Everything I learned about still and motion photography, I learned from the internet. I thought it would be nice to pay it forward and detail the process I went through as a first-timer shooting a music video.
My co-worker is Brandon Devens who is a member in the band Adesta. We do some video production at work and he asked if I’d be interested in shooting a music video. I knew it wouldn’t be easy with no budget and little time. We had brief discussions here and there for months and I wasn’t sure it would ever really happen.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We got lucky when we found out one of the band members could have access to a large empty warehouse.[/pullquote]
We had given some thought to an abstract/landscape style video that would just provide nice visuals to the music. We got lucky when we found out one of the band members could have access to a large empty warehouse.
It seemed like an ideal setting to provide an interesting look for the band to perform. With a concept everyone agreed upon, and now an actual location we had available to shoot, we started moving quickly and taking the project much more seriously.
About a month before the shoot we had the opportunity to scout the location. I brought my Canon 5D Mark II, in addition to a vintage Yashica MAT-124G that I had just acquired. I also had my iPhone 6+ for quick tests here and there.
With a few test clips we were able to visualize an extremely rough concept and look that I wanted to go with, however we had no lighting and no equipment other than my 5D Mark II and Mark III, a Konova 3’ slider, and my Manfrotto tripod.
Without any budget, we knew we couldn’t do too many interesting shots. We built a DIY track-dolly that we hadn’t had a chance to really test out, as when we did our initial tests, the bolts holding the brackets to the base were scraping against the PVC track.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We decided we would get a nice lawn pull-cart to ‘dolly’ shots for the video.[/pullquote]
We decided we would get a nice lawn pull-cart to ‘dolly’ shots for the video. I wanted to show how huge the space was in the warehouse, and the first and last shot was the first thing agreed upon.
For lighting, we knew we would need a few bright lights and went with the inexpensive shop lights from the big box store. I wanted at least four lights, but I also wanted a few smaller lights to use as uplights, again to show the depth of the warehouse. Without them, the background would look like an empty abyss.
The band had a few lights they would bring to the shoot and we would play around with them to find a good fit.
One questionable item we had, but couldn’t rely on was a scissor-lift that was in the warehouse. If we had access to it, we could get a nice birds-eye view of the band. We might of even been able to use it as a dolly!
The extent of our planning was our equipment list, shot list, the floor-plan for how we wanted to layout the band, and where in the room we would lay out the band. I knew planning would be important, and with only less than a day to shoot we needed to make sure we were well prepared so we didn’t waste any time.
In the next part I’ll go into detail of the day of the shoot. A lot was learned in a short amount of time, and I hope sharing some of my stumbles may help other people on shooting day!