MAA | MUSIC VIDEO | 'THE MAKING OF' BLOG
This was a day shoot on a very cold day I must say, all over London with some of the most iconic backdrops including Big Ben (still under construction at this point unfortunately), London Eye and Abbey Road Studios.
The other shots were more organic to the surroundings that I found that were visually appealing such as regents park on the 'jungle like' bridge and the steel based urban equivalent which I found on the way to regents park. I felt this could be a nice dynamic to the video with the urban to suburban look.
The 360 panning around Zain was also in regents park which actually was quite a busy park and had children's play grounds and such in the background which wasn’t the look I was going for. So essentiality angling this upwards to cut all this off was key, with the low set bright sun and broken clouds created nice flares and a dream like ascetic. Panning around while maintaining the smooth movement and keeping Zain in the right framing with his improvised movements for me was tasking but took 2 and only 2 takes and was happy to use both takes in the edit. This dreamy look was perfect for the ‘humming’ ’thoughtful’ moment I felt for the edit.
Down a set of stairs near regents park coming from filming a passing of the Abbey roads studios building I saw a cool urban bridge with a lot of colourful graffiti which was certainly a great choice to stop and get some shots there. Initially I positioned Zain as far over to the canal while maintaining his straight line of walking towards camera as I follow suit and having the graffiti on the left was a simple but very cinematic shot and one of my favourite shots of the video. The shot was filmed from the far end stretch to under the bridge and out the other side which was a complete take of the song from one end to the next. Walking backwards while looking where I’m going and asking Zain to keep his pace constant for framing and not to have any passers by in shot wasn’t an easy task but certainly got great results.
The Graffiti wall was another great shot with slow panning side to side at a slight curve on the end of the slide utilising POV mode so it was all in my wrist action to get this solid soft control on the gimbal. The ascetic of the shot was achieved by placing Zain as far away from the wall as possible while still have the frame filled with the wall to achieve the ’shallow depth of field’. The sun was hitting hard so the ND filter was set to max at 8 stops down at F1.1. with super 35mm equivalent and as it was broken clouds so under and overexposing was to be continuously monitored and controlled.
The sun glasses which is worn throughout the video isn’t easy to work with as it can create reflections of me when he looks directly at the camera so I often remind the artists with sunglasses to just look slightly off the angle opposite side I’m on of the lens so still looks like they are looking at the camera but it won’t cast me in the reflection essentially.
An initial pan upwards is the first shot filmed in 60FPS, with a wide angle set to 18mm created a nice scope to the bridge when I went under enough to fill the sides of frame with the iron clads. The following shot on another bridge in regents park was wooden and filled with trees in the surrounding which instantly gives a nice contrast in visuals of a bridge using the same motion 60FFS pan upwards.
There was one more scene at the bridge in the edit which was starting at the base of the bridge iron frame to reveal Zain on the other side then the reverse which was a nice shot but possibly overkill with the use of that area for the video but I liked it to much and thought it still worked really well in the cut. There was a slight judder of the gimbal as I was panning back around which was caused by the overweighted gimbal as I had a motorised focus puller attached to the end of the lens so I could pull fours with the Zhiyun Crane 2 on my GH5 as the gimbal has a focus wheel but only works electronically with canons so their solution for this is to add weight to the end of the lens with a separate motor which really isn’t a practical solution I work with. After this take I decided to take this off and pull focus by hand whilst trying to utilise the gimbals stability which isn’t the best approach but is one I often use and gets me the results I need. So until I get a canon and use it with the Crane 2 or get a different gimbal with better focusing options, focusing will either be maintaining a set focus distance from subjects or using a deeper depth of field. Or like what I would do on a higher budget project I would rent a full gimbal framed DJI Ronin which can take much heavier camera set ups.
One of the earliest shots of the bush staring point to reveal a bridge that is covered in leaves and has a canal beneath it is another suburban equivalent of a bridge.. This looks very jungle like with a multitude of trees with nice scattered clouds and one of my top 3 shots of the video.
The Broll shots were all shot in 60FPS covered to 24FPS which creates a 40% slow motion which is a nice subtle slow-motion and with the GH5 it can still maintain 4k resolution which is very sharp and holds a strong image.
There a few shots in the underground train stations which is all handled utilising the GH5’s sensor stabilisation and with the 60FPS it is still super smooth on movement.
I added some BTS (behind the scenes) clips, usually I would use a 360 camera mounted on the camera I’m filming with or/ and I would tripod up a second camera at a few angles when found a location to shoot in just to capture all the ongoings for me to later use within a VLOG/ Behind the scenes videos. I often put together BTS/ VLOGS which are all available on my channels or website to check out.
I find it rewarding to film as much BTS as possible for not just promotional reasons or for clients to see my workings but also memories to look back on for myself. Editing these videos are by no means a simple task as I still try to make them entertaining for the masses even if they are not avid or pro filmmakers themselves or even a potential client. However finding the time to do this for every single project I edit obviously isn’t possible but sometimes I do go back on archived BTS and put it together down the line.
Back to video edit structure itself I of course picked the best clips technically in terms of exposer smooth movements, composition but also content, artist performance and sync. Then It's about constructing the story and flow of the edit, Lyrics is one of the main ways to approach the story development. Simple cross fades were used through the edit which was a client preference and it works well for the flowing soft song although in any of my other work you will rarely ever see a cross fade but it made life far simpler by using this rather then heavy thinking on cool transitions which I often tailor and manually create.
Syncing can be a simple process even if the song isn’t in your own language by finding pinpoint waveforms or key words to match up, the easiest way to approach the initial syncing is making sure as often as practical when filming the song make sure its from start to finish per clip or there is auto sync softwares which works some of the time depending on the sound you recorded on the shoot and if it is loud enough and not too much ambient sound around completely drowning it out.
I filmed this is Cine 4K on a 5K timeline so it creates a an aspect ratio of around 2:35:1 appose to the 1:85:1 of cine 4K outputs then when I go to Master it is still 4K but without the initial 1:85:1 height. Many people master in 16:9 (UHD) and add black bars which isn’t the way to do it unless you have some reason to do this for issues with a platform that only takes certain aspect ratios and would just end up cropping into the 2:35:1 for example.
Colour grading is one of the most important factors that could make or break the hard work on the visuals done up to this point, in terms of incorrectly changing exposer levels and colours.
Essentially I worked with dark medium levels hit at the brown and red, the highlights and light mids with blue and green, I dropped the mid exposers down 10% on some and on some pushed between 10% plus and minus on the exposer highlights and left the shadows totally alone to reserve the dynamic range of the camera flat profile which I use CineD rather than Vlog as it creates noise at 8 Bit 4:2:0. I used a slight increase in sharping as I filmed it flat with no sharpening as it produces better results to add sharpness in post appose to in camera. The overall look achieved is a warmer and inviting and slightly rustic one whilst maintaining vibrant colours and correct exposers.
Yes so there we go that is a LITTLE insight into the ideology of the music video construction from a filmmakers/ Cinematographers/ editors stand point. The song its self is a solid one regardless that I can’t understand it, although Zain did give me to the lyrics in English before hand which is essentially a lovely song about how grateful he is to his mother and how much he loves and misses her.
Ok that’s enough from me. Take care, check you on the next one!