360MC: – Filming the artefact – Borderline gig

For my 3 minute artefact which will be incorporated into my ten minute FMP proposal, I decided to take the opportunity to get into the mindset of music videos and what will be required when it comes to the actual day of shooting a professional music video. Borderline were playing around a 2 hour gig at a local pub in Tamworth and were happy for us to film. This was almost a demo, with a two camera set up, and constant movement on both cameras, entirely improvised with no prior knowledge as to which songs would be played. It was a great experience to film as I have never filmed a music video before, and it really gave a sense as to how reactive you have to be and channel almost as much energy as the people on stage as you constantly have to keep momentum with the camera and predict which shot to take next. Although the artefact is obviously not as refined as the final submitted music videos will be, it has put me in the right mindset for when I actually come to film properly.

Although I will be using pre-recorded MP3s for the music videos, it was also a necessary experience to organise factors such as sound and audio peaking levels on the equipment to ensure satisfactory audio quality for the video. As we were not prepped as to what the acoustics were like, what the location would look like or what songs were being played, it was a very reactive process but one which I thought was imperative to experience before taking on three (four if you count the alternate version of one of the music videos) large-scale music video projects. What I have learned most from the experience is to think of a lot more variety of shots. As the band were in a fairly enclosed space, we couldn’t get any close-up shots from within the band (this will obviously be different for the official videos) and so had to film everything from the front, or a few shots from the side. When I was on the spot I found that I often resorted to similar shots of close-ups of the guitarist strumming the strings, or fingers on the neck of the guitar, and then a few close-ups of their faces. These are very typical shots and I found that it was difficult to think of any others whilst filming. However, when it comes to filming the final music videos, we will have written out a thorough plan for shots and so we will not have to worry about this factor.

360MC: – Videographer crew, suggested filming dates & possible 4th music video

After meeting with my videographer crew, we discussed everything from equipment needed, travel, expenses and suggested filming dates. We prioritized which order to film each music video in; taking into consideration which videos would require the most time technically and how long each shoot would need to be. As the Leicester music video of Little Rag Doll is entirely narrative based, requiring a lot of props, dressing the location and costume for the actors involved, we have decided it would be best to get this video out-of-the-way first; suggesting a shooting date of January 25th – 26th. The deadline we have set ourselves is to have all three music videos finished, or at least finished in terms of filming, by the very end of March. This then leaves around 2 months for post-production should we need it. Although those 2 months can be used for re-shoots, we think it is best to dedicate each month to each video and make sure each is finished in terms of footage before moving on to the next. This will help us to keep better track of footage and keep our minds focussed on one video at a time. In terms of budget for this particular video, most will be spent on travel expenses for the crew to get to Leicester and also on purchasing props for the shoot and food for the cast and crew.

The band has expressed huge interest in having the music video contain lots of band footage as they feel that they could visually make the stage and setting look interesting. As both of my other two music videos will be band orientated, I wanted this one more so than the others to be entirely narrative focussed with no shots of the band playing. However, because the band are so adamant on including themselves into the video and preferring this style of video, I will produce a 4th music video to submit for my FMP. This will be a second version of the Six Broken Sticks video containing 1/4 footage taken from the narrative, but with the biggest focus being on shots of the band which will compose the other 3/4 of the video. This will be a challenge professionally as it will force me to craft multiple versions for the same song yet still retaining the same tone and pace, albeit with different footage.

Ideally, I would like this video to be completely wrapped for filming by the week ending on the 9th February at the absolute latest. This will then give us around 2 and a half weeks to film and complete Bad Mouth Men’s video which should be very doable; taking it to the end of February. As Bad Mouth Men are located in Coventry, travel expenses will not have to be paid for the crew.

Throughout February, I will be checking on Borderline’s progress with re-recording the song Juliet which will then leave the entirety of March to film that particular video, as each member of the band’s schedules might be unpredictable and scattered around the month. This is where the most budget will have to be spent on travel expenses. It is roughly an hour and a half bus ride from Coventry to where I live, and from there it is then around a 15 minute taxi journey to get to the destination of where we will be filming the video. This therefore does not allow us all that long at the location for the video before the crew will have to return back home. It will cost around £7 per person for a return ticket, and with a crew of around 4 – 5 people and possibly needing to film for around 2 days, the price will be around £70 for that video alone.

