road Productions produced the “Good Stuff” video and premiered it at Chicago Community Cinema Feb. 4.

“Good Stuff” is set to run on “Uncut,” a series that plays weekdays at midnight. The video may go into wider rotation on BET, depending on the response it gets. Giant member Mello placed the video through a relationship he maintained from his days as an Atlantic Records recording artist. (BET doesn’t pay to play the video.)

Open Road Productions partner Rocco Cataldo directed the video, which was shot on 35mm by company co-founder Jean-Baptiste LeConte in October 2002.

“We had to pull off some miracles,” to complete the slick video for a slim $2,300, Cataldo says. “We managed to do it with a lot of help from the production community.”

Open Road had secured an airplane from Lewis University in Romeoville for interior and exterior shots. (Golfer Arnold Palmer had donated the plane to Lewis’ flight school, and it hadn’t been flown for years, Cataldo says.)

“Everyone at Lewis was very gracious about it, but the day before the video they asked us to fax a copy of the lyrics to the head of the school, to make sure they weren’t going to be associated with anything racy,” Cataldo says. “We knew with the content about smoking up, and all the innuendos, that it wasn’t going to fly. So we made a mutual decision to pull out.”

The crew improvised and shot the sequence in the parking lot of Open Road’s office at Milwaukee and Augusta.

Cataldo and LeConte shot the video for Mello’s single “Smile” while they were film students at Columbia College. “Mello bumped into Jean-Baptiste in the hall at Columbia and asked him if he knew any directors, and we just got it together,” Cataldo says.

The “Smile” video played on local cable, and won the best music video award at Chicago Community Cinema in 2001.

Under the moniker Public Announcement, Mello and his partner Dre recorded the score for Open Road’s 35mm short “Bounty Hunters,” which played locally on the Fox network and other stations in Spring 2002.

Public Announcement lost their recording contract with Atlantic Records, and now, under the new name Giant, they are seeking a new label. “They’re hoping ?Good Stuff’ will get them back in the game,” Cataldo says.

Cataldo and LeConte started Open Road in March, 2001. Their clients include radio station B-96, clothing retailer Tessuti, Naperville restaurant The Foundry, and Chicago Music Exchange. A commercial they shot for Cox Financial Group is set to begin airing on local television by the end of the month.

The “Good Stuff” video was edited by Open Road partner Bradley Grier at Miami post house Cineworks. Michael Kwielford of Chicago Community Cinema and Vision Pictures produced.

Cataldo credits “Good Stuff’s” beyond-its-means production values to the support of local director Corky Arnold, Kodak, Spoke Films, A la Carte Entertainment’s Mark Hoffman, and Cineworks, which provided postproduction facilities.

Find Rocco Cataldo at M. Koziarski