The making of this video

Another guest post on the making of this video from Cardiac Kid Productions:

I was asked to shoot and edit a music video for the Island/Def Jam band Parachute. It was to be a concert style music video for a song called “What I Know” off of their forthcoming (and since released) 2nd full length studio album “The Way It Was”. The band was on the tour with the Plain White T's at the time and they were playing at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO. The small budget and requests from the venue to not bring in a camera “larger than a baby's head” pointed me towards my Nikon D7000.

I had never done a live concert music video before. I had taped many live concerts, but never with the focus being on getting footage for one studio track. Normally when I shoot a performance based music video, the shoot takes a full day and we do 20+ takes of the song.

The bulk of the video was going to be the band performing the song from stage, with some b-roll of the band loading in their gear and hanging out backstage. For this video I had to shoot the takes of the band performing the song during the sound check. I had about twenty five minutes to work with and we got through the song a total of four times. The first time was mainly a practice to see where I could be on stage and how I would move around without bumping into the band members. I was using a Steadicam Merlin on all four takes. The lighting for this first take had a different look than the other three takes. The colored stage lights were off and the white house lights were turned on.

The other three takes were done with the house lights still up, but the stage lights on. The stage lights were mostly reds with some blues in there. I used a Nikkor 12-24mm f4 for the sound check takes. I shot the live concert footage with a modified Letus shoulder rig a Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8. I used the full Letus shoulder rig and the 17-55mm lens for all the off stage b-roll. I also used a Letus Hawk viewfinder for all the non-Steadicam work. I couldn't have shot the outside footage without it. All of the concert footage was shot wide open. I was at 800 ISO for the sound check footage and 1250 ISO for the live concert footage. I shot all the footage in 1080p/24fps in the “high quality” setting. I shot in the “Standard” picture control mode and with the sharpness turned down.

All of the b-roll was shot documentary style. My experience in shooting weddings with my D90 helped there. You have to see a moment about to happen and then capture it as it's happening.
A good example of this is the guitar player Nate taking the lid off of his pedal board at :31 in. It's cool to capture those shots naturally, as opposed to asking the talent to try to do it a couple times so you can get your shot. Sometimes your focus isn't razor sharp, but capturing that action with a little x axis movement is cooler, in my opinion.

Since I was shooting on my D7000 I had to add some time-lapses to the video. I'm bad at keeping track of and writing down my intervals, but I think the crowd coming into the venue was one shot every five seconds. There were some VIPs that were let into the venue early. So I watched how long it took the average person to get from the door to the floor and it was about ten seconds, so I figured five sounded like a good interval. I let the time-lapse go for over an hour, but the portion used in the video was about twenty minutes in real time.

I edited the video in Adobe Premiere CS5. I did all the color correction in Premiere. The main challenge there was getting the sound check takes to look at pink and purple as the live take. The production company that I was working with did some After Effects work (blurring out signs) for legal reasons. Overall, it was a fun experience. I think next time I will try to shoot with multiple cameras during the live set.

People have told me that you can't use an HDSLR for “professional” video work. Everybody likes to mention that one episode of “House”. “See look what you can do with an HDSLR!” I'm guilty of it too. I put it on my iPhone so I can stick it in the face of the naysayers. But at the end of the day, most of us don't shoot for network television, and we are shooting with an HDSLR not because it's artsy and were trying to fit into tight spaces, because we don't have the budget to rent a RED or an AF-100.

When I'm not shooting music videos, I'm shooting web commercials for small businesses and I use my D7000 on 99% of those shoots. These are the real world applications of the HDSLRS. I needed to buy an HD camera and $1200 for a D7000 body sounded better than $5000 for an HD video camera. I think it will be interesting to see how Nikon moves forward now that they are...like it or not...a digital motion picture camera company.

Equipment used: Letus & Steadicam Merlin.

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