The live shoot I did with Rob for one of his new songs ‘Stamford’ was a very last minute thing that, I think, turned out dry nicely indeed.
We were on the phone one day, talking about his new tracks and then, with very little discussion we were down in his basement the next with a two camera setup trying to work out just how to make the room not look like his basement.
A Japanese screen, a wax scull, a couple of travellers chests and a light-up globe later and we’d created him a little boudoir to sit in. Positioned right in front of a window, I had the idea that I could crank up the exposure and get a lovely, washed-up vibe to make-use of the light that we had – the rest of the room being rather dark away from the door. This turned out to work very pretty well…
For the shoot I had my 600d and a 550d that I had managed to get my hands on that day. I dialled-in some nice flat picture profiles for both cameras and put my 28mm Pentax SMC-M on the 550, which I set up on a Gorillapod in front of Rob. My 50mm Pentax SMC-M, I put on my 600, which I mounted on my bust-up old shoulder-rig – it was to be the roving camera that I would operate. Audio was handled by a condenser mic going straight into Garage band, which gave us a nice clean sound.
Fortunately with two such similar cameras, it’s easy to get the settings very similar and again, I’m really finding out the benefits of having several optically similar lenses as it makes for a very easy job of colour correction.
We shot 5 takes of the song with the intention that the greater part of the video would be cut between the two angles of one single take. This was achieved pretty easily because Rob pretty-much smashed it every single play-through so, in the end we had 5 usable instances of the track.
When editing came around, I just used the rather nifty multicam clip and audio synchronise features of Final Cut Pro X to collect takes 4 and 5 into single clips. I then bounced between the two angles, picking the nice shots of Rob I got with the roving camera and just devolving to the static camera when there wasn’t so much interesting going on.
I toyed with the idea of adding some choice cutaways from other clips but decided that I much preferred the idea of having everything from a single take. When it came to post, I had to fight the urge to add a grade out of habit but frankly, I think that the vibe of the footage warranted not buggering about with. A tiny bit of correction and I let it be.
In the end, I’m really chuffed with the final product; a nice-looking live video of a good song. Pretty sure there’ll be more to come in the new year; Rob and I are already making plans.
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