361MC: – Rat Bastard – Bad Mouth Men Shoot

The initial lead up to the shoot for Rat Bastard by Bad Mouth Men was much smoother and far less nerve-wracking than it was for the day of Little Rag Doll by Six Broken Sticks. As I had already filmed one music video before and was aware of the process of filming and necessity for multiple takes, myself and the team were a lot more confident in both our filming ability and knowledge of what was required. I had also prepped my team beforehand and sent them the music videos I had based my research on in order for everyone on the day of the shoot to all be on the same page and unite under one consistent vision. In order to emulate the visual pace and camera movements of 1970s punk videos, I knew that unlike Little Rag Doll I wanted the entire video to be shot from cameras on shoulder mounts and to film in close up as we walk around the performance room and offer shots.

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Upon arriving at the practice room, I was a little dismayed to find that the room was incredibly small and already had a lot of junk in their without all of the instruments or kit set up. When the kit and lights had been set up, it was very challenging to move around the space. Although this wasn’t ideal filming conditions, I thought that this might help contribute to how we were approaching the shoot and the necessity to film everything close and constrained. This was a great opportunity for us once again to work under a limitation and test out skills to offer shots around an enclosed area. All three of us had to make sure not to stray into each other’s view of the cameras but also move the camera around enough to generate the needed sense of momentum and variety in angles. This was incredibly challenging and put our camera skills to the test but I believe we managed to accomplish some varied shots that will look great once they are edited to the correct pace of the song.

At fIMG_5189irst, the song itself also posed another momentary limitation to us as it was the first time any of us had heard it. This made the first few run-throughs of the song very challenging as we had to anticipate in what direction the song was leading and also concentrate on how we thought each member of the band would act at each new cadence of the song. Unlike Little Rag Doll where we had a clear time stamped plan of shots which accompanied the song, Rat Bastard was completely improvised for all of us, with our only point of reference being what we had seen from the band’s collection of live videos on their Youtube page. Once we had recorded the song a number of times, we knew where each cue of the song was and so the filming process became a lot easier. This taught us the important skill of improvisation and reactionary filming which is a key skill to have as a media producer as it allows you to be self-reliant and improves your ability to take your own initiative.

Overall, the shoot went very well and built upon my own personal development in the area of directing (a position I was a lot more comfortable in this time around) and vastly improved my approach to camera operating. It has taught me however that for the next music video I should really visit the location and have a thorough knowledge of the song before the day of filming as, although it taught me some important skills, it means that the whole process of filming can go much smoother and you are able to plan ahead in order to both utilise the space on offer as well as direct more confidently and coherently when you can pinpoint exact points of the song to begin filming from.

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361MC: – Organising Bad Mouth Men shoot and Risk assessment

Filming with take place at Bad Mouth Men’s practice room which is on campus at Coventry University on Tuesday 25th February 2014.

Although we have the practice room booked all day, we will aim to be finished filming in 3 hours. The band have agreed to meet us with the kit and take us to the practice room.

The schedule for the shoot will be as follows:

15:00pm: Meet the band who will take us to the practice room
15:15pm – 15:45pm: Be ready and have equipment set up to begin filming
16:00pm – 19:00pm: Film music video and be packed away and ready to leave by 7pm.

Below is the risk assessment form I sent out to the band and my two camera operators:

Risk Assessment – Bad Mouth Men music video – 25th February 2014

361MC: – Choosing a song for Bad Mouth Men music video and the dilemma of a narrative

As the goal was to find a song that was 3 minutes or above for my music video, Bad Mouth Men finally decided on a song for their music video called Rat Bastard, although they still have yet to record it. This initially caused concern with me as I needed to start thinking of ideas for the video quickly due to the shoot being in little over a week. Although I won’t be able to hear the song until the day of film arrives, they did send me a copy of the lyrics which has helped me begin to craft a few ideas for a possible narrative:

I hate all of the decisions you make everyday
You love money just never got it
There’s a black hole right in your pocket
I feel sorry for your wallet
You’re bad for yourself OI OI OI
You’re bad for yourself OI OI OI
It’s like talking to
A one way mirror
You love money just never got it
There’s a black hole right in your pocket
I feel sorry for you
Yeah do you say what I mean
When are you ever hearing me
You’re bad for yourself OI OI OI
You’re bad for yourself OI OI OI

What I took away from this is that the themes deal with the subject of money and the lack of it as well as frivolous spending. My initial idea was to make segments of the video similar to that of MTV Cribs; where the camera pans across certain things in the room and the total price of it appears on-screen, which would relate to the theme of the song but also be juxtaposed by the fact that the room we are filming in is very minimalistic. However, I quickly discarded this idea as I felt that this kind of narrative would not fit that of a music video in the punk genre and seem quite out-of-place from the attitude of the song. Although I have not heard the song and won’t until we are physically shooting the video, I can tell by the lyrics that it is very anthemic in the repeated ‘OI OI OI’ chorus which is designed for the audience to sing along with. This reflects a much more stage orientated performance performing to a live crowd.

