Gifted Organs Music Videos – A Case Study

First Meeting

James Tottle is the lead singer and manager of music band “Gifted Organs”. The bands music is a celebration of life and this comes from the unique fact that select members are organ transplants. As the band’s manager, James’ goal was to show social media fans, whom had not seen them live, how the band perform. 2 Bee Videos had become a contact to James through various networking groups connected through 2 Bee Videos’ main operating office The Guild Hub in Bath. James decided to approach 2 Bee Videos to achieve his goal.

The Goal

James’ brief music videos brief:

  • Produce a music video each for songs “Love Is A Wonderful Thing” & “Little Yellow Bird”.
  • Introduce the band’s personality to viewers for the first time.
  • To be filmed at Real World Studios whilst recording of the songs takes place.

With this brief the challenge in presenting the band’s personality lied within the limitation of the filming location and filming around the recording of the songs. This brief detailed a studio based music video and centred around the band themselves. During the planning stage 2 Bee Videos pitched to James Tottle the use of text to simply state each organ transplant members history. James liked this idea and agreed to put it into effect.

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Video Design Part 1 – Lights & Camera

2 Bee Videos were given demos of the songs in order to write a video production script. Both songs had different beats and emotional tone and the scripted camera framing and movements of all shots were pre-written in accordance with these beats and tones.

The same process was used when writing the lighting setup for the band and each song. “Love Is A Wonderful Thing” uses a three point lighting setup to create a full romantic feel that best represents the romantic tone of the songs music and lyrics. With “Little Yellow Bird” the music and lyrics are romantic but has a darker edge so a two point lighting setup was used. One light from the side to give the darker edge and a back light to give the visuals a romantic glow.

Filming Begins

The lights went up, makeup applied and the entire two days of filming went by with no problems. The band had enough takes for camera to be on every band member at least once. 2 Bee Videos had plenty of dailies to edit together two music videos. The key to a successful film shoot is always good planning.

Video Design Part 2 – Post Production

Sequence editing for the music videos was simply starting with all takes of band members synced to the final music track. In the same approach to designing the lighting and framing, the beat of the music, the emotional tone and a meticulous ear dictated the length of each shot and where a cut would take place.

2 Bee Videos always uses a technicolor image filter during filming in order to give the colour grader a full dynamic image that can be changed aesthetically during the editing process. Love was the theme of “Love Is A Wonderful Thing” thus a red colour pallet was used in the grade to reflect this theme. Your starter for 10, which colour pallet was used in the colour grade of “Little Yellow Bird”? Yellow is close to green in the RGB colour range and also gave the visuals that darker edge I talked about in “Video Design Part 1”.

The Client Review

Always a tense moment to find out by client reaction if the goal was successful. Video producer Benjamin Harding and James Tottle sat down to preview the first music video “Love Is A Wonderful Thing”. 2 Bee Videos will never forget the moment and a first for the brand, that a client was emotionally moved by what had been created. Understandable as this was a project that was close to James’ gifted and talented heart. A happy tear speaks volumes and the same was clear for “Little Yellow Bird”. The visuals of the video were a success.

The Future

Talks with James Tottle on more Gifted Organ music videos have taken place. Are you the member of a band? Are you a band manager? 2 Bee Videos would definitely enjoy producing more Gifted Organ videos and music videos for others. So if you’re convinced 2 Bee Videos could produce music video content for you, don’t hesitate to inquire: info@2bee.co.uk



A Guide To Lighting For Video

How the subject you are filming is lit can make or break a video. Obviously you want your audience to see what you are filming, but how it is lit can determine how your audience reacts emotionally to the subject you are filming. Different lighting techniques vary on different projects, and here is a quick guide to those techniques.

LED-Video-Light-and-DSLR-CameraAttaching A Light To Your Camera
When filming on the go, a good thing to have attached to the top of your camera is a small LED light. This comes in handy for lighting subjects close to camera. Things to look out for is making sure the subject is lit evenly. If that subject is a person, light them well, but make sure you don’t blind them.

 

 

3pointlightingsetupThe Three Point Lighting Setup
When setting up lights as a set piece, a good place to start is a “three point lighting system”. (This involves three separate lights.) This starts with a key light and is the main lighting source. This is placed next to and level with the camera, lighting the subject in front of camera. In interior locations with windows, this will be an extension to emphasize sunlight coming through a window lighting the subject from the front.

 

 

This light on it’s own will generate a “hard” lighting effect. One side of the subject is lighter, the other side much darker. This creates an expression of mystery and darkness. Great for drama and horror, but if this is not the intended expression, a fill light is needed. This light goes on the other side, level with the camera facing the subject and fills in the shadows created by the key light. Now your subject is evenly lit, a “soft” lighting effect. We can go softer, and create a romantic look. This is done with a back light. This light is placed high and behind the subject, creating a halo effect around the subject. This is the complete three point lighting system.

3pointlightingphoto

shootingwithgelsLight Intensity & Coloured Gels
Some lights can emit intense light or an unwanted colour temperature, so it’s important to balance everything out. For intense light, diffusion paper can be used to reduce the intensity of the light. You can also use coloured gel sheets to change the colour temperature of the light. This can be useful when correcting the balance of your light, or creating aesthetic effects.

