C and I recently wrapped up video production for Cheap Time and the Wrong Words. As with photography, I have no formal videography training, but the digital age just makes it so easy to experiment. Together we’ve made a total of five videos so far (including these last two), and each one has been a valuable learning experience. The most important lesson: working as a team is easier than working solo. Oh, and always get more than one take. To be honest, I have yet to physically manipulate our raw video footage, but having two people fussing with the file is probably not a good idea anyway, especially when C does such a wonderful job (and has a computer that can handle the workload, unlike mine).
Perhaps because I’m used to the spontaneity and unpredictability of photographing live music, I’m (we’re?) more comfortable with guerrilla-style shoots than staged settings. Drop me off somewhere and I’ll figure out what to do. It’s not even necessarily about the lack of a budget and high-end gear—having to set up lights and crafting a shot can add another dimension of stress. Of course, if we or the bands could hire professionals to do that stuff, it’d be a different story altogether….
We met up with Cheap Time for the few hours they were in San Francisco on tour. After a quick brainstorming session, we filmed around the Hemlock Tavern as well as inside. Thankfully, Jeffrey had strong arms—the monopod was not light! I worried a bit about the random people on the street being in the video, but the wide aperture we used rendered them virtually anonymous. Equipment used: Canon 60D, Olympus PEN EP-2, monopod, tripod. Obstacles encountered: aggressive panhandlers; needles, fresh excrement (human?), broken glass, and cartons of abandoned Chinese food in the alley; dim stage lights.
The Wrong Words video was the most complex project we’ve undertaken so far, involving four locations (practice pad, Mosswood Park x2, Down at Lulu’s), three separate days of shooting, and a storyline that we made up as we went along. Since there was a storyline, we had to keep track of people’s clothing and Layla’s hair, the shots we needed, and outdoor lighting conditions—somewhat challenging when full weeks passed between takes. Bassist Ajax made the Wrong Words sign and the secret admirer card—what a craftsman! Spencer (the secret admirer) was a total pro and provided his own slow-motion effects. C did an excellent job editing down the multiple hours of footage. I can only imagine how difficult a feature film must be! Equipment used: Canon 60D, Olympus PEN EP-2, monopod, tripods, 42″ reflector, revolving disco light. Obstacles encountered: busy schedules, mercurial weather, malfunctioning wardrobe, inoperative motorbike.
Next solo video project (assuming my computer can handle the editing process): The Inhuman Eating Machine‘s big salad session.