A flurry of activity at base camp; lights flashing, wind machines throwing their jets at my hair (sorry Beyoncé) to ensure it stays just right, make-up artists scurrying hurriedly from their workstations to the drummer's face and back to their reserves of foundation and anti-blemish serum....
And that's just an average day in the life of Temporal Comet.
NB the above is not true. However we are embarking on a video shoot, and the flurry of activity is definitely descending upon us. There's rather a lot to consider, even if you are just trying to record a rehearsal for the video shoot...
Bands generally aren't interested in lighting, anti-glare make-up or costumes. Many won't even consider wide angles or dolly shots. Our advice, you should! It can really help to have some knowledge on this stuff - after all, musicians are now marketers, our music is a brand, and a good video is content which we can use to increase visibility and leverage our output against ROI. OK, I went too far there. WAKE UP!
But the point remains. A good video shows what you can do, for potential screaming fans and concert promoters alike.
Our filming date has come around too fast - ideas are still being crystallised. Last night I was listening to 'Falling' and thought it would be great to film it so that the camera took the perspective of a leaf tumbling slowly to the floor as it filmed the band. I spoke with Jonnie who runs Billion Bites, and he immediately had a solution; "Why don't we try a gimbal - it could look great in slow-mo". I pretend to know exactly what that means, and that's another problem solved!
The creative process is all the better when you have receptive band colleagues and a filmmaker with a truly collaborative outlook. Whatever the idea, however badly explained, Jonnie is on hand to make sense of the madness and try and pull together a shot-list.
Taking time to cement your ideas and pull them all together will help you establish a sense of the bigger picture. Think about lighting, and how you will film. As mentioned above, rehearse during rehearsals! We like to bring mini tripods and our smartphones so that we can film our rehearsals. This can be so useful for analysing what you do live.
We set one up each, like this:
Here's the view from my camera:
As we are rehearsing at DSi Studios, we can also set up some basic audio recording capability for use as reference tracks and to hone in on those parts of songs we need to practise more! The blue dividers in the above picture help to stop "bleed", where, for example, the sound of the guitar is picked up by the drum microphones, or vice versa.
Here's our channel list for recording:
The beauty of Temporal Comet's songs is that, as we are playing to click tracks, we could use any footage ever recorded of the songs, and splice them into a rather funky montage. Maybe when I have a spare 100 hours....
The three smartphones here will capture each musician separately. Make sure you start all the smartphones recording (a common mistake!) and then clap your hands once so you can synchronise using the visual spikes if the clappting sound on the waveform of the videos when you upload them into your video editing software.
A full-blown video shoot is just the evolution of this process. You can ensure great lighting, edit better, intersperse some arty nonsense, and really pay attention to producing a natural, but interesting (!) visual performance.
'The Joint' in Kings Cross is booked; the costumes are ironed, the glitter is on order... We even know the songs. So what have we forgotten?
Have you ever filmed your band? What did you wish you'd considered beforehand? Get in touch with us and use the comments to discuss tips for any other aspiring film-makers and bands wanting to improve their content.