Producing an underwater music video on a finances | Aici


With the growing hybridization of cameras – with many now extremely succesful at each recording video and capturing stills – I’ve discovered the commissions I tackle as a freelancer have diversified. Whereas I nonetheless class myself as a music photographer primarily, I’m now additionally frequently producing music movies for impartial artists. I actually get pleasure from pushing myself to develop my expertise on this space and to more and more work on greater manufacturing initiatives – however it’s not with out its challenges.

This problem not often takes the type of growing attention-grabbing ideas for any given video although, however slightly methods to notice them efficiently on what are sometimes strict budgets. This was the case for Priestess’s newest music video ‘sea u n tea’, a manufacturing that ended up turning into maybe my favourite video creation but.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Throughout the preliminary starting stage with Priestess throughout phone-calls, we agreed that we’d like to chop extra conventional efficiency clips with summary footage that had a easy narrative for ‘sea u n tea’. Ideally we needed to point out Priestess drowning, then having a second of realization, and finally swimming confidently underwater. The metaphorical intent of this narrative was to replicate the main target of the music: a friendship misplaced amongst a sea of destructive emotion, however overcome, permitting her to maneuver on to a extra optimistic house.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

With lyrics within the music mentioning the color blue and the ocean, in addition to ambient almost-underwater sounds within the observe’s background, there have been metaphorical hyperlinks to be discovered between this chosen idea and the music. If we may additionally tie-in efficiency parts to this idea in some way with out them jarring, even higher. This strategy would assist the video to really feel distinctly completely different to earlier performance-only movies that we had produced collectively, and enhance curiosity in its content material. Nevertheless, that idea growth a part of the planning course of was to be its best part…

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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With underwater housings for cameras frequently as a lot – or much more – than the digital camera itself, and with no actual probability of me as an impartial video maker having the ability to plan a shoot on-location at a lake or comparable that might be safely managed, the idea felt virtually inconceivable to appreciate. I thought of utilizing particular results, however rapidly determined I had neither the experience nor finances to make the most of results to the usual I’d like. Hiring an underwater videographer to movie the part once more was additionally considerably out of finances.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Finally although, and after a lot analysis, I stumbled throughout a doubtlessly viable answer in ‘Tank Area’ (www.tankspace.co.uk). A 2000sqft facility for rent in north Nottinghamshire, Tank Area gives the UK’s largest everlasting indoor rain machine, in addition to a ten,0000-litre tank with no structural helps, enabling clear views of a submerged topic. Competitively priced, and with a spread {of professional} Arri lights in addition to quite a few RGB panels on supply to purchasers, I’d struck gold. Talking to Tank Area proprietor Kai in an preliminary cellphone name additionally reassured me that not solely was my purpose for the video achievable, however that with him available to educate Priestess by way of her efficiency underwater, we may shoot the entire thing on website, in a single day. Our idea was a go!

