Back in December, we were contacted for an opportunity in NYC for four different videos. All of these videos were set to be filmed in New York City. The artist and his manager contacted our team and said they said they potentially had multiple videos that they wanted to film, but they had concerns they wanted us to address. The first concern was in regards to COVID. They wondered if it was even possible to even film a music video during this time. With the precautions we had in place, we assured them that the music video production process would be completely safe and all we needed was the consent of everyone on set to participate. We then were excited to tell them that we offer valuable discounts for clients that shoot multiple videos. If an artist books two music videos they receive a 15% discount, for three music videos a 20% discount, and if they booked four music videos a 25% discount would be applied. With this 25% off discount, one of the four music videos ends up being completely free. They of course jumped at the opportunity and immediately booked the four music videos. Once the planning began, we decided that we would need 12 days to film. We then planned ahead for three out of those twelve days to be flexible, in case something were to come up or needed to be rescheduled. Being in the music video industry we knew this could be a good possibility, especially with the unpredictability of the pandemic.
The first music video we filmed was for the song titled “Absurd”. “Absurd” is a high-energy song and they wanted the video to capture that same energy. They had a vision of each video intertwining to another in a way. The first video they wanted to have an artist who is sick and tired of his girlfriend who is nagging him all the time. The second one would be a man they see singing a song in the studio to his girlfriend and him then breaking up with the girl. The third would be a new love interest after the break up. The fourth was to be separate video, one that is just a high energy fun video strictly performance and paying tribute to old hip hop.
Filming in New York can be easy due to the abundance of resources you have access to. On the other hand, it can also be challenging due to the amount of hurtles and precautions that have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID in New York City since the city has been shut down. It is difficult to get around and even harder to park. Since most people haven’t moved their cars in months, it’s time consuming to find new parking when you go to different shoot locations. There were multiple times where I had to drive around for more than an hour just looking for a parking spot. It also seemed as though the city police officers had even stopped carrying out the typical parking regulations, so people were parked wherever they pleased. At the time of the shoot, I had a rental car and found out the hard way that New York police and city ticketing officers treat locals different than anyone from out of town. I found out that if you have out-of-town plates you’re more likely to get a ticket than anyone with New York plates. In twelve days of shooting, I had racked up over $1,200 of parking violations and tows. The filming for “Absurd” the music video went very smoothly. We booked the location through an app we recommend called Peerspace. The location had a massive projector that covered three whole walls floor to ceiling with hundreds of visuals to choose from, which allowed us to create incredibly unique shots all in one place as you can see from the pictures here. They had thousands of different images and lightening options that we could choose from, which allowed for endless opportunities for what we could create, so much so, that we actually decided to use the same studio for an additional video, which I will address in another article. The only learning curve was to light someone while the projector was hitting them, since the projector wall is already lit. To to see the projector’s image properly everything has to be blacked out and as soon as you introduce light onto the artist you wouldn’t see the projector as clearly. So, we had to find a solution to light the artist in a way that wouldn’t take away from the projector display.
For close-up shots, the lighting wasn’t as big of a challenge, but when we pulled out into master shots, it became very difficult to light the subject and create the proper exposure for the projector as well as the artist at the same time. A lot of the fixes came in post production during the color correction process and using a variety of vignettes. The owner of the location was very helpful in deciding from the thousands of different visuals to choose from. At times though, he was a little too helpful and would change the displays based off what he would think is best, instead of listening to what we had as the vision for the video. Being in music video production, this can be a constant hurdle. Meaning as a music video videographer, you have to pull people back in and help them understand that it’s not always just up to what they think looks best, but it’s what the artist wants and what the team has planned for the artist’s vision. However, it never got to the point that we felt as though we had to scrap the footage or find a new location. It was understandable, the location manager was just excited to help. We also had multiple other people trying to voice their opinion and talking to him so that might’ve confused him a bit. This video was fairly easy to film due to the fact that we were able to film 90% in one location. The only other location we used was the beginning scene, where the artist and his girlfriend were shown fighting. At that same location, we also used their rooftop for a performance shot. On the rooftop we mostly used drone footage we shot and Stedicam setups.
The music video has overall done very well as it’s about to hit overall 300,000 views and has only been live for a little over 30 days. Especially, since this is the artist’s first music video. Their next couple videos we produced performed even better due to the momentum of the first one. We loved working with an artist who was so talented and had so much vision and energy.
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Phoenix Music Video Director My career as a music video producer began only as an independent Phoenix music video director and […]