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Dan Watt

First music video: Lucky Keith - Heart to Tear

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This is my first music video, shot for a friend. I've done a bit of narrative and web based commercial work but really I'm just starting out.

 

No budget or time and we only had the space to film in for a few hours but I'm pretty pleased with it. Wanted to try to get a gritty yet ethereal sort of feel. Basically just listened to the song 40 times in a row and this made sense to me. There are a few glaring problems chiefly some stumbling camera parts and I messed up the framing halfway through for a bit, but we did six takes and the little details I liked about this take overtook the framing issues so I went with it. Also I should have had more ambient room fill using a bounce in the back of the room. And I did not match the strobe light to the shutter speed so it splits.Now tear it apart.

 

Shot on a Canon 5D3 and a 24mm Kiron lens @ 5.6

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Pretty nice. I'd have used more light on the lead singer, but I likied it. The camera movement wasn't overdone and the strobe issue was only glaringly obvious when it hit the drummer's body. I really liked the blast of light that came out from behind the tarp (or whatever that was.)

 

I do agree with JD that the blocking in the initial dolly shot was a bit too much. Having one person move from camera-right to camera-left (or vice versa) in front of the camera to give the effect of the "club atmosphere" is fine. But it began to feel like the actors just didn't know their spots. You also want to see the stage, not silhouettes of people watching it (at least not in that shot.)

 

But overall, I liked it.

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Crossing frame was the only movement in the foreground throughout the push in and it was always a single person crossing, so aside from being overly dark the action felt very contrived.

 

Overall, I didn't like it.

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From what the artist told me, the song is about trying to help somebody that isn't aware they need help. I thought it would be interesting to try capturing this feeling by having an audience that is barely paying attention to the band playing, more concerned about hanging out and drinking beers than observing the performance. I thought juxtaposing this with the singer focusing intently would maybe pull it off.

 

But obviously if I have to explain it than I did a poor job capturing it. Watching it now the crossing is indeed distracting, I could have done the same thing by simply having more of them looking away from the stage area without disrupting the image. Thank you for the feedback.

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Some cutaways to people with their backs to the stage, totally ignoring the artist might get that across. People leaving, etc. Why so dark?

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Some cutaways to people with their backs to the stage, totally ignoring the artist might get that across. People leaving, etc. Why so dark?

Yeah thats a good suggestion, seems obvious right now haha.

 

And its too dark because I need to recalibrate my personal aesthetic taste. I've been doing amateur astrophotography for years and years and only recently started getting into filmmaking and my own personal style of astrophotography image processing is very ingrained into my head. I will work on that, or at the very least actively compare my work to similar shots until I develop better instincts.

 

That being said I did want most of it very dim and kind of muddy but this was definitely too much.

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Pretty nice. I'd have used more light on the lead singer, but I likied it. The camera movement wasn't overdone and the strobe issue was only glaringly obvious when it hit the drummer's body. I really liked the blast of light that came out from behind the tarp (or whatever that was.)

 

I do agree with JD that the blocking in the initial dolly shot was a bit too much. Having one person move from camera-right to camera-left (or vice versa) in front of the camera to give the effect of the "club atmosphere" is fine. But it began to feel like the actors just didn't know their spots. You also want to see the stage, not silhouettes of people watching it (at least not in that shot.)

 

But overall, I liked it.

 

Thank you! The light on the lead singer was an error in my directing. I had marks set for the singer but he never quite hit it and instead of doing more takes to get it perfect or making the light broader I decided to try working with what I got. That is always a mistake.

 

And same with the actors not knowing their spots, I kind of just let people do what they wanted to do hoping to capture some sort of authentic feeling but that was also a mistake. Nobody acts authentic when a camera is on them and I was too vague in my direction.

 

That being said most of the people including the singer were a bit drunk and had never acted or anything before, he just got some friends together who were more interested in having a good time than being part of a video. One person in the audience actually vomited on the floor in the middle of a take haha. I know that's no excuse and certainly not ideal but I'm just starting out so any chance I get to film anything, I grit through it for the sake of experience and practice.

 

But I know that good excuses do not make any bad aspects of a video any better. The final product will only be judged on its own merits.

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.

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...I decided to try working with what I got. That is always a mistake.

 

Not true. That is often what a lot of people have to do.

 

 

...I kind of just let people do what they wanted to do hoping to capture some sort of authentic feeling but that was also a mistake. Nobody acts authentic when a camera is on them and I was too vague in my direction.

 

Also not true. That's a great trait in a director and you will eventually wind up with some great moments on film. But there is also a time and place for them.

 

I've been doing amateur astrophotography for years and years...

 

I just saw your Airglow Timelapse video - great work!

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Disagree Bill, it's called Directing, it's not like trying to herd cats. Best to be specific with direction when it's all non-actors. Even more important when time is limited as the chances are capturing a happy accident are even less likely.

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Purely only trying to critique things that are not budget involved (because with your lighting style, a camera with better dynamic range would really ease things up for you).

 

The opening shot of the camera moving past the crowd and towards the talent was a great idea, but like you said, needed a bit more stabilization to be perfect.

 

Other guys were a bit down on the crowd crossing in the foreground which, stylistically, I didn't mind so much. Lowering your f-stop to keep the band at the center of focus/attention the entire time would make the crowd crossing a less intrusive thing for me.

 

As for the singer, a lot of times he seemed off sync in performing his own song. Shoot could've been rushed or it might've been the fact he recorded multiple tracks of himself for the vocals and didn't have another guy there singing to help the video match that sound. Either way, shaky syncing doesn't feel right.

 

Someone else mentioned getting more light on the band themselves, I'd fully agree with that.

 

And, again, I know this was rushed, but getting more angles other than frontal ones would really flesh this thing out. An idea that could play to the concept of limited space and only using one angle would be making that in/out dolly shot (with a lot of stabilization) a one take thing for the entire music video. With that, you need to make sure the talent you're working with are up to doing it over and over until it's right. Without budget, that will be the hardest thing you have ever faced in life up to this point.

 

Overall, watch more music videos of all genres, steal and tweak some shots and get back in the game.

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Disagree Bill, it's called Directing, it's not like trying to herd cats...

 

And since he's just starting out, hopefully the good instincts he has will develop over time.

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