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Earlier than arriving at Tank Area, Priestess and I deliberate the outfits she would put on within the video for impact. Within the underwater pictures she’d be clad in all-white flowing gadgets that may grasp and swirl within the water as she moved, whereas within the efficiency pictures filmed within the rain room, she’d be sporting an edgier all-black outfit that was tighter in order that the rain didn’t pull its form round because it grew to become waterlogged. I wrote a shot checklist of takes to seize on the day that I may pull collectively throughout enhancing with selection and a few extra artistic capturing angles highlighted, and ready my tools for filming.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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With regards to tools, I’m presently utilizing a Nikon Z6 II (opens in new tab) and F-mount lenses (opens in new tab) mounted by way of a Z-mount adapter for all my filming. This physique might not present a number of the bit-depth, decision or body charges of the newer Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab), or different extra video-refined cameras available on the market. However with 50fps in 4K potential, and many of the music movies I produce finally being uploaded to YouTube and social websites in 1080p 25fps, the Z6 II is able to producing pleasing footage with scope for gradual movement and digital crops throughout enhancing if required. It greater than meets the wants of most of my present purchasers. After all I’d prefer to improve this setup sooner or later to a extra devoted video digital camera, however as all the time as a freelancer, it’s a case of creating certain every gear funding pays off. For now not less than, the Z6 II does the job, whereas additionally being a really succesful stills digital camera for photograph commissions.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Together with a 3 Legged Factor Winston 2.0 (opens in new tab) tripod for static takes, I packed my DJI Ronin S2 gimbal to assist in giving me smooth-looking pictures that had digital camera movement. With the main target motor included within the DJI Professional Combo that I purchased with this gimbal, I can use the gadget’s entrance management dial to manually focus lenses whereas retaining my arms firmly on it – checking accuracy utilizing focus peaking – which is an actual profit when capturing solo! Lens-wise, my most utilized optics are a 14-24mm f/2.8 for broad compositions and intimate-feeling close-ups, and a 24-70mm f/2.8 for extra customary mid-shots and head-shots, all with stylishly shallow depths of subject. After all loads of quick and excessive capability XQD/CFexpress playing cards (opens in new tab) are important to retailer all of the footage on.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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We started our shoot day with the music video’s underwater scenes. Whereas this wasn’t the chronological order I had deliberate for the video’s last edit, logistically it made essentially the most sense, as the nice and cozy water within the big tank may then even be utilized by the rain machine. On one facet of the tank is a blacked-out marquee positioned straight alongside it – this was the capturing place. From inside right here a topic might be filmed or photographed with no reflections from exterior lighting catching the tank’s glass; the one gentle seen coming from contained in the tank. It’s a easy answer to underwater filming that doesn’t give away the thriller as to how the footage was shot, however a extremely efficient one.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Lighting the tank from above we arrange two giant Arri heads to emulate pure gentle, and the rippling gentle beams that it creates because it passes by way of the floor of the water. Lifting the shadows, two smaller color-matched panels have been positioned to gentle by way of the facet home windows of the tank. I needed our lighting to be pretty low-key, with highlights reducing by way of deep shadows, and so was cautious to not over gentle the background of the tank. Tank Area does present lighting choices that may produce all types of colourful lighting results utilizing waterproof panels and tubes, however for the genuine underwater look I needed to provide, issues have been stored fundamental.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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The subsequent problem was to direct Priestess as we filmed our takes. When underwater, she couldn’t hear Kai or my directions clearly, and though the blacked-out marquee meant no reflections on the glass throughout filming, it additionally meant that Priestess couldn’t see me to take visible instructions. Arrange on a tripod for broad pictures that captured virtually the whole lot of the tank to make the dimensions of the scene appear as nice as potential, I needed to wait between her dives into the water to direct Priestess on what I needed her to do and roughly the place within the tank I needed her to remain.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Kai additionally helped massively at this level as he coached her by way of methods to dive and maintain her physique for greatest impact. Defying the physique’s pure urge to rapidly float to the floor is a ability in itself! Whereas the method remained barely trial-and-error, working collectively we quickly had the takes I used to be searching for. Handheld, I then captured all kinds of nearer extra detail-orientated pictures to chop in with the wides, together with the fabric floating round Priestess, her arms and toes shifting by way of the water, air bubbles rising, and so on. This sort of B roll can usually really feel much less essential throughout filming, however from expertise, I do know it usually finally ends up basically essential to the texture and success of the ultimate edit.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Subsequent it was time to maneuver on to our efficiency scenes within the rain room. Measuring 7m x 7m, this house has numerous sprinklers overhead that create sufficient heated rain for a complete band to play amongst a downpour. With the power to additionally submerge the ground barely, it’s additionally potential to seize the ripples and splashes of the rain drops as they hit the bottom. Lights have been as soon as once more arrange for a low-key look, illuminating the artist and rain, however permitting for the background to fall into clear shadow. I started with capturing some straight-on, and side-on mid pictures of Priestess performing the observe; compositions that always fill the majority of a stay phase as they really feel intimate however nonetheless give some context to the scene. These mid-shots have been a mixture of each tripod and gimbal pictures, recorded at 25 and 50fps, permitting me to decide on between static compositions and ones with extra movement, in addition to real-time and slowed-down footage as desired when enhancing.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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I then moved on to some broad full-body composition takes, encouraging Priestess to stomp and kick the water to be able to make the scene as dynamic as potential, with the additional ripples and splashes of water giving further power. A low-angle take of the floor of the water additionally allowed me to seize some abstract-looking reflections of the performances. Lastly, I climbed a step ladder to get some high-angle views of Priestess; an attention-grabbing viewpoint of the efficiency that exposed ripples round her within the floor water as they emanated from her actions and the rain falling round her.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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For all of those takes I used the placement’s sound system to play again the observe as Priestess carried out, as this not solely helps to maintain the artist in time with the observe, however makes syncing all the takes on the enhancing stage a lot simpler. Playback velocity of the observe is regular at 25fps, and required a double-time playback when capturing gradual movement at 50fps to be able to keep sync when slowing the footage down. After a day of being soaked, albeit in heat water, I believe it was a aid for Priestess once I known as time on the day after our last take. However along with her professionalism, and Kai’s continued assist, I used to be assured we’d captured some actually attention-grabbing content material.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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The enhancing stage for “sea u n tea” then started, for which I’m presently utilizing Ultimate Lower Professional (opens in new tab) as my software program of alternative. Step one is all the time to sync all the efficiency takes with the observe and stack them up on the timeline in order that I can simply select the segments I want to use, with out having to manually sync every clip. It’s right here that having audio playback through the recording course of actually helps, as with this sound Ultimate Lower can sync 95% of the takes routinely, with the remaining few simply needing a slight handbook shift to sync completely. As this video was to be a bit extra conceptual in its strategy, I then started my edit by selecting the segments of our underwater shoot that I appreciated and that greatest match the narrative. These have been then specified by small teams on the timeline at common durations, predominately throughout instrumental sections and the verse’s pre and put up refrain the place I knew the stay efficiency can be extra subdued.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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Common use of gradual movement helped with a barely ethereal, magical really feel, revealing particulars in movement and the scene not usually perceivable. When constructing these narrative segments I attempted to combine close-ups and broad pictures to construct curiosity, complimenting and contrasting with one another. Then I chosen from my synced takes efficiency clips that felt essentially the most dynamic, once more ensuring to range between angles and framing approaches frequently to be able to keep curiosity and power. Many of those cuts between clips are made in time with the music’s beats for affect. With this tough minimize full, I then levelled up the exposures throughout my clips if there was a slight deviation, and commenced shade grading the footage. I needed the rain and underwater footage to have a low-key look, with deep blacks and barely teal highlights. I selected this shade strategy as I needed the footage to really feel considerably brooding, dramatic, chilly, and virtually vampire-themed at occasions, however with a nod to the colour blue which complimented the water theme and Priestess’s synonymous hair shade that she has maintained all through her current releases. After a number of tweaks with suggestions from Priestess, ‘sea u n tea’ was full.

(Picture credit score: Carla Mundy (www.carlamundy.co.uk))

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I really feel the ultimate video succeeded nicely in realizing our preliminary idea. Tank Area allowed us to create footage that we simply wouldn’t have been in a position to produce some other manner on our finances, and though our staff was small, I believe the manufacturing values really feel pretty excessive within the last edit. Kai’s experience in serving to to information Priestess within the water for greatest impact have been invaluable, and her willingness to maintain going by way of the day was admirable. The response to the video by Priestess’s fan base since launch has additionally been overwhelmingly optimistic – the actual measure of success!



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