Sunday, August 14, 2011
Music Video: "Triple Threat"
___Last weekend I worked as a 1st A.C on a music video for a song called "Triple Threat" by an artist know as "The Analyst." The video was directed by Austin Ahlborg, who developed an amazing concept and visual style for the video. In the video, "The Analyst" is depicted as 3 separate individuals in 3 separate worlds, each representing a different part of his personality. Throughout the video, these 3 separate characters and their respective worlds intertwine until they eventually become one. We were working with a Sony F3 and a set of ZEISS CP2s. This was my first time working with the F3 but it was pretty simple as the menu structure and exterior configuration are VERY similar to my EX1. We also had the AJA External recorder in order to bypass the native compression of the F3 and record PRORES 422 files via CF cards. The AJA was a bit tricky at first but with some troubleshooting we got it up and running correctly. This was also my first time working with the CP2s. It was refreshing pulling focus with them as opposed to the DSLR lenses that have been so popular in the indie world lately. It was great having precise marks on the lens for accurate pulls. The D.P, Wess Tracy, liked to shoot between a 4.0 and a 5.6 so he made my job a bit easier as the depth of field was not crazy shallow. I respected him a lot for this decision as I think with the rise of DSLR's, the hand held shallow depth of field look is just way overdone and played out at this point. We had some awesome set design and locations and I agree with Wess completely that it would be a waste to throw it all out of focus. Sometimes I feel like not many people appreciate frame composition and wide shots anymore. Everyone just wants close ups with nauseatingly shallow depth of field so it was cool that Wess didn't like shooting wide open.
It was definitely a crazy weekend full of insane camera moves and lighting techniques, straight from the mind of Austin Ahlborg. We pulled off some insane camera moves that we really had no business pulling off with the equipment that we had. What was cool about this shoot was that nothing was impossible. If Austin thought it up in his head, he was going to figure out a way to pull it off, regardless of if we had the right tools. If a shot didn't turn out as planned or wasn't working, Austin would improvise and find a different way to pull it off. One shot was supposed to consist of the Artist sprinting down a narrow hallway with a home made"doggy cam" attached to his chest. The shot ended up being too shaky and it just wasn't working out the way Austin and Wess had hoped. Instead of cutting the shot, Austin opted to put the artist on the dolly WITH the doggy cam and pull it down the hallway at 1000 miles an hour instead. Despite that being insanely unsafe and crazy, we did it anyway and the shot looked amazing. For these "doggy cam" shots as well as a few other shots in the video we used an 11-16mm zoom in which the artists face was extremely close to the lens. I really liked the look of all these shots because they came off very uncomfortable and weird and that's the look I think Austin and Wess were going for. Also, this lens offered a wide depth of field at a close distance and it once again broke the mold of the nauseatingly shallow depth of field look that is so stupidly popular right now.
Another memorable shot consisted of "The Analyst" hitting his head on the wall (which was playing to the viewer as the floor because the camera was tilted 90 degrees to start) then rolling forward in a chair while rapping to his female companion at a table. Another complex shot consisted of connecting two dollies together on the same track with 2x4s. The artist was on one dolly while the camera team was on another. This allowed the artist to "float" down the hallway while rapping. Austin and Wess also constructed a vest that had a built in 1k Tota light attached to it. So the artist was not only floating, but also emitting 1000w of light from his chest. Overall it was a crazy fun weekend of shooting. I think the creativity and uniqueness of this video will really make it stand out among the masses. I can't wait to see how it turns out in the edit.