#2012 Behind the scenes on Justin Wu’s Empire State of Mind set (i.e. New York)

Sydney Edmonds and Ataui Deng.

Over the past couple of weeks I had the distinct pleasure of trailing Justin Wu around New York City as he shot his Empire State of Mind video for Jay Z’s site Life + Times. In short, that meant hanging out with a bunch of awesome guys (the film crew) and taking photos of amazing girls (the models). Highlights included getting my c-walk on with Selita Ebanks; going way up town to that McDonald’s in Harlem with Jenny Albright, Dierdre Reimhold and Leilani Momoisea; meeting – and subsequently falling in love with – Shu Pei; and hanging with Ataui Deng’s absolutely gangsta bulldog (you’ll see why below). Justin is a total sweetheart in real life, but he transforms into this uber professional, authoritative director onset. There is no way your average person could organise and execute such a highly polished – and potentially disastrous – production, but he just steps up and owns it. The guy is going to be huge. Who knows? Maybe he’ll turn up in the lyrics of a Jay Z song someday.

Dierdre Reimhold, Leilani Momoisea and Jenny Albright.

Shu Pei, Justin Wu and Bing Xu.

The crew.

Selita Ebanks getting shot at Washington Square Park.

Tom Bull.

Let’s hear it for New York.

Special thanks to Justin Wu, the models and the Life + Times team for giving me such incredible access.


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  1. Micheal M says

    By the looks of it, it seems like a Canon 5d Mark ii with some sort of L Series lens. Heaps of indie and lower budget films use Canon camera like the 5D to film I think Spike Jonze does some of his work on them. They are really kick ass and a heck load cheaper than a RED camera. 

  2. isaaclikes says

     Michael is right: It was filmed on a Canon 5d Mark two and a 7d as well I believe. Lots of crazy looking lenses but that’s way beyond my expertise.

  3. Blanca says

    Hello Isaac!!
    You don’t know me but you did know my brother a few weeks ago. He’s Jaime, from Mallorca, Spain, and Amanda’s friend. I think he cooked for you a spanish omelette.. Tortilla de Patatas!

    Like your blog!

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