Shooting with Bullet For My Valentine in Wales pt. 1 – Drum Insights

I went up over to Wales the other day to shoot a number of pieces of web content with Bullet that would be released during the launch window of their new record Temper Temper.

I showed up at the rehearsal studios to find a lighting delivery from the nice people at Video Europe (videoeurope.co.uk), who had dropped-off a couple of 4ft 4bank Kino Flos (http://www.videoeurope.co.uk/product/kinoflo/4ft-kinoflo-system) and a 1x1ft LED litepanel (http://www.videoeurope.co.uk/product/litepanels/litepanels-1×1-bi-color).

The first piece of content on the agenda was for ModernDrummer.com’s blog, a video tutorial/insight piece showing Moose playing through some nice drum licks from three of the songs from Temper Temper. We did full playthroughs of the songs Breaking Point, Leech and Living Life (On The Edge Of A Knife) and then shot Moose talking about the bits that he wanted to pick out.

Here’s the finished piece:

I set up the two Kinos in front of Moose’s (awesome) kit, positioning them at roughly 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock of him. These lit both him and the kit nicely but still gave me a decent level of contrast and little in the way of details in the rest of the rehearsal room, something that I wanted to cut out. I wanted to portray him rather playing in a pool of light, if you like. The litepanel was used to make sure that I could see his feet when I had a camera on them, I would have been screwed without it!

Having 2 cameras at my disposal (a 600d and a 550d), I shot each of the playthoughs twice giving me four angles to use in editing. Each time, I had one camera on a fixed angle and one carried handheld with a basic shoulder-rig. Both cameras were loaded with a pretty neutral picture profile (Marvel’s Cine – http://marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/finally-the-new-marvels-cine-profile-3-x-for-canon-dslr/), though this time I decided not to use my favourite profile, Technicolour’s Cinestyle (https://www.technicolorcinestyle.com/download/) With hindsight, this was probably a decent decision. I am starting to think that, while it gives a lovely cinematic ‘baked-in’ feel, with illustrative/tutorial web-content such as this, it’s nice to have a slightly different feel.

The first fixed angle was a wide one from behind Moose’s left shoulder showing most of the kit – for this I used a kit 18-55mm wide open at 18mm; it’s situations like this where I wish I had something nicer as the kit lens is pretty dull and lifeless. The second fixed angle was one that showed Moose’s feet (camera positioned under the left-hand floor-tom) so I could pick out his kick patterns as some of the beats are quite cool; again I used the kit lens, wide so I could get everything in.

The only difficult thing was that I hadn’t actually heard any of the songs before I got there so I didn’t know which bits to focus on when I was shooting handheld but, with two cracks at each song, I think I managed to get what I needed. With the handheld sections, I used my 28mm Pentax SMC-M manual prime exclusively. I can’t get enough of these manual Pentax lenses (I’ve got a 50mm as well) and think that I’m going get them de-clicked at some point. They’re just lovely and can be picked up reasonably inexpensively, especially the 50mm, though I’m still looking for an 18mm.

I’m pretty chuffed with the way that this vid turned out. I had to artificially warm up the shots from the kit lens (4/5% at 30ยบ??!) because, as previously stated it’s pretty dull and the Pentax lenses are a lot more vibrant, but the edit was nice and simple. I suppose that it’s a nice illustration of do the right planning and the shoot will take care of itself. I had thought through all of the shots I needed in detail beforehand and it was just a case of setting-up and doing the business.

In the end little of the actual playthrough videos was used, save to illustrate how the described licks and chops fit into the song, so I cut the full songs separately as content to hold in reserve. I hope that they come out at some point as they’re pretty cool and I’d like people to see ‘em.

Link to the page on the Modern Drummer blog: http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2013/02/moose-of-bullet-for-my-valentine-drummer-blog/#.URZ8hKWSOfQ

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