A member from my videographer crew also said that he has Adobe After Effects; a software I have never previously used. This will be a great tool to use to refine and enhance certain sequences, as well as add to my own personal development as an editor, as I become proficient in an often sort after software. He is also a video editor and so the post production stage will go incredibly smoothly as both of us are well versed in the procedure of editing and how to construct pace.

360MC: – Band #3: Six Broken Sticks

The third and final band I will be producing a music video for is for a song called Little Rag Doll by Leicester band Six Broken Sticks. This video will be the one that is entirely narrative based, with no shots of the band performing on stage. Little Rag Doll will require a well thought out plan of shots, editing and ideas for narrative as well as many props, make up and costumes that will need to be bought prior to the shoot. The song can be heard below:

http://soundcloud.com/six-broken-sticks/little-rag-doll

In my opinion, this song more than the other two really creates some imaginative imagery with its lyrics; generating an almost macabre and disturbing tone both vocally and instrumentally. After discussion with the band we felt that the subject matter of the song would translate well to a voodoo theme and allow us the chance to really play up the creepy tone of the song whilst being incredibly visually striking and distinctive. Possible props for the shoot include candles, voodoo dolls, pins, razors and old furniture such as an old wooden chair, which will produce many visual signifiers that will help create the mood and tone of the piece.

I have also been in contact with Mourn the Model; a cosplayer and has featured in many photography shoots as a wide variety of characters and guises and has just started her own Youtube channel. This will help the shoot as she is no stranger to the schedule and process of production, and will also greatly improve the narrative of the video as she escapes into the character. When I was enquiring about possible locations in the area that would be appropriate for the atmosphere and backdrop of the video, she said that she had previously done a cosplay photography shoot in an abandoned warehouse which would serve as a good location. I plan to travel to the location on Thursday 16th January and take some pictures of the location so that I can start storyboarding and coming up with a shooting plan for the narrative. An example of her cosplaying can be seen on her Youtube channel and Facebook page below:

http://www.youtube.com/user/mournthemodel?feature=c4-feed-s

https://www.facebook.com/mournthemodel

After pitching ideas with the band, our initial concept was to go incredibly unsettling and creepy, having shots of the band on stage holding up certain items such as pins, rope and razors, whilst cutting back to the narrative side of Mourn the Model being controlled supernaturally and reacting to these things being inflicted on her, with the finale of the song being her enjoying the pain that is being inflicted on her and almost applying these items to herself. This would have brought in elements of submissiveness, unsettling imagery of self-harm and an intensely creepy theme of control. That being said, we quickly dismissed this idea as we found it to be too disturbing and almost like the song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke in terms of it being arguably misogynistic to women, which myself and the band agreed we did not want the message of the video to be to the audience. Since then we have refined the idea and decided to have the lead singer, Tom Creese, be the person who is being controlled by Mourn the Model, cosplaying as a voodoo sorceress, who has him tied to the chair and is torturing him through a voodoo doll of him. At this stage we are still altering the idea of the video but our latest narrative idea, which the band came up with, is as follows:

“First verse. THE GIRL sits, with a pots of pins in her hand. Shot of RAGDOLL, with THE REAL TOM CREESE’s face humorously plastered on top. RAGDOLL CREESE then fades into a shot of THE REAL TOM CREESE’S own face, (again potentially humorous). THE GIRL contemplates the pot of pins then looks at THE REAL TOM CREESE, with a sly grin.
 
THE GIRL walks up and studies to THE REAL TOM CREESE during the lines “I want to know all of your secrets”. THE REAL TOM CREESE looks at THE GIRL in a similar examining way. THE GIRL walks away from THE REAL TOM CREESE … who mouths after her “You only disagreed with me”. He doesn’t sing “And now you’ll pay the penalty/I want to plant something in your bedroom”. This suggests that THE REAL TOM CREESE is thinking these lines in his head (i.e. harbouring unspoken violent thoughts).
 
By this point the girl has picked up RAGDOLL CREESE and is examining him. During “Excoriate the eyelids/ slice up the upper lip/ submit to my id” lines she is gently stroking the eyes and lips of RAGDOLL CREESE. THE GIRL sees THE REAL TOM CREESE from afar, who is now playing guitar and singing into a microphone.
 
