Although I have filmed some acoustic performances from some of the North East’s most exciting bands since September, I have never made a music video. The performances that I have filmed are stripped back live acoustic sets. To my relief the bands I filmed,and other people have liked them.Some of these videos can be see
One of those bands was The Union Choir who asked me to make a video for their single Your Melodica. So we met at The Cluny before one of their gigs in November to plan the video. Over the coming weeks we came up with a concept for the video a mixture of performance and narrative.
From my photography I do have knowledge of lighting, composition, and experience shooting gigs and bands – it seemed a daunting task for a first music video but we managed it one step at a time.
We planned the performance shoot to be at the end of November in a room where we had recorded some of the acoustic sets called the High Bridge Sessions – but to give it a different look we put the band in front of the windows. This shoot took careful preparation as we decided on the key shots for each part of the song – on the day we were there from 2pm and I think the real filming took about 5 hours – and we ended up being there until the building closed at midnight. It was a hectic day but the band were willing and patient to hang around and make sure that we got all the shots – without complaint.
Here is a time lapse we made of setting up the performance footage
That video will always remind me of the fun we had on that day – thanks to the three people ( Dan, Andy, and Jill) who helped with the filming and setting up it was a fantastic team effort.
We then planned the doll shots in Newcastle and South Shields – Jill even knitted a doll in the image of Jon from The Union Choir – I feel details like this really give the video a more personal feel and was definitely worth doing. It was great that the band could find some actors – thank you Ashleigh, Liberty, and Rachel.
The editing took days it was especially time-consuming to synch the video. I sent different cuts of the video to the band for approval and we finally came up with the final edit. It is a pity there was other footage that could have worked but there was only 4 minutes of video – there was also footage that was good in theory but when viewed on-screen was not suitable.
Anyhow here is the video
In February I was excited to be asked to do the first press shots for the Prison Library. I knew some of the band from a few years ago when they were Spies in Limbo – we had worked together on a studio shoot. I feel I have learned so much since then.
It helped that the band had some ideas and I wanted to create a certain atmosphere and style with location and lighting. Therefore,before the shoot I sent the band location and lighting test shots, so I was sure that I was heading in the right direction. It is important that the style of the image fits with the style of the band. I even bought a second-hand pub seat that would fit four or five people – it will be great prop for future shoots.
On the day of the shoot I did a run through of the lighting set ups which saved time later on.
The shots on the sofa were done using two separate exposures and merging them in Photoshop. I took one frame of the band with flash, and for the other shot I made a long exposure to accentuate the ambient lighting.I used a combination of Elinchrom flash heads with umbrellas,softboxes, and grids, for the three different shots. For my next shoot I will remember to get some behind the scenes footage.
More of my photographs can be found on my website
I was pleased with results, and more importantly the band liked them too – you can see them on their website here http://www.theprisonlibrary.com/