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Chronicle of an aspiring amateur filmmaker taking on the world!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Music Video - Shoot No.2


At long last, I'm very pleased to report that I have concluded the filming for the music video project I've been working on with my good friends, Alien Stash Tin.  Its crazy, but it has been just a fraction under three
months since the previous shoot, as documented in this blog post here, I was seriously beginning to think it wasn't going to happen, but here we are...

The Shoot

In theory, a nice and simple exercise, not requiring anything complex like green screening, just getting takes of each band member individually performing to their backing track, filmed under two simple lights to try and give the faux-live look that I think I managed to achieve with Jon at the last shoot.


I was very relieved that both of my 150w lights still worked after a few months of inactivity, but they are still stupidly awkward to suspend in position - once again it required two rickety microphone stands and about 12 foot of gaffer tape.

Bass in the Place

So, up first was bassist, AJ, sporting a snazzy headless bass, rather tastefully decked out in leopard print.  We did a pretty cool first take, then went straight into take two, with AJ loosening up a bit and increasing the movement factor, we began to get something looking pretty convincing.

'What's my motivation?'

Again, I went for shooting from quite low down, looking at AJ as if it were being filmed from below a stage, cast him in as heroic a pose as we could muster.  I'd carefully given him a narrow area within which to stay, could gave him licence move just enough that sometimes he'd blot out one of the lights behind him, creating really interesting contrasts of shadow, illumination and silhouette.  Looking at the footage, it does seem to be a little more grainy than I was hoping for, and I'm afraid there is no disguising the light fitting in the ceiling that I didn't notice was in shot!  I'll have to see if I can cover it over a bit in post production!

Anyway, take two was going great when we had our first technical issue of the evening - the light on the right as we're looking at the shot just went out about two thirds of the way through the take, and on inspection it was clear that I'd just had my first experience of a blown bulb.

The first casualty of filming! R.I.P. cheap halogen bulb
Here is the little bleeder, in its black and crispy, expired glory!  We had to wait for about fifteen minutes for the light fitting to cool down enough so I could get at the bulb and replace it - and its more luck than judgement that I had remembered, at literally the last minute as I was leaving the house, to actually bring my one and only spare bulb with me. 
My main worry, having used the spare bulb, was that the other would go as well, which would completely wreck our plans for the evening.

With a full quota of working lights again, we did another full take of AJ, and that was him all done. Here are a few more AJ moments;

Flying V Signs

Next up, Jon on lead guitar, not to be comfused with Jon - the lead vocalist - its a different Jon altogether.

He did a really good take straight off, which I think will cover most of the wider shots of him that I'll need in the final edit.
Jon had just escaped from a Scorpions tribute band

Again, hero poses were the order of the day, the aim of this shot was to give the impression that Jon was on the extreme opposite side of our fictional stage to AJ.

We then had a couple of technical issues with the lights again, this time it was the heat they were giving off causing the adhesive on the gaffer tape to loosen up - result, droopy lights! I can certify that its very difficult to re-secure these lights while they're still boiling hot!

Lights restored, once again, we got some good footage;

And then I did another two takes, one focusing on Jon's strumming hand, the other on the fretting hand - to catch all the individual chords, notes, and the all important solo.

And right at the end of his last take, in my best directorial tone of voice, I tried to get him to strike an iconic rock pose.  With hindsight, perhaps not my smartest move, but fair play to him for attempting it in that leather jacket. 

'Alright, who wants to hear Wind of Change?'

Dangerous Bruce and the Shiny, Shiny Titanium Drum Kit (its so shiny, I had to mention it twice!)

And so, we moved onto the final challenge of the evening, filming Bruce, Alien Stash Tin's drummer, and his frighteningly sexy silver drums!

You can help, pledge 50p a month and stop cymbal abuse
It was a bit of a compromise in terms of lighting, I'd have loved to get a spotlight illuminating the front of the kit, I did need the lights above Bruce illuminating him and the cymbals.  I tried moving the lights a bit further forward, but although that did make the front of the kit look great, unfortunately it showed up far too much of the studio wall behind him.  As it is, with the shot you see here, you can clearly see that Bruce is not playing live on stage, but I'm sure I can fudge that in the edit to make it look convincing, but when I tried any more light towards the front of the kit the background was way too visible and any semblance of the faux-live illusion vanished.

 While we did have a couple scary moments when the light on the left threatened topple over, and then we had a repeat of the gaffer tape adhesive failure on the right hand light, I was pretty happy with the wider takes I got of Bruce.  

So then I went for a take where I got close up shots around the kit for cutaways

And then I got some close ups of the bass drum beater hitting the bass drum, and a few arty shots and zooms into the Alien logo on the front skin of the bass drum.

And that was that, it was all wrapped up and in the can!

Grrrrrr! Die, Die Die! Kill, Kill, Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiill!!!!!!!

What We Didn't Film

There was talk of some additional footage to intersperse with the main video concept, myself and Jon (thats Jon the vocalist, not the lead guitarist) had talked about trying to fake some low resolution footage that looked like YouTube footage of rioters preparing for an evenings endeavours - tooling up with weapons, petrol bombs, etc, whilst disguising their identities with balaclavas.  We didn't really have time to implement this, it was only a bit of an extra option, I'm pretty sure we will have enough material to finish the video without it.

So, When Will It Be Finished?

Damn good question!  I'm still planning how to edit this together.  In the first instance I think I'll get a coherent edit of all the performance footage, that will probably be the easiest bit.  Then I'm going to try some clever stuff to try and further enhance the live look of the footage.  The News Report footage I think will be mostly used during the verses, but its going to be the most technical part of the editing.  I doubt my computer is up to editing all of the green screen footage and the layers of footage over the top, so I'm probably going to have to build that in subsequent stages - its going to take ages.

Best estimate, possibly, if things go to plan, a finished edit could be available some time prior to Christmas?  Watch this space!


With Thanks To Alien Stash Tin

Big Jon - Vox/Guitar
AJ - Bass
Jon Jon - Lead Guitar
Dangerous Bruce - Drums

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