During the bits where it goes quiet, THE GIRL goes up to THE REAL TOM CREESE, and grabs his arm. At this point THE REAL TOM CREESE ignores the girl completely and carries on singing. THE GIRL takes out a pin from her pot. During the last bit of singing, just as the instruments come crashing back in – there is a shot of her hand over-dramatically raising the pin her head. Her hand goes out of shot as she violently stabs. The stabbing occurs off-screen. Distance shot , possibly an aerial shot. The girl is on top of the injured THE REAL TOM CREESE and is repeatedly ‘stabbing’. THE REAL TOM CREESE is dead on the floor, (potentially make-up/blood could feature here) THE GIRL grabs the RAGDOLL, and tears TOM CREESE’S face off, leaving just a normal RAGDOLL She stabs the RAGDOLL (potentially with a knife) and then throws it on the floor.
 
Final Shot: RAGDOLL is on the floor with blood coming out of it. The photo of TOM CREESE’S face on it lies beside the RAGDOLL.”
 

At this stage, the band is tending more towards a darkly comedic tone whereas I think this would muddy the tone of the song and video. I think that this video should just purely be creepy and unsettling which would enable myself and the videographer crew to come up with some incredibly imaginative imagery and shots, especially with the aid of the props and costumes.

The ideal date for filming this video will be over the weekend of January 25th – 26th, not counting later possible re-shoots. Props still need to be bought and a shot plan finalised, which will be done within the next few days.

voodoo-spells

360MC: – Band #2: Bad Mouth Men

The second band I found is a small student band in Coventry called Bad Mouth Men who are quite a quirky garage rock band. They have been trying to establish a small online presence with a few music videos they have made themselves with an iPod/ iPhone camera and are one of the most recognised bands in the Coventry University Rock Society. They are defined by the lead guitarist’s distinctive look of a white fur waist coat and sailor hat and music that is lyrically very surreal and farcical. After watching the Spike Jonze directed music video Drunk Girls by LCD Soundsystem, this inspired me to try to film a completely off-the-wall and more comedic music video so that it stands out from the other two I make and has its own identity. Although I have not chosen a song to make a music video out of just yet, I have listened to all of their songs on Youtube in order to get a sense of what I might be dealing with and at the moment am favouring the song below:

Although this particular song already has a music video (which was filmed by the band themselves) I have been told in my seminar that it is good professional practice to make a music video of a song that perhaps already has one, as it forces you to think of other ideas and not be anchored to the previous vision of the video. Therefore it is an incredibly creative process and also enables the band a chance to help make the new video even better as they learned from the mistakes of the old one. The new video will also be filmed in high-definition unlike the original video (if this is indeed the song that is chosen) which will automatically set it apart from any of the other music videos that have been produced by or for Bad Mouth Men. Narrative would be quite a challenge, especially considering the subject matter and tone of the lyrics. As such, the surrealism will come from the band and the location we choose to film the video. This video more than the other two will have to be incredibly high energy and fast paced to account for the zaniness of the band and song.

Filming for this particular video will be during mid February, which will give me enough time to plan, arrange locations and also finish in time for Borderline’s music video shoot in March.

References:

Unknown. 2013. Bad Mouth Men – Shovelin’ [Official Video]. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXbat9uR4eM [Accessed: 14 Jan 2014].

360MC: – Band #1: Borderline

After asking around my local area and reading all band lineups in the newspaper and on posters, I found a band called Borderline who were performing at a pub one night. I arranged to meet them before they started playing to discuss the prospect of filming a music video of one of their songs. Borderline are predominantly a covers band which would have been difficult to get passed certain copyright laws and regulations despite it being their own version. After voicing my concern, Chad Mercer, the lead singer, said that they had one original song called Juliet, but this was written and performed by their previous singer and guitarist which would mean that the entire band would have to re-learn the song and apply their own new fresh take on it. As the song was only ever recorded live at one of their gigs, it also means that Borderline will have to go to a studio and get it professionally recorded just for the video. The band have said that they are fine with doing this and it should be very doable within that time. They have also said that the finished video will also give them a lot of exposure and more of an online presence with a music video giving them more of a professional edge. The song Juliet can be seen below with Borderline’s original lineup, which is the song I will be using as my first of the three music videos I have to produce:

