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Saturday, November 22, 2014

••◊ Pictures From "You're Everything" Music Video

Last Friday I was the director of photography for Jorandy's "You're Everything" music video.  The thing that had me the most nervous was the weather.  San Diego weather is normally quite tame and sunny, but it had been cloudy and rainy all week prior to the shoot.  The video is split into two parts; one where Jorandy writes the song to his dream girl, and the other where he goes on a group date with her.  It was sort of Elton John's "I'm still standing" music video combined Richard Marx' "Don't Mean Nothing" meets West Side Story.

Since the day started out at Jorandy's house re-arranging furniture and setting up lights we could start with a light workload (no pun intended).  We rented a couple Hive plasma lights from Video Gear to match the outdoor lights.  I put the PAR outside on the patio and diffused it with bleached muslin.  The flood lamp was placed in front of the organ and bounced off a circular fold out reflector for fill.

As you can see in the photos below, the second part of the day worked out OK...just in time.  It was hit and miss right up until when we started to record.  We recorded the main part of the video in the food court area of Belmont Park and I used two shiny board to reflect light as a hair light on the girls and as a main light on the boys.  I had Ultrabounce, silk, reflectors, and whatever else we could use as a backup.  The director didn't give me a clear shot list, so I had to come a bit over prepared. 

If I would have had more budget I would have wanted a couple 18k HMI's and the 12x12 silk, but we didn't the crew of budget for it.  In fact, my budget had been cut to 40% of the original budget earlier on Monday, and we had to argue for that amount. 

My excellent AC for the day, Peter, really saved me a lot of work and worry on this shoot.  We were using the new DJI Ronin stabilizer for most of the park shots so we could keep the camera moving.  He had previous experience setting it up, so I left that to him while I concentrated on the shots.  The problem with the Ronin is that it destroys your shoulders after an hour or two.  Other people have told me that the MoVI is lighter, but I'm not sure it really matters.  The previous day I was at Shane Hurlbut's seminar and his comments about using the MoVI mainly centered on how they took the weight off their operator's shoulders.  By 6pm my shoulders were completely fried and Peter took over the final shot. 

What I can say about the Ronin is that it's very easy to operate and much easier to setup than a Steadicam.  The main problem I had is that even at the faster self-operator panning speed it still wasn't quite fast enough.  That's just a firmware issue, so it will probably get fixed in the future.

The director really, really wanted a shot of Jorandy riding the roller coaster with Channing.  So I set him up to do it.  After all, I didn't want to be responsible for dropping his camera!  I had rented a 15mm Zeiss (=awesome) prime as our roller coaster lens because I knew that would be better for vibration and allow the director to sit in the seats directly in front of Jorandy and Channing.  The first time he was so excited that he accidentally hit the stop button as the roller coaster was just starting.  The second time the SD card door flipped up on the C100 camera during the first part of the ride and the camera stopped recording.  Everyone was dizzy about then, so we only got a few seconds of usable footage and no one was willing to go for a third try.

The director wanted some footage in the bumper car ride, however the park folks told us at the last minute that we couldn't take the camera on the ride.  All I could do is grab some lame footage from the side lines.  Then we turned on the black lights and filmed the group dancing the bumper car area.  Even at f/2.8 and ISO 3200 the camera was challenged to get exposure.  I had to push the footage about a stop in post to get it as bright as you see below.

The evening ended with a sweet note on the carousel.  I had to ride it standing up and facing backwards while holding the Ronin for a couple minutes.  Ouch.  My shoulders were killing me at this point and all I could think is "make this thing stop!"  Final shot - suck it up princess.

This was my first music video and I have to say that these shoots have their own style.  Narrative is one thing, documentary is another, and music videos are their own beast.  Looking back on it now I could see definite areas for improvement in organization and some thing I would have done completely differently with a more robust budget.  However, that's true of just about any project.

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