Saturday, December 04, 2010

Shooting a Music Video: Air Traffic Controller

I've been following Rick Macomber on Twitter (boston_camera) for a month or so; though we'd never met and I can't even remember how I came to follow him. But last week he tweeted that he would be shooting a music video of a local band, Air Traffic Controller, and was looking for people willing to volunteer to crew the shoot. On a whim I dropped him a note and said I was interested in covering it for the blog, and he said 'come on down!' or words to that effect.

Rick is a broadcast news photojournaliat with WBZ TV Boston, but for side projects he's been exploring HDSLR filmmaking. A musician himself, Rick first met Dave Munro of Air Traffic Controller through an open mic that Dave's brother Jeff runs in Malden. Rick has produced, directed and edited four videos for ATC. The other videos were shot using a Canon HV40, but this video, "Brightest Moon," was shot using a Canon T2i with 17-50mm f2.8 lens.

The video was shot at 60 fps with Dave lip syncing the song at double speed, then slow mo was added in post by conforming the video to 30 fps in Cinema Tools to create a fluid dream-like effect. The video was edited in Final Cut Pro with color grading with Magic Bullet Looks.

The video was actually a reshoot; in the previous attempt they had some audio playback issues and the audio wasn't loud enough for the singer to get the words right.

I met Rick and the crew of four down at a park on Soldiers Field Road late Sunday afternoon. The shot consisted of one long take of Dave walking along a path, with the other band members - Brent Selby Kiara Ana Perico Wendy Mittelstadt and Merrick Nelson - making appearances as Dave walked along. The first hour was spent figuring out where to place everyone and practicing. Rick operated the camera on a Glidecam with a vest, walking backwards while Jim Akimchuk guided him and also held a small key light. Crew Cameron Robbins and Chris Loughran operated two Husky LED work lights to light both Dave and the other band members, while Dan Buckley handled audio playback. Billy Lawler handled audio playback on the previous shoot.

In total they shot twelve complete takes over the course of a couple of hours, with the best one being chosen for the final video.

One last note; I was really intrigued by the Husky work lights they were using. They cost about $60 at Home Depot and feature 180 individual lights and operate on internal battery for three or four hours. For this purpose they pumped out plenty of light, and I'm wondering if they'd make a useful light kit for interviews; quite a bit of light without the power and heat issues you get from traditional lighting kits.

Macomber Productions
MySpace: Air Traffic Controller

And here's the final video:

[UPDATE] Corrected the number of takes to twelve.
[UPDATE II] Added Billy Lawler to crew list


Martin Koch said...

Thanks for showing the making of this music video. It's very interesting to see whats going on behind the scenes. Beautiful song and good music video.

luisc said...

walking (playing, singing, shooting...) makes sense?!!
thanks indeed