I can now officially be considered a real, live, honest to goodness, DSLR filmmaker. I have made an official music video! Equipped with its fair share of super shallow depth of field shots and hazy imagery! Yeah! I feel so official.
All joking and cynicism aside, I am thrilled that my first music video gets to be that for a song written, composed, produced, mixed and performed by my daughter Imahni. The song evokes the spirit of “Taylor Swift,” not so much in style, but in topic. It’s about a love struck young woman considering whether or not she and her boyfriend should move on, or try to work things out. Any of you who have any significant amount of dating experience has probably had similar feelings.
The Film Geeky Stuff
The video was shot with a 5D Mark III (courtesy of my friends over at LensProToGo, sponsors for my podcast Crossing the 180). Other gear included:
- Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZE
- Kessler Pocket Dolly
- SmallHD monitor
- Edited in FCPX using the following plugins:
Here are some creative decisions I made regarding the piece.
- I shot the “flash back”/home movie footage at a higher shutter speed to give it that jittery look you get out of a Flip.
- I knew I would have four distinctive looks:
- Nostalgic for the flashbacks
- Warm for the shots of her “remembering” the good old days
- Cool and sad for the scenes of her singing
- Bright and hopeful for the scenes at the end
- For the scene where Imahni is singing out of the window, I cleared the room and gave her some heart-wrenching direction to illicit more emotion. There’s actually a shot on the cutting room floor where she tears up. Unfortunately, it was during a part of the song that didn’t match the part of the song where this scene shows up in the final video.
- I purposefully wanted to leave the boyfriend unseen until the end.
- The end is left open-ended as to whether or not the two lovers reconcile.
- All the dialog with the boyfriend is ad-libbed.
- The boyfriend was also my production assistant for the shoot.
- Yes, it was totally weird shooting a music video about my daughter pining over some guy. (And no, that’s not her real boyfriend.)
Diminishing Returns and Lessons Learned
This was one of those projects I could have tweaked forever (especially when you have a teenage daughter sitting over your shoulder asking for adjustments here and there. Was a great reminder why I don’t have clients sit with me in the editing room. ) Every extra teeny adjustment offers diminishing returns. At some point you just gotta say, it’s done! Move on, learn from your mistakes, and make the next one better. Here are a few things I would’ve done different:
- Although we had a playback on set, I would have had her sing it stronger. I felt the lip sync in the make-up scene wasn’t as strong and connected as I would’ve liked.
- Had I the manpower and time, I would have flagged off the sun light in the background of the makeup scene and used my own lights. The color temperature between that and the light in the bathroom was off. Not terrible, but in a perfect world, that’s what I would do.
All in all, this was a labor of love. Love for the craft, and of course, love for my daughter. (Now, let’s just hope she remembers all I went through if she blows up and becomes the next Taylor Swift or Alicia Keys. )
(Click on image to launch gallery. Production notes provided as captions.)
Enjoy the video!