There are times when even simplicity can be stripped down to a simpler form. Is that too simple?
I work with many independent musicians to create music videos. Some want to create a linear storyline while others want an abstract visual. I enjoy both challenges however to create a music video down to it's most basic form, well let's just say this there is one question I always ask myself. "What can be taken out?" See most people want to keep adding on and adding on to try to make something better. In fact it works just the opposite. We've all heard the expression "Less is more.". The hardest thing is to create a simple yet strong visual solution.
Steve Messina of Blow Up Hollywood and I have been working together since the inception of his band close to 10 years now. Over that time I've learned about the kind of visuals he prefers. When Steve contacted me about creating a video of just him performing in his apartment my mind started solving all the obstacles. The apartment environment how to stage it so it is visually appealing, lighting, am I gonna need multiple cameras and sound quality. These are concerns to tackle and the best solution is to simplify.
Here's how I created the music video of Steve covering The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony".
A single Lowell Pro-light 250 watt
Placed up high to the right of the subject. The key is to feather the light off the of the subject's face towards the floor. Reason, I did not want to see the couch and to make the video have a darker vibe.
The Nikon P7000. That's right a point and shoot digital camera. Why did I use this camera when I could have used my broadcast quality Nikon D800 instead? The first thing the Nikon P7000 is light making it highly mobile. Two I like the subtle exposure adjustments that automatically are created by the camera itself.
This is an articulated arm to use as a steadicam. When you hold the camera directly you get more shake. The J Rig actually helps to reduce shake by steadying the camera because your hands are not holding the camera directly. This example shows a Go Pro on the J Rig with Nikon P7000. I did not use the Go Pro for this video. However if you want to see what a music video looks like with the full J Rig in action go to this video I made for Risa Binder.
Of course having quality sound for a musician is super important. The microphone in the shot was just not there for visual purposes but fully functional. Gordon Davies is an excellent audio engineer. Davies mixed the track after the session and provided me with the audio that I synced to the video using Final Cut Pro X Synchronizing Clip feature.