Now that I have heard one of the songs I will be creating a video for, I can start coming up with ideas for visuals and possibly some small narrative segments. Juliet is a very lively and positive song with a repetitive but catchy chorus that can get a crowd singing along to it very easily. The shots will be edited to around 3 – 4 seconds in length which should be an appropriate pace based on the song and will contain many different angles and shots to keep the video interesting and moving at a brisk pace. Based on the lyrics, there is also possibly room for small narrative segments that could be intercut with the band playing. The ideas I have had so far for these sections is a woman getting ready to go out for the night dancing at a club, with shots of her dancing down the street in public, to then arrive at the dance floor in an empty room and dance on her own but still be really into the music. The greater focus for this particular video will be the band, but it might make the video more interesting to have something to cut away to in a different environment and location.

As the band will have to learn and re-record this particular song, the filming may have to be scheduled for the beginning of March to give Borderline enough time to prepare, as well as me to arrange an actor for the narrative segment should I choose to do that. This gives me a month and a half to focus on filming and completing the other two music videos until then.

References:

Unknown. 2011. Borderline. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI_IoIaS6Wk [Accessed: 14 Jan 2014].

360MC: – Music Video research – Bad example of a music video

Whilst speaking with a student from my course who produces music videos as a side project with his own business; Silent Syndicate, I was able to obtain valuable information as to approaches to take and elements to include during the production and filming of the videos. I was linked a music video that was described to me as ‘how not to make a music video’. After watching the above music video, it is evident to see why. The filming of the video has no momentum or movement throughout the entire song, and is filmed in multiple angles in static shots. The only ‘movement’ that is somewhat in the video is through fast camera zooms, although these were added in during post and look incredibly distracting and amateur in my opinion.

As my three music videos will be filmed on little to no budget (except outside of props and other related material) my music video will be similar in approach to the one above. That being said, I think the execution and planning of the above music video is incredibly questionable. There are not a great variety of shots throughout the video, mostly filmed in long or mid shot of either the entire band or a single member. All of the shots are filmed from the front with no extreme close-ups or shots of the instruments during the intricate solos. With a boring music video, it greatly drains the life out of the song both musically and lyrically which is a shame as I personally think that the song itself is fantastic. The video is meant to complement and enhance the feel and tone of the song but this just does not shine through in this particular instance. As the song would fall into the Power Metal genre, all sense of power aside from what can still come through in the song seems to dissipate and is therefore left with a very flat and lifeless viewing experience. The fact that the video is also not shot in high-definition  hinders the sense of professionalism and overall visual quality of the video, which in today’s incredibly competitive music industry could greatly hinder the band’s chances of an online presence.

And example of a music video that is in the same genre as  We Must Go Faster by ReinXeed and has a similar concept of being a solely band focussed video is DragonForce’s Through the Fire and Flames.

The resounding difference that separates these videos is in terms of budget. DragonForce has high-definition cameras as well as impressive lighting effects. However these are all aesthetics that elevate the video professionally and in terms of visual quality. The main fault in ReinXeed’s video is the complete absence of momentum and movement of which DragonForce has a lot. There are a lot of variety of shots in Through the Fire and Flames with close ups of instruments, low angle and high angle shots, silhouettes against the lighting, close-ups of each member of the band as well as the camera being positioned at different orientations unlike ReinXeed’s which was all filmed from the front. For a video to be successful, it must share the same energy, mood, tone and pace as the song it is made for.

In conclusion, I have taken a lot away from this particular music video and this has offered me a template of how not to make a video. Although two of my three videos will be band orientated, I can see how poorly they could turn out should they all be shot in that particular way. This has made me realise the importance of finalising an editing plan as well as a list of shots to follow on the day in order to come up with a great variety of shots that will hold the viewers’ attention and complement the song accordingly throughout the entire length of the video.

References:

Unknown. 2006. DragonForce – Through the Fire and Flames [OFFICIAL VIDEO]. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ySdLh_B3HjA [Accessed: 14 Jan 2014].

Unknown. 2011. ReinXeed – We Must Go Faster. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=SSpw-yN4_hc [Accessed: 14 Jan 2014].