In the back woods of swampy Louisiana we made a music video. We laughed, we cried, we sung, we ate... lots of spicy food.
Today I will break down my methods and kit I used to shoot the new music video for Grant Meredith. I was approached by Nashville producer Matt Geroux for this project. We decided to shoot in Luisiana where the band had a connection with a local guy who had a large property and a bar in his backyard. Talk about Southern Hospitality, Adam Monk (the property owner) was a straight up legend. We shot the video over two days so we could be shooting around sundown each day. We wanted a real summer vibe in the video, since it's about partying all night and having a good time.
I decided to shoot this video on the A7s in S-Log so I could have the most dynamic range when shooting against the setting sun. I also wanted a lower contrast feel to the video. Being a country song I wanted a lot of low wide angle sweeping shots. To accomplish this I used the DJI Ronin and used a 24mm lens. The key light in all the outdoor performance is from a reflector on the silver side to match the sunset. Again with the theme of little gear for big results!
I decided to use the trucks in the background to give some depth and make the background a little more interesting. The rain was very hit or miss so we were trekking through mud the whole weekend. Luckily we had a really nice break with some beautiful clouds in the background!
My kit was pretty light on this project. Everything I used flew on a plane with me.
The combination of the Ronin, Inspire, and using a slider created a really nice feel for all the shots, cutting from movement to movement really helps move along with the song. The lighting that I used inside was a kit of LEDs from Ikan.
For the fire scenes the A7s just killed it. This is the low light beast on the market. I used the fire and then the tiki torches as my key light. I think I shot these scenes around 5000 iso.
The scenes inside the bar I used the 1000 LEDs, one up high to get a backlight and one off to the front side for a key. This stage was really compact so lighting it was a challenge. Even though there was no one partying in the background this shot cuts nicely with the night party stuff.
I wanted to give the bar scene some hype and make it feel like you were in the crowd so I had all our extras get really close to the stage and jump around. Shooting through all of their movement really helps add excitement.
The humidity was unreal, every time I took the camera outside the lens fogged up immediately, I just couldn't keep the lens dry. I decided to roll with it, it actually created some pretty cool flares. For this shot, I wanted Grant and his lady to be in the shot as a firework went off overhead. I basically was laying on the ground at 24mm to grab this shot.
For most of the days of summer shots I used the Ronin and ran through all kind s of bugs and mud to get some lovely movement as the guys flew down their hillbilly water slide.
The District Attorney of the city was there hanging out with us so we got him to call in some officers to do a mock arrest for the end of the video! (Only in Louisiana!)
When i edit music videos I line up all the video tracks with the master track which is the song. I go through and use the first really audible beat and use that for lining them up. Starting with wide shots to close ups, then the next scene and so on I stack them up. Performance on the bottom, story on the top then speciality clips. I then go through dragging clips back and forth to find the right shots for the next cut. It's kind of like having a huge ice block and carving that down to make your artwork. This process reminds me of the quote by Michelangelo "It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.".
It was a joy to work with Grant and the band. We all had such a great chill time, my kind of shoot! When everyone has fun and makes a great video I consider that a success. Let this video be an inspiration to you that you can make great things happen with a small amount of gear and just you!
This sure has been a long time coming! I started working with Luke Holland in March of 2012.
35 videos and 20 million views later here we are!
I get questions from fans about the process on a weekly basis. So in an effort to get out the most information in a streamlined manner I've decided to create this post and a video detailing the process. I plan to create some more written works that dives in further but that will have to wait a couple months down the road.
and the final video!
As you can see the process is quite time/resource intensive. We have to align the schedules of Cameron, a world class producer, Luke a touring musician, and myself a nearly always booked filmmaker. Beyond that I check schedules of additional camera operators, and sound techs so everything can run smoother. After we are done, Cameron has to mix and master the audio, then Luke and myself edit the videos.
The shooting day goes as follows:
1. Load in all the gear.
2. Decide where we set the kit up.
3. Kit goes up, cameras are built.
4. Mics are set up on the kit, lighting is roughed in.
5. Tuning the kit and getting levels on the mics.
6. Finalize lighting and camera angles.
7. Begin shooting the videos.
8. Tear down and load out.
All said and done that could be a 6-8 hour day. Also keep in mind we all do this as a passion project. There is no money to be made on copy righted material via YouTube. All this hard work and time is for the people who keep coming back to support all the work we put into this art. We are all great friends and we have a lot of fun working together. A team of super heroes is instrumental in creating great ongoing content.
Recapping some gear we use.
Cameras: Sony A7s
Lighting: Ikan LEDs
Software: Premiere Pro, Pro Tools
Stay tuned and subscribe for more teaching material on these topics:
Much love for all the support over the years! Check out where it all began.
Drop some links of your covers in the comments!
Welcome one and all! This post is an addition to the video I created here. I wanted to give some more depth into the gear and science of achieving a good green screen key on your videos. Let's start with what our green screen shot looks like, the screen removed, and then the final comp.
Now let's take a look at an overhead diagram to how this is all set up with the green screen and lighting.
The main light is the light that will be on you. This is the brightest light, I use diffusion on the light to soften it up. This makes you look much nicer eliminating harsh shadows. This is also good because you won't have harsh shadows on your green screen.
Lights 2 and 3 are for the green screen. These lights should be the same brightness and the same distance from the screen. This will create even lighting on your green screen which is how you pull a great key from the screen.
Light 4 is the back light. This isn't absolutely necessary but it will really make your image look great. This light is behind the screen, set high up shooting down on the back of you. This creates a really nice separation from your background. It also eliminates the green reflection of light from the screen that will spill onto you.
Inside your streaming software you should have an option to connect your webcam and then enable chroma key to remove the green screen as seen in my video.
My studio doesn't allow the room for a second large light on the green screen, so I use a smaller light on the ground which does the trick.
So let's get to the gear already! In this list I will put together some budget options for getting rolling with a nice green screen set up.
Collapsable Green Screen
3 point Light Kit
Alternate Higher Quality Light Kit
Light Stand for Green Screen
Spring Clamp to attach Screen to Stand
Ok so what if you don't want to throw a few hundred at this but still get rolling? Let's set up a ghetto screen.
Green Screen Fabric
Home Depot Scoop Lights
Both of these kits should get you a nice key when set up correctly. With more money you will be buying gear that will last longer and be much easier to set up and manage. But hey, we all have to start somewhere!
Now let's talk about some gear for streaming. Here I will list the gear I use.
Logitech 920 Webcam
Audio Technica AT2020 Mic
Rode Desk Mic Stand
Scarlett 2i2 USB Interface
Astro A40 Headset
ElGato HD60 Pro Capture Card
There are much cheaper alternatives that you can get started with. For instance you could use a USB mic instead of going through the interface. You can get a small desk mount instead of an articulating arm. There is an El Gato USB version that is cheaper. Any headset will work and most 1080p webcams will be able to pull a decent green screen key.
Hopefully this post has helped some of you on your way to streaming and recording! If you have any specific questions feel free to throw a comment in here. If you want to see more of my gaming videos give them a look here!
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With over 8 years of experience in the film industry one of my biggest passions is giving back to the community. Visit, learn, share, love.