Another idea I had for a narrative was to tell a story of a man on the streets who is drinking heavily and slumped against a wall in the middle of an alley. He reaches into his wallet and suddenly finds thousands of pounds that has seemingly magically appeared. Overjoyed with his new-found riches, the man begins to be incredibly frivolous with his spending; throwing most of it into the air, buying more alcohol and even dabbling with class A drugs such as cocaine. As the song builds to the frantic conclusion, the once overjoyed state of the man wanes as his time of debauchery catches up to him once again. The man ends up back on the streets in the alley he began where he tentatively looks in his wallet again. The money has reappeared and it is clear to the audience that the man intends to repeat the same lifestyle once again.

Although I like the concept of this idea, dealing with things like alcohol and drugs is incredibly extreme for any kind of  music video and especially for this particular band. Although I initially wanted to set out to make a music video in the same light and attitude of those of the hair metal genre of music from the 1980s and the whole time of the ‘decade of decadence and debauchery’, it became clear that even though some of the songs from that time dealt with themes of the lifestyle such as an overindulgence of alcohol and drugs, this content was never actually physically shown in the actual music videos and remained aspects of the bands’ personal lives outside of the music scene. Because of this, I also discarded this second idea for a narrative.

I soon realised that perhaps the best approach to the Bad Mouth Men video would be to simply have it as a band focussed video, in a similar style to the British punk movement. Although my first concept for my FMP was to create an 1980s inspired music video, I felt that with this I could take the general attitudes and music video styles of the 80s glam metal scene (such as having it centred around the band’s performance and stage presence) but infuse this with the attitudes and mannerisms of the punk genre which mirrors Bad Mouth Men’s style.

I also decided to look at another music video for inspiration for camera angles and different ways to film the video. I know I want the video to be frantic and manic and thought that this sense of chaos could be created through filming most of the shots in extreme close up or just close up. I looked to Huey Lewis & The News song Hip To Be Square for inspiration:

I think this video effectively captures a frantic sense and some very interesting variety of shots which is something that I would like to translate into Rat Bastard. As the first video we shot for Little Rag Doll was mostly filmed with tripods for steady shots, I would like to go the opposite with Bad Mouth Men’s video and use a lot more momentum; filming entirely with shoulder mounts and walking in-between the band as they play.

Overall, I think that the video will still work without a narrative, as the main draw of the band is in their unique image and quirky antics as they perform; which is what I will place as the focus for the video.

 

Unknown. 2009. Huey Lewis And The News – Hip To Be Square. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB5YkmjalDg [Accessed: 15 Feb 2014].

361MC: – Researching punk music videos

As I am still unsure as to how to approach the Bad Mouth Men music video, I thought it would be beneficial for me to research and watch a collection of punk music videos in order to get a flavour of what is required, and if there are any common elements within them. Although Bad Mouth Men’s genre is hard to define, I believe the gravitate more towards punk than any other genre; albeit with added comedic elements and personas.

I chose to watch two videos by arguably one of the most prominent and influential punk bands of all time; The Sex Pistols:

What I noticed from this video is that there are a lot fewer cuts than I anticipated there to be. With other music videos (depending on the pace of the song) they usually followed a 3 – 4 second pattern between cuts but this sometimes has much longer breaks between shots. The camera also typically moves in two notable fashions; long sweeping motions of the band as the camera moves high and back down, or zooming in or out from the faces of each of the band. The video also noticeably focuses on lead singer Johnny Rotten’s persona and mannerisms which is something I want to incorporate into my video with Bad Mouth Men’s quirky personalities. In terms of editing, the video only uses a small collection of transitions at the beginning and one for the closing shot. There is also no narrative to the video as the main focus is on the energy and stage presence of the band.

I decided to watch another video by The Sex Pistols in order to confirm my observations from the previous video. The music video for Anarchy in the UK once again demonstrates a very stripped down and band focussed video. Like Pretty Vacant; the video focusses most notably on the band’s frontman, Johnny Rotten, and his antics on stage. Although still a band-centric video, this video seems to have more of a point as it shows the youth of that decade’s disgust at the country and the sense of rebellion which is demonstrated in the band’s attitude in the video which helps to reinforce the bitter anger in the actual song. In terms of length between cuts, this one used considerably longer shots, with one shot of Johnny Rotten at the beginning lasting around 20 seconds long before cutting to the next shot. This is quite surprising as the song matches Pretty Vacant’s tempo, which used much more regular and frequent cuts. In this video, there is one camera shot which is set up behind the band which is a shot I have very rarely seen in a music video of a band. The cameras always tend to be set up with the band facing them at all times to capture all of the facial expressions and the instruments from the front. This was quite and interesting shot, but I’m not sure how effective it was in the grand scheme of the video. It certainly added a little more variety into the shots, but it did not seem very cinematic. However, this has made me realise that if the video for Bad Mouth Men is to be entirely focussed on the band performing, it will be necessary to think of many different camera angles in order to keep the viewers’ interest and to make the video a lot less generic in the tumult of band orientated videos.

