Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Making the video...

The end of September saw a big step forward for me, with the release of the first music video I can let you all see.

When I was a kid I loved filming video, and even though my main focus (excuse the pun) has been photography, I've never really forgotten my enthusiasm for moving images. Upgrading my camera body to the Canon 5D Mk II enabled me to rediscover my childhood joy in full HD, and I am really quite enjoying it. Using a digital SLR to produce video does of course have it's limitations, but if you get the shot right, you can produce some really rather stunning results.

After some time away from my camera due to my body being generally a bit useless, I started to build my confidence again this year by undertaking the BBC Voices short course "Making Movies" which was a really useful basic introduction to different styles of shooting and editing.

I had been talking to Norwich based artist Sanguine Sea for some months about making a video, after he approached me to be involved, and in September it finally became a reality, as a team of dedicated people came together to produce a video for his song "Until the Cavalry Come". And more about that in a minute.

My first forray into the world of music videos was in 2010, when I was Director of Photography for the video for "Family", a collaboration between Ed Sheeran and P Money. I spent a day in and around Brixton Hill, London, filming Ed and P Money, with a fantastic team of people including Producer and Director Amalia Rosen-Rawlings and Assistant Producer Georgina Bobb ( ) . This was really valuable experience, showing the preparation and attention to detail required for an on location shoot, as well as the benefits of having a great team of people working together to achieve the end result. The video was finished in November, just before Ed signed his major record deal, and as things sometimes go, our video didn't get a release....but it opened the door to many things.

This experience was all incredibly useful when it came to planning the "Until the Cavalry Come" video. The ideas we had all discussed for the video, and Sanguine's vision for it, were made a reality thanks to a really good team of people brought together by Saunguine Sea. My long term friend and now collaborator Alexander Helm was drafted in to co-direct the video, providing some excellent coaching for Sanguine Sea and the beautiful Amanda Santos, who appear in the video. Hannah Melnyk of Bohemian Love Story was on hand to provide wardrobe and prop advice, and created amongst other things the heart which features as a centre piece of the video. She also made everything look absolutely beautiful on the day with her makeup and styling skills, with stunning results.

KCJackson did all the editing and colour grading you see in the final video, and provided the concept for presenting the video in the lead up to the shoot, which took place at EPIC Studios. This concept was key for the day we were filming, and every shot was set up with this final outcome in mind. Lighting and exposure needed to be absolutely consistent. Alexander spent a good deal of time the day before ensuring the lighting set up was just what we needed on the day, and along with the others made sure that the studio was set up ready to go.

On the day itself we knew we had to complete the video by 4pm, and we all arrived at 9am, ready to go. Sanguine Sea had enlisted Alexander Oddy to help as a runner on the day, providing support where we needed it, be it moving things around or providing much needed refreshments. This kind of help can never be underestimated on a busy shoot - that extra pair of hands is always appreciated.

As with any project, we had to revise things a little on the day when things didn't go quite to plan, but the professionalism of all involved helped to keep things on track. The first shot of the day was the one below, simple yet effective.

The next set of shots were of Amanda, who was a great person to work with. She was extremely patient, open to ideas and also placed her trust in Alexander and myself. This was crucial in achieving what we needed Sanguine's story to tell. We were so proud of her for what she did.

By the time the shots of Amanda were finished, time was of the essence, and we had just over an hour to do all of the shots involving Sanguine Sea himself. This meant Hannah had to work at the speed of sound, and complete four sets of makeup in that time, and all around the actual takes. With cool head and steady hand, she created a makeup masterpiece each time.

From this.... this

Also under considerable amounts of pressure in that last hour was the star of the video himself, Sanguine Sea. Although used to performing in an allotted time, the setting of a music video is a rather different situation! Professional throughout, he delivered brilliant performances at each take, and we completed his part of the video with 4 different looks in just 7 takes! As the last take was nearing completion it was bang on 4pm. Linda at EPIC was around to see how our day had gone and make sure we'd had everything we needed from the venue, it's nice to know facilities like this are on your doorstep.

Then it was over to KCJackson to put the shots from the day together to tell the story. Alexander and myself met up with him a couple of times to go through the video, and it was so nice to see how well all of our ideas came together in his edit of the final video. I don't even like to think how long it took for him to complete the video, but we were all really pleased with the results.

I'll let you judge for yourselves, so if you would like to see the video, its right here:

If you'd like to share it with people you know, that would be great.

I know I'll work with some of the team from this video again, and am really looking forward to it. I'm now planning future video projects, which I can't wait to get underway.

If you'd like to find out more about any of the folks who helped to make the video what it is, here are some more details.

Sanguine Sea - Producer - WWW.SANGUINESEA.CO.UK

Alexander Helm - Director -  Here

Amanda Santos - Actress -  Here

Hannah Melnyk/ Bohemian Love Story - Makeup/ Styling/ Props/ Costume - WWW.BOHEMIANLOVESTORY.COM

KCJackson - Editor/ Colour Grading/ Credit designer - Here

Alexander Oddy - Runner -  Here

Linda Thursby at EPIC Studios - WWW.EPIC-TV.COM

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