The middle of the song has been removed (as this is when the dancers were performing)
Q: What was the video for?
A: The video was commissioned to be used for Juan Rando Dance Academy's Zouk Beginner Group performance. The video was to provide the intro and exit story as it was projected onto the background of the stage. The concept is based on the original music video clip (Eminem - Love the way you lie ft. Rihanna) as the dance had been choreographed with this story in mind however the song used is a re-mixed version more suitable for the dance routine. The battle at this point is to make sure while the client wanted it based on the original music video we then found our own characters and a story true for them to deliver authentic performances. Overall we had a play time of around 60 seconds so every shot in the final edit had to earn its spot.
Q: What is the concept of the story?
A: The basic concept was to shoot parallel stories (the burning flame and the couple) to symbolise the characters internal and external struggles. Throughout the clip the girl contemplates the direction of her relationship.
Q: Tell us more about the direction of this clip?
A: Firstly I have been DIY'ing a little lately and managed to put together a wireless "Directors/Client" monitor. The setup worked very nicely bar being a little power hungry but the freedom and instant client feed back on shots was really great to have without the physical limitations of an actual cable connection.
DIY wireless monitor
Secondly i had co-director (Severine Weber) on board who's acting experience assisted her getting the actors into state and make the rolls feel real for them. I would have to say that as much as i wanted to get the look i was chasing (as any D.O.P would) i did know that the actors needed to have an honesty to their performance for this to end up being great acting, and as such allowed as much time as i could for the director to work with the actors. This is always a trade of and in this case i felt happy that we struck that balance considering our limited shooting and preparation time. I was very happy with the direction and the actors performances!!!
Q: What work was involved with getting the scenes to look how you wanted them?
A: The internal scenes mostly involved one room (which was arranged differently several times) mainly utilising a curtain/diffusion setup and some props. I also used fog in the air at times to give the light a more diffused feel throughout the room.
The concrete bunker scene stayed pretty much exactly as i found it. The car seat was already there so we just had to add an 800W for a key light along with the white shears shown on the initial bunker shot. The fire and smoke where obviously added in post using After Effects.
Stuart setting up lights
Q: What lighting setups were involved to deliver the intended feeling of the clip?
A: We had a 2kW Blonde, 800W Red Head, 1x1 Day Light LED, 160 LED camera light, black foam core cutters and a 5 in 1 diffuser/reflector. For the main scenes (internal) I chose to put 1 Colour Temperature Orange (CTO) gel on both the 2kW and 800W hot lights which resided directly outside the room's window providing our main "Sun" (Rim lighting). These lights pretty much stayed put for the whole shoot bar some minor angle adjustments. Inside the room was more tricky. I had planned for heavily back lit shots which meant i need to reduce my contrast by adding some key lighting from the front. The majority of this was actually just done with the 160 LED through the 5 in 1 diffuser as seen below:
Here is a typical up stage look (camera side of the actress' face has the shadow) i choose to use on one of the final shots of the piece.
Adding depth to each scene was always paramount and its important to not place your actors too close to any back ground at all. Generally i had different intensity front and back lighting to assist with this also.
Lastly i will say that judging exposure for the internal scenes was pretty hard. I was really trusting my wave form monitor here a lot. I exposed for the scene (back lighting) and then used my LED fill light to control the contrast on my actors faces as necessary by distance or light intensity along with occasionally using flags. The final clips will show how much of a dynamic range was involved. The look was finished off with colour grading the Canon C-Log files and then adding CineGrain 35mm 64D Fine real film grain.
Q: What about the Camera setup?
A: I felt it was important to shoot mostly hand held for the internal scenes as it helped bring the viewer "into" the scene which had the added advantage of allowing us to have very quick setup times. Often i would just throw on the 24 to 105mm Canon zoom and use the camera as a "directors viewfinder" initially then i could be sure of which prime lens i would reach for. The rig used was a mixture of Redrock and Zacuto parts. The Canon C300 fits well enough over the shoulder area so that i didn't have to add much balance weight and still allowed the use of the onboard LCD screen.
Q: Last thoughts?
A: The video maybe re-edited into more of a self contained video at a later stage when i get time.