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Fireworks: The Process of Making a Music Video... Part 6

A couple of days before Kyle arrived; we had been talking over Skype about changing the song for the video. He felt that “Fireworks” was more representative of the album as a whole. This really wasn’t a problem, since the video had no narrative element. His costume had been created by a local costume designer and ready to be picked up the next day.

Monday Shoot T Minus 1:

My prep has been done. Lists were made and gear gathered.

Kyle got into Glasgow today with no problems. He showed us the costume. It looks amazing, consisting of several pieces of fabric, feathers, tassels and dangly bits. It’s brilliantly coloured and will look amazing on film.

We talked a bit about the scheduling. We think that 2 locations per day will be a nice easy pace. Kyle has broken the song down into 113 pieces. It’s a few more tracks than the previous song, but about half the song is instrumental, so we don’t have to worry about syncing as many vocals and therefore won’t have to use as much film. That being said, the amount of B-Roll that will be needed will take care of any film that would have been used otherwise.

There are 3 vocal pieces and 3 instrumentals.

The final instrumental piece that ends the song is 33 segments long. We’ve decided to get that out of the way first. This is by far the biggest bit of the song. If we can get this done earlier, then I won’t have to worry about having enough film for it later.

The shot starts on a medium close up (MCU) of Kyle in full costume. With each segment, the camera moves back, ending in an extreme wide shot (EWS) that reveals him standing the ruin of a 12th century chapel.

After lunch, we’ll move on to the Cement house to do a B-Roll shot and one of the vocal pieces.

The other major locations have been decided as well. The 2 locations at Scalpsie Bay will be Wednesday. The Lighthouse location will be Thursday (it will be the only location on that day due to the 1 hour hike there and back). Friday and Saturday are scheduled as B-Roll for the montage sequence (yes, we ARE going to need a Montage!)

Shoot Day One:

The weather was spectacular. Not terribly sunny. The costume looked great. The contrast between the bright colours and the grey brickwork of the Chapel really worked. In between takes Kyle was writing a song about the video shoot. The slowed down song sounds very trippy. Kyle added a metronome click track to the song as well so that we can all keep the lethargic beat. (I'm amazed that he can keep this song straight in his head, broken up this way.) 

As we were shooting, I realised that the way Kyle had sequenced the tracks (3 measures of the previous track, then the 3 measures of the current track, then I keep cranking for another 3 measures) I could dissolve the segments together in post for a dreamy, less jarring feel.

Leslie-Anne was doing playback, slating, and camera logs. The computer was set up with some USB powered speakers and the tracks were played through iTunes.

The slating was simple: Track number and Take number. We only did second takes of this sequence 3 or 4 times, when I felt that the camera wasn’t feeling right. There were instances where the camera started to skip frames, or the crank became hard to turn because of a feeding issue.

The Sequence ended up taking a bit longer than expected and with the B-Roll shots we did of the costume and the vistas surrounding the stunning location, we shot 47 rolls of film (including 3 rolls of Portra 400VC I had sitting around waiting for a chance to be useful). I knew it was going to be our biggest film use day. 

Some of the B-Roll shots became interesting experiments. I pulled out my Lens Baby Diopters and taped them to the front of the LomoKino lens. I have no idea if it'll work, but why not, right? If nothing else, it'll be colourful out of focus stuff to dissolve in and out of. The +4 diopter worked around the neck of the guitar and the +10 did some extreme closeups of some of the feathers and what I hope to be a full frame shot of Kyle's eye half covered by feathers. Macro is such a tricky thing. If it works I'll be very pleased, if it doesn't, I won't be too fussed.

We did another shot of the neck and head of the decorated guitar in the foreground and the beautiful vista in the background. I wanted to see just how accurate the "close-up" button was. I shot it at infinity and with the close-up button engaged. 

Kyle was great today. he stood barefoot on gravel for nearly 3 hours with no complaints. He's really committed to the process and is very excited to try anything we throw at him. He's a great collaborator. This is going to be an amazing film.

We wrapped the Chapel location at 3PM and went to lunch. After lunch, we decided that the Cement house location should be pushed back, since Lesley-Anne would have to leave us and we didn’t want to try to do vocals with only me working camera, slating and audio. Instead, Kyle and I went on a tech scout to the Cement House and also found a cliff top location for one of the B-Roll shots.

The current schedule stands as such:

Wednesday: Cement House and Cliff Top B-Roll and other B-roll Locations

Thursday: Lighthouse

Friday: Scalpsie Bay Locations

Saturday: B-Roll Several Locations

I feel that today went very well, considering it was the first day. We got a great deal accomplished. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the week.