Today, we went from thinking of a concept for a music video from only looking at the lyrics and listening to the song once, to actually filming the whole video itself and finishing by 5 o’clock. Impressive!
We were given this task as a class, and each of us who were there were given roles. Jess and Ceri were the directors, Angus and James were the cinematographers/cameramen, Stephen and I were the grips and Harry was the camera operator. However, we all took part in actually performing in the video.
The song we were given:
All of us pitched into the idea. After hearing the song, everyone pretty much had the same imagery in our heads: a nightclub, vivid colours, slowmotion, dancing. After we all spoke about this, Dejain showed us this video to to help us a bit more:
We did originally plan on doing a video very similar to this. However, we had to take into account time and eqiupment limitations. We discussed how we could have a someone with a camera and gimbal circling around a subject who would be dancing. We liked the idea of it being slow-mo, so we knew we would record in 50 FPS, and whoever would be dancing would have to dance in double speed. Although we did end up doing something similar to this during filming, we decided that doing this concept alone would become very boring after the first minute.
Instead, we took these ideas on board but expanded. We would have a slow-motion video of a club/rave. We would have multiple people dancing to give it this feel, we would have multiple angles and shots to make it more interesting, we would include the Gimbal idea but supplement this with shots of the dancer’s feet as they danced, the shadows that were created on the wall and friends chatting.
What we did
We set up three dedo lights and one kino flo. We set the kino flo to a vivid pink, and stuck different coloured gels over the dedo lights to add to the colours being created. We were aiming for the look of a night club. Since I was grip along with Stephen, I had to make sure the lights were doing what we intended, and this meant working closely with Angus and James who were testing how the set looked on the camera. Once the lights were set up, and the camera was ready to roll, we filled the room with smoke using the smoke machine. We then spent the rest of the day going through all the shots we needed. I had to leave my post as grip to be a performer in the video, and we had to do a lot of dancing! The camera was set to a shallow depth of field to help further the illusion of a club. All we could see was the smoke, lights and blurred images of people dancing. Perfect!
We did all the shots chronologically, which started with all of us dancing as the camera panned around and moved onto shots of our shoes as we danced. We then wanted shots of friend’s hanging out, so we moved the couch in the DMP room into the middle of the set. We finished off with the recording shadows created on the wall as people danced, and this required us to move the set around some more. We had to move the lights so they created harsher shadows, which meant basically moving all four so they were facing the performers and wall, instead of two being side on as was originally the case.
What I learnt
This was an incredibly valuable task, and it helped me understand some really important points.
Firstly, I now realise how long it takes to do video that is relatively simple. To actually film this, it took three hours. It’s great to have an idea of this now so I know what to expect when I come to film my own music video.
Secondly, it helped me understand the importance of commuciation, storyboarding and shot logging. At times, things were very much all over the place. Everyone was doing their own thing, and we didn’t know what our next shot would be after finishing one scene. It felt as if we were almost making it up on the spot, and this added to the confusion and to the time.
Thirdly, it’s really important for everyone to take a break. Neal kept telling us after every shot to take a five minute breather. To get out of the stuffy room, and gather yourself. This actually helped everyone a lot, and we ended up making more progress than we would of if we had no breaks; with the breaks, no one got frustrated and apart from the occasional confusion, everything ran smoothly. This is a good lesson to learn now before I work with performers in my music video.