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In this blog I discuss how this music video came about and the process that went into shooting it. I won’t be discussing post production as that was handled by the multi talented Chawa.C himself.
In March I got an email from Chawa who had seen a previous clip I did for Holly Denton, Another Tomorrow. He commented that he liked the feel of the video, and reading my blog on making it, wanted the same approach taken on his music video. Great!
I gave Chawa the option to shoot RED or Canon 5D Mark II and he opted for the later. The right decision in my opinion! It was a 17 hour day and having a DSLR on your shoulder the whole time is much easier than a Red Scarlet! The full frame look (shallower depth of field) and softer image leant itself to this piece (in my opinion).
Chawa respectfully told me his budget straight away which was for one (long) day shooting and a meeting and location scout. It was pretty much right on my rate. Great! He’d already planned the location, actress/model (and not the other way around) Kayla Paul, I just needed to see the house. So I requested we combine our first meeting with the location scout the week prior to shooting. We met at the 3 story river view home in North Fremantle on May 19, the weekend prior to filming. Chawa had written a script detailing all the locations and the action that would be taking place. I was really a ‘gun for hire’ on this job, I directed and shot it, but must give credit for the whole premise/story/location etc to Chawa. It’s up for debate how much I actually influenced the music and doting lyrics.
Myself, Chawa, Kayla, Daniel (BTS photographer) and Scott (parents house) made our way around the house, checking out the best spots for different scenes. What struck me was the amount of natural light, some of the walls were just window. I decided then that I wasn’t going to use any lights. Just natural light and lights in the actual house (wine cellar scene). This would allow us to move faster on the day and cover more, and hopefully bring a consistent look to the music video. We talked through the script and met back up a week later for a long day of shooting.
Huge thankyou to Daniel Tay for all the behind the scenes photos!!! He did a fantastic job.
I arrived at around 5am (I think). It was nice being on a ‘light’ shoot where I didn’t have to lug in loads of gear. First thing, coffee. Second thing, Chawa and I went through his script outline and decided the flexible order with which we’d make our way through the day of shooting. It was still dark outside so we had some time.
One of the best things about this shoot which was obvious right away was that I had a lovely group of people to hang around with for the day. Everyone was patient, awesome and made what could have been a tedious and difficult day, very fun.
Laziness. There can be a tendency when you are tired or in a crap mood or whatever to not push yourself to get the most out of each shooting situation – in terms of angles, lighting, composition etc. It’s often not a conscious thing and can dictate how good a job you do. Every job I do I find a heap of things I could have done better. Hindsight’s 20/20. But if I feel I went about it with the right attitude, trying my best, then I’m okay with it.
So with each story section and shooting location before rolling I made sure I questioned myself, where would I shoot from? Why? How would it look this way? How do we need to change the location (move furniture etc) so it can be even better. All the while the constraints of time are upon you and you only have so much of it to get each scene shot, but I feel like I for the most part did my best to make the most of each shooting setup.
Directing and shooting is often a necessity, but brings certain difficulties. Ideally as a director you can look at a monitor and your eyes are focused primarily on the performance, you aren’t having to worry about keeping the camera steady, holding the frame correctly etc. A camera operator or cinematographer is doing that. Yes you’re keeping an eye on the composition, but you aren’t having to operate it, move and respond to the talent yourself. So to me the biggest difficulty when I’m shooting is that I’m generally more focused on the composition, the movement of the camera and the positioning of the talent, rather than their performance. Kayla would ask me if I was getting what I needed from her and I’d have to really think about it and try to remember. (Or I’d have a dumb vague expression on my face) This resulted in me often looking back at takes quickly to ensure we’d definitely got what we needed performance wise.
As the sun set we frantically ran across to a walkway over the Fremantle line train tracks for some loving sunset shots. We then filmed some memory shots in front of the projector followed by Kayla in the heated spa, which she didn’t want to get out of. Finally we finished shooting the final scene of the clip with Kayla on the balcony saying goodbye to Chawa and admiring her bling.
A month or so later I got to see the finished music video and a little over two months after going live on YouTube it’s over 170,000 views. Well done Chawa! Thankyou to Chawa, Kayla, Daniel and Scott for a fantastic shoot.