Alter Bridge are a band I have loved for ages. Ever since their 2004 debut release 'One Day Remains' I have called myself a fan. In fact you could say I was a fan of theirs even before that, way back to their Creed days. I know it's not exactly cool to refer to yourself as Creed fan these days, but I was one. So when they broke up I was heart broken, but from the ashes a better band was born. Bearing that in mind I'm sure you can understand that I was pretty excited when I heard they were running a competition to make the official music video for their song 'Lover' on Genero.tv.
The next step in this process was to figure out a good idea; a story to set the song to. Knowing I didn't have the crutch of performance video to break up the song I absolutely had to come up with a compelling story for the audience to follow. What followed next was two weeks of listening to pretty much nothing, but this one song. Over and over again to the point I was pretty sure I'd burnt a hole in the HDD segment it was stored on (that's how they work, right?) Once I felt I had a good idea, and a compelling linear sequence of events, I wrote the script and sent it out to some long time collaborators. I managed to enlist the help of Una Blake (Make-Up Artist, Production Designer); Melinda Tupling (Production Designer, Production Assistant); Kallan Gerard (Camera Assistant); Paul Boucher (Older Man); Anthony Ciccotosto (Younger Man); Evelyne Tymms (Woman); and I took part as the Director of Photography, Editor and Director. I have worked with all these massively talented people in the past and I knew they could do great work under pressure; bringing a lot of inherent production value to the project.
What followed next was a pretty gruelling day of shooting. I had chosen some pretty spectacular, yet isolated locations to film. The first being the Red Hill National Park, and the second is Bell's Rapids; both are located in the Swan Valley. This isolation meant we all had to walk about twenty minutes to each location, and coupling this with the fact that the script called for one of our characters to drag a great big rock up the side of the hill meant things didn't really run to schedule as well as I'd hoped. Oh, and rain: that wonderful purveyor of exterior shooting definitely worked to slow us down. To be honest the rain was actually pretty good to us, we didn't have any torrential downpours, and some brilliant water proofing on behalf of our excellent camera assistant meant that the light showers that dogged us didn't do much to slow us down. Well we eventually made it, three hours behind schedule, but between the locations, the excellent make-up and production design of Una and Mel, and our fantastic actors the footage looked grand! All three and a half hours of it...
Then comes the edit. Well it wasn't a particularly difficult edit; my penchant for cutting exactly to the rhythm of the music meant there were a lot of cuts - which takes quite a lot of time - however it all went relatively smoothly. Over the course of two days I edited three and half hours of footage down into a five and a half minute music video. Due to the fast and rugged shooting style I and adopted I had over three hundred discrete shots to make use of within the music video, and I'm pretty sure I used damn near all of them.
Another thing that helped was my familiarity with the Sony NEX-FS700 and its version of the AVCHD codec. I knew that the codec was actually quite robust and flexible and I would be able to push the footage as far as I needed to. To be honest it stood up even better than expected; we put the camera through some challenging exposure situations and it handled them all admirably: with plenty of detail in the highlights and little to no noise in the blacks, in fact other than some rolling shutter artefacting (a side effect of shooting in 50fps with a 90 degree shutter) it was pretty much perfect. The only lens I used was the Canon L-Series 24-70 F2.8, which I think works great on this camera with the Metabones E-EF adaptor. The whole package was provided generously by Location Equipment Pty Ltd.
Whilst going through the whole project I always kept myself aware, in the back of my mind, of the aesthetic of the band's other music videos. Trying to keep as close to that as possible whilst injecting an element of my own style into the music. One indispensable tool in making this happen was Red Giant's Magic Bullet Looks plugin. I've been aware of this plugin for a while, but have never had really dabbled in its glory. Well I am now a convert, whilst I am definitely a fan of creating my looks in camera as much as possible, sometimes it is just not possible, especially with the shooting style I adopted for this project. The use of this software injected a great deal of production value into the clip and really made it sing! So, expect all my future projects to feature anamorphic flares!
Well I think that's enough chinwagging for one day. I think it's time to show the video, and let it speak for itself. I hope you like it, despite the speed in which it was put together I think it has come together really well and whether or not it wins the competition I feel my team and I have put something together that we can all be proud of.