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!
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.