KUDA “Fake Traitors” music video

When I was asked by local film maker Pete Naylor if I would be interested in shooting a music video that he was directing I was both excited and a little nervous at the same time. Pete said that he’d seen some of the videos here on my blog and thought that my shooting style and the look that I’ve been getting was exactly what he needed for the video.

The shoot was to take place over three or four days at different locations in North Norfolk, a gambling scene in a pub, a scene in a bedsit, a chase scene in Kings Lynn and shots of the band playing at a venue.

Also involved in the production was “Tim Seyfert” an experienced actor all the way from the USA (via Cornwall). There were also a few other main characters and extras played by the bands family members.

Location 1 – Gambling

The first shoot was the gambling scene, which is supposed to show the main characters playing poker in the back room of a night club. This was shot in a pub during the day so our first job was to black out all of the windows, remove bulbs from lights and generally prepare the room for the shoot. Once the natural light was gone we set about lighting which consisted of a softbox hanging above the poker table and a pair of fills to kick some light on to the casts faces.

I discussed shooting formats with Pete and we agreed on shooting in 1080 / 25p. For the gambling scenes the camera was running pretty much wide open the whole time. I used my 50mm f1.4 and 20 – 35mm f2.8 nikkors throughout the whole production, changing quite regularly as required.

We used Pete’s home-made track dolly a few times during the gambling scene but it mostly consisted of locked down tripod shots and handheld footage. As the shoot progressed and the game got down to the last two players we needed to start paying a lot more attention to the story line. Up until that point it was just a case of shooting plenty of angles and close-ups of the players and table as the game unfolded and the players left.

As Pete gave direction I became aware that we were breaking the 180 degree rule, I mentioned it to him but he had made a conscious decision to ignore it so I shut up and carried on as asked. If your unaware of the 180 degree rule there’s a good description on wikipedia

Throughout the shoot we were offloading footage to a macbook Pro which worked a treat. Everyone enjoyed being able to watch the footage on the laptop, and it was especially reassuring for me because Pete & Tim were obviously really happy with it, giving me (and probably them) a lot more confidence in my abilities. Using a MacBook Pro with the EX1 really highlights the beauty of the XDCAM-EX workflow and since this shoot I’ve recently invested in one of my own.

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Location 2 – The Band (part 1)

This scene was supposed to show the band playing in a night-club environment, the same night-club where the gambling was happening in a back room. The location was actually a village hall, complete with tacky stage and piano! We tried our best to make the hall work but soon realised that it just wasn’t going to cut it. We filmed a few shots of the bouncers, waitresses and the bands audience but decided it would be better to find a good location for the band shots than to ruin a perfectly good music video by showing the band in a location that looked more like a nativity play than a night-club! None of the footage from this location made it into the video.

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Location 3 – The Band (part 2)

This time we had permission to shoot in much better venue, it made such a difference and reassured us that we did the right thing calling the previous shoot off. This venue had some pretty decent lighting of it’s own, all I needed to add was my pair of dedolights as fills which were set wide just to balance things out a little.

The band played their song pretty much constantly for the whole afternoon whilst I shot from various angles and focussed on individual band members. After getting a selection of takes using tripod and dolly shots, I put the camera on my Multirig Pro and filmed various close-ups and motion parts that Pete could use to cut into the video.

We finished the band shots with some wider shots on the dolly running along behind an improvised audience who were being served drinks by the girls playing the waitresses, who were also relatives of the band!

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Location 4 – The Chase Scene

All three of the previous locations were shot in the dark, so getting out in Kings Lynn to film the chase scene was great, although shooting in daylight does bring it’s own problems. Not wanting to shut the aperture on the focusing lenses down I fitted ND4 filters to both the 50mm f1.4 and my 20-35mm f2.8.

I filmed the shot of the Land Rover chasing the lead character down an alley by mounting the camera on my glidetrack and having the guys run either side of me after jumping out of the landy. It suddenly dawned on me as the car came belting towards me that the risk of getting the camera kicked was pretty high but with gritted teeth we kept rolling and luckily both the guys managed to clear me and the camera without incident and produced one of my favorite clips.

Next we shot the parts where Tim was walking along and the guys in the Land Rover pulled up beside him causing him to leg it. That shot proved to be tricky due to seeing me and the camera in the tinted window reflections but after a few attempts we managed to get enough angles to make the shot work.

Most of the chase scene was shot over-cranked with the camera rolling at 720 / 25p cranked up to 50 fps.

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Location 5 – The Bedsit

The original script included various shots in a bedsit to portray the lead characters relationship with his girlfriend. Many of these were dropped due time limitations but of all the footage these were my least favorite anyway so I wasn’t sad to see them left out. Filmed with only natural light and the room lights the bedsit scenes look a little out of character to the rest of the video in my opinion, but they are a key factor in making the lyrics of the song tie in with the video so had to be included in part.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed shooting this video, the band members and their friends & families are a great bunch and I’ve come out of the process with a few more friends. Working with Pete & Tim was also great, and I never felt out of my depth or unsure of myself, which was definitely helped by their enthusiasm and willingness to get involved in the whole shooting process.

I did find it quite strange not having to do anything with the footage I shot other than offload to to Pete’s Mac at the end of each day, but in some ways it was nice to enjoy the shooting without the added stress of the edit. I think Pete’s done a great job with the edit, I probably wouldn’t have used as much magic bullet myself, but thats just a personal thing really, I prefer the natural footage from the Ex1 & Brevis without any effects.

I hope you enjoy the video, please feel free to leave comments.

Paul

If you’re interested in finding out more about Kuda, they have a page on mySpace

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