 

 

 

reflectorBlocking & Bouncing
At times you will also need to block or bounce light on a subject. Another great and cheap trick I picked up from filmmaker Owen Benson is to get a big piece of white polystyrene board, and paint one side completely black. The black side can be used to block any unwanted light on a subject. The white side can be used to reflect light. Instances where light may need to be reflected is when you are filming outside in intense sunlight from above and you need to fill in the shadows by placing the white reflective board below the subject.

Please check out Owen Benson’s website below.

www.owenbensonvisuals.com

tinfoilwindowFilming Day For Night
If you are shooting inside with windows during the day, and want it to look like night, simply closing the curtain will not do. It will look exactly like it is, daylight with the curtains drawn closed. A brilliant, cheap trick I picked up from filmmakers on a feature film set is to wet the windows, and completely cover it with tin foil (shiny side out) and then shut the curtains. No light comes through the curtains, thus making it look like night.

 

 

 

 

Things to remember when lighting:

  • Attach a light to the camera for on the go shooting.
  • Use three point lighting for camera setups.
  • Adjust the lights intensity using diffusing materials.
  • Use coloured gels to create different lighting effects.
  • Block unwanted lighting.
  • Bounce light to enhance your lighting setup.
  • Completely block sunlight from windows when shooting day for night.

You are now ready to light your subject. Make it look good!

 



Filming To Tight Schedules

A lot has to be calculated when producing a video. To be honest, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have to think deeply about these calculations because they’ve become second nature when I’m filming. It’s an advantage when filming to tight schedules. Even with the subconscious nature of my skills, clients ask for near impossible deadlines, mainly because they don’t know the level of detail that goes into crafting a video. They only see what’s in front of them, and have no contemplation of what’s gone into producing the images and sound. Every single aspect is meticulously scrutinised by the filmmaker.

Lighting For Video
When I’m filming, I’m not only looking at the subject, but also how the subject is lit. Lighting can have a big effect on how an audience reacts emotionally to the image. When the lighting is soft and even, it gives a sense of positiveness. When the light is intense and hard, it gives a sense of negativity. Lighting happens after blocking the movements of the subject and the camera. There are two types of lighting sources, natural and unnatural. Our Sun is a natural lighting source. Manufactured light bulbs are an unnatural lighting source. We cannot manipulate the Sunlight’s direction and intensity, something that changes with time. But we can change it’s effect on the subject by blocking parts of the sunlight and reflecting it. Every aspect of manufactured lights can be manipulated in order to get the intended aesthetic lighting effect.

LED-Video-Light-and-DSLR-CameraThe Camera
I’m also manipulating the camera’s reaction to the light. The main points of control are the aperture, shutter speed and the ISO. The aperture when changed effects the amount of light going into the camera and also the amount of space the focal depth covers. The shutter speed when changed effects the amount of light going into the camera and also effects the clarity of a moving object. The ISO changes the sensitivity of the light going into the camera without changing effect on focal depth and clarity of movement.

These camera settings are the main change on every video production I setup depending on how the subject is lit. I try to keep my shutter speed to 1/50 of a second because sometimes when it’s increased, something happens called a rolling shutter. Looks like a series of dark bars rolling up the screen, doesn’t look good and a pain to fix afterwards, best to resolve this when filming. This is a tip I picked up from well respected filmmaker Philip Bloom. His DSLR camera reviews online give great tips on how to best set your DSLR for video capture.
http://philipbloom.net/blog

microphoneCapturing Sound
The visuals and the sound is never synced automatically on a professional video production, syncing the sound to the video is done manually in post-production. A good camera can capture great video, but not great sound. The built in microphone in a camera has two problems for professional video production. First it’s not great quality, it’s automated to pick up every single piece of sound that’s happening 360°. Secondly the microphone is fixed in the camera, thus limiting where you want to place the microphone without moving the camera.

For profession sound I use a separate sound recording device with a microphone plugged in with a XLR cable and the microphone attached to a three meter boom pole, ideal for getting the microphone close to the sound in wide angle shots. This microphone is high quality and directional to capture sound 90°. Because sound and video is recorded separately, a marker has to be established for them to be synced afterwards. On profession video productions a slate is used. You’ve seen them, it’s that board with numbers and sticks on top that bang together to make a loud sound, this is the mark used to sync sound in post-production. Because I’m shooting to tight deadlines I keep the in built camera microphone on to use as my marker, giving me more valuable time in production and post-production.

editingThe Cutting Room
When creating my edit in post-production, I need as much flexibility as possible when manipulating my captured image. There’s a free to use software for DSLR cameras that helps this process called a Technicolor Cine-Style Profile. It gives enough colour information and provides definition to dark areas without overexposing lighter areas, and can be manipulated in post-production to create the desired image. This manipulation is colour grading. I use two steps to colour grading. The primary is correcting the contrast, brightness and colour of the image. The secondary is the aesthetic, the style of the image. This process I always do last, when everyone’s happy with the edited sequence of the video.

The sound goes through it’s own similar process. The primary, cleaning of any unwanted hiss, clicks, pops and leveled out. The secondary, the style of the sound, any manipulated effects. All sounds have to be mixed together with the final music. Currently I have a workflow setup from start to finish to deal with a video production project. This setup is built to deal with tight schedules. For every three minutes of video, it takes me four hours to edit a sequence, four hours to create any motion graphics, four hours to clean and design the image and four hours to clean, design and mix the sound.

In the coming weeks I will be releasing more articles diving deeper into everything mentioned in this article. Bye for now.