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My first music video


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Hey folks, this is the first music video I ever shot. While I am decently happy with the results, I am very much looking for feedback and impressions, any at all. If you have any questions feel free to ask, of course!

The music video tried to capture a few different aesthetics, so were the stage parts all on long lenses, locked off on a tripod and shot mostly with old stage lighting, in order to emulate that 'Earth, Wind, and Fire' aesthetic, while the hotel room parts were shot much more modern, using LEDs and a floating, quickly moving camera. However also here the aesthetic was meant to evoke a feeling of an older video (notably with the heavy use of a rim light), because the general feeling is that of a daydream.

https://vimeo.com/429361546 password: mogimikevideoclip

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Hello, @seanzzxx.

First off: congrats on doing and delivering this!
Especially since it was your first music video.

How do you rate the overall experience and how did you come across the band?

Did you experience any problems on set or prior to that?
How big was your crew, if there was any?

Regarding the video itself and my impressions ( I hope you don't mind me speaking freely? )

The opening shot looks a bit flat.
Your plane of view is parallel to the wall and the lighting doesn't really favor anything in particular.
I really like all the props and the wardrobe, though. They have a cozy, warm feel to it and stand out nicely from the white walls. Even the book has some orange on the cover - that's a great attention to details!

When I saw the band - a huge smile appeared on my face.
They looked great. And you definitely managed to introduce those 80's vibes into it.
Using a harsh rim lighting was a perfect choice - it really reminds me of Robert Richardson movies, eg. Casino (1995).
It felt just like you described - a daydream sequence. Awesome.

Then we have some great performance in-between.

I'm not a huge fan of the 2:28 (and again at 3:12) shot, showing the actress out of focus.
I think it'd be much stronger if something that required her immediate attention (eg. a pet waiting to play with her / some pot boiling over) happened in the foreground, while she was completely lost in the song world.

And then this 2:37 sequence - feels a little too wide for me.
Even more because we've only had seen the location through a longer focal length that was put on sticks. And now not only we're flying, but also seeing so much more.

Maybe a shot showing the female talent getting up from the couch and slowly zooming out would sell it?
Also, I sense some higher shutter speeds? The motion doesn't look as smooth as it did before?

The ending was neat, though.
Bue hour nicely matches the stage parts.

One thing I'd really like to see (hear?) is the music stopping abruptly as the tape stops rolling.
Just to wake us up from the dream.


Overall - great job, seriously.
You should be proud and I hope you are!

Thanks for sharing.


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Hey man, let me say firstly that I really appreciate the thoughtful reply and comments, thanks a lot - really.

The frontman of the 'band' (it's actually a solo act officially, but the guys behind him do most of the instrumentals on his tracks) is an old acquaintance, who also acted in some older videos we did (I'm talking more than five years back at this point). I would rate the experience highly, the band was very cooperative and set-ups went smoothly and as planned mostly, except for a last-minute cancellation on the hotel room. I think the new hotel room looks kinda plain, but we did as much as we could to spice things up with the lighting on the walls (something which was planned but which we now really relied on for atmosphere).

My biggest lesson was that having lip-syncing in your video really limits how you can cut: I really found out I had to use certain takes or let them run longer than I intended or otherwise it would look jarring, which meant I had to cut other planned (and shot) footage (there was waaaayyyy more footage of the female lead dancing, which explains perhaps why what was left of her dancing felt a bit out of place!). Big lessons and it meant that we could have actually shot less than I ended up doing and take the time to finesse a few shots more.

Case in point: the opening shot is actually one of my least favorite shots (other ones are in the hotel room, where I think sometimes my framing and directing of the actor led to some less-than-exciting shots, although overall I like the segment), but I did not shoot other wide coverage of her on the sofa so I basically 'had to' lead with that one. Ah well.

You're right about the shots of the female lead dancing using a higher shutter: good eye! It effectively uses a 90-degree shutter, because the footage was shot in 50 frames at 180-degrees and then sped up to 25 frames. This was a deliