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These Days Video Shoot

  • These Days Video Shoot

These Days Video Shoot

Everyone has to start somewhere and for us, that somewhere was September 2011 in Bristol at the old coroners court filming the excellent Abandon Mute and the official video for their single ‘These Days’.

Your first professional outing as a videographer will always hold a special place in your heart because no matter how prepared you think you are, nothing can prepare you for the shear amount of work and toil that this venture will take on your body.  I think I physically collapsed in joy, exhaustion and elation onto my kitchen floor, upon wrapping this shoot if memory serves

Steady Cam

We borrowed a Sony EX3 and used an old Sony SR1 to capture the two day shoot.  We spent a little of our own money on props and borrowed a lot of friends as actors for the narrative parts.  I personally even spent 3 weekends making four 2 metre by one metre green screen boards, giving great thought to how we could split each giant board into two pieces to be reassembled on location. We only actually used 3 of them in the end due to rigging limitations (gaffa taping the boards to up-ended picnic benches).

Now don’t get me wrong, we were all very well prepared, there were storyboards, day by day casting call sheets and everything went by the numbers.  However, there were so many variables to account for that we hadn’t even thought of.  For example, our opening shot was a sweet dolly shot away from our subject and we had managed to procure a FlyCam steadicam system for the day for this purpose. This was borrowed in return for sending one of our team to be a Boom Operator for two days on a film shoot.

Skateboard Dolly

Having no experience of shooting anything like this before, we quickly realised that while this is a great little bit of hardware, nothing will give you that sweet dolly shot like using an ACTUAL dolly so we also borrowed a skateboard upon which our camera man stood whilst our photographer grabbed him around the waist and tenderly walked him backwards away from the subject to create a sort of ‘floaty’ out of body establishing shot which worked incredibly well in the end!

There were some amazing memories to keep from this shoot.  The character of ‘Angry Boss’ was played by an old family friend of Abandon Mute’s lead singer and when we gave the direction to ‘be angry’ and unleash that anger upon Alex, we had no idea he would have been so well practiced to say, and I quote - ‘what the **** do you think you’re doing, turing up to work late and looking like a ******* gypsy’.  Another firm favourite memory is the clock tower scene shot in Bristol’s city centre where we stopped filming so that the band could help a disabled lady in her wheelchair across the steep curbs in the pavement.

Angry Boss

Let’s sweep away the misty eyed curtain of nostalgia though for a minute and reflect.  We all got the job done and if we were to shoot this today, yes it would look better, be edited better and coloured better but it turned out ok and everyone enjoyed the process.  Your first shoot will contain it’s own steep learning curves, hilarious stories and ‘Nuts and Bolts’ film making shortcuts because, that’s what you have to do when you’re starting out with a limited budget and no experience, equipment or technical know-how.

Remember though, that at the start of your career, you DO have ideas.  You have the passion for creation and the mind-set for building whatever your imagination can conceive. You will also have no fear.

Beg, borrow, don’t steal!; but do buy into the power of creative currency, chances are by putting the call out there for a particular piece of kit or skill-set, you will get it but always be prepared to do something in return at this early juncture of your career.

Abandon Mute

Al jumping over Lee