Finally, I looked at the classic song I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones. Although incredibly simplistic, it could be argued that this video does have a narrative, or at least a visual theme which makes sense with the song’s meaning. The entire video is a single shot of the band sitting at a table in a ‘sedated’ and oblivious state, partaking in very limited and menial actions as more and more crazy acts and people walk in the room and cause chaos around them. The video in my opinion shows the lack of interest for the band to conform to the world and the hustle and bustle of life around them and the need to be individual and stand out from the crowd by doing your own thing; even if it means doing nothing. Although an incredibly simple idea, I believe a lot can be read into this music video, and does serve as an adequate narrative for the song.

That being said, as I want to focus on editing and improve my development in this area, filming a one shot music video with an unmoving camera will not demonstrate my professional ability for my FMP and would come across as very lazy. Although it works for this particular song, I will have to employ a similar style to that of the videos of The Sex Pistols for my music video for Bad Mouth Men, as it will better demonstrate a sense of pace and editing technique through the band’s activity, rather than inactivity. This will therefore alleviate the dilemma of adding a narrative as I do not feel it is necessary for this certain genre of music and may in fact weaken its overall attitude and impact if one is added. It does however all depend on which song ends up being chosen to film, as the lyrics may propose an interesting opportunity to add a narrative if they create a vivid picture or pose a thought-provoking theme.

Unknown. 2010. The Ramones – I wanna be sedated (Official Video – HQ). Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Eajk2uDWaP0 %5BAccessed: 10 Feb 2014].

Unknown. 2012. Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=R6GDdKrQ8EI %5BAccessed: 10 Feb 2014].

Unknown. 2010. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=q31WY0Aobro %5BAccessed: 10 Feb 2014].

361MC: – Confirming second and third band & research into Bad Mouth Men’s past videos

For my second band, I managed to confirm a Coventry band called Bad Mouth Men who were willing to shoot a music video with us. I believe that their unique and quirky style will be an interesting juxtaposition from the previous band of Six Broken Sticks and the band I intend to film for my final music video; Borderline.

I managed to confirm Bad Mouth Men by posting a message on the Coventry University Band Society page and they were incredibly eager to shoot a music video and so we arranged an estimated date for filming at around the end of February, which is still a few weeks off.

I had been in talks with Borderline since around December. I had spoken with the keyboardist and he was interested in being a part of the project. The only problem I faced with them was that they are essentially a covers band. As such, I may have ran into some kind of copyright claim down the line as well as the fact that there would be an existing music video for that song in the first place. I had asked them around this time if they had any original material and was told that they had one original song, Juliet, which was one of the first songs the band ever wrote when they had a different lineup many years previously. I was told that it would take the band time to re-learn the song and add a new take to it due to departure of a few of the old members. There was also the case that the song had not been recorded at a studio or mixed which would mean the band would need even more time to prep the song before we could even entertain the idea of a music video. Because of this, I have organised Borderline for the final shoot which will take place at the end of March, which will have given them the time from December through to March to have the song ready and recorded so we are ready to film.

Unlike Six Broken Sticks’s songs which created a vivid idea and theme throughout their music, which made it easy to think of a narrative idea, Bad Mouth Men’s songs pose a challenge to me to think of how I can approach this new style of band. This in itself is difficult as Bad Mouth Men themselves are hard to define under a single genre; containing elements of punk, comedy, glam and heavy metal. As such, pinning down a direction to take the video is incredibly difficult, made more so by the fact myself and the band have not settled on which song of their’s will be chosen.

For my first piece of research into how I can gain inspiration for this second music video, I have decided to look at what Bad Mouth Men have produced themselves for their past music videos so that I may eventually take similar elements from them but also add my own personal take to it.

Out of all of their videos, this is the one that is the most well produced. Although an amateur music video, I am able to see from the video the comedic elements of their performances and unique dress sense which all culminates into their high energy performance. This is an element I want to translate into my music video for them. Although this and another one of their videos is incredibly primitive in technical ability, I enjoy the quirky style and seeming mix of punk and comedy with their distinct image. I also thought that the use of camera momentum in all of the shots added to the chaotic nature of the song. That being said, the editing and video quality of the video is greatly lacking and this will be an area I will strive to vastly improve upon for my music video. I do however like the stripped down look of the setting with exposed pipes and ladders in the background which lends the video a sense of them being a garage band and makes the product a lot more rawer which compliments the audio quality of the song. From the songs that are on offer to me, it is still very difficult to construct a narrative around any of them, as the strength of the songs really comes from the performance of the band and their individual mannerisms in how they play rather than any intricate thematic narrative.

Once again, it is very difficult to think of a narrative without knowing which song will be used. It is also difficult in choosing a song as most of their catalogue of songs are around 2 minutes or even shorter. For a truly decent product as part of my FMP, I want each music video I make to be at least 3 minutes or over as I feel this allows for a greater sense of pace to be generated throughout a longer song. Overall though, I have a clear sense of what visual aspects I would like to integrate into my video; still retaining the raw and fairly primitive setting as well as making the quirky mannerisms and comedy the focus, but improving upon the current editing and technical aspects from previous videos.

 Unknown. 2013. Bad Mouth Men – Shovelin’ [Official Video]. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXbat9uR4eM [Accessed: 02 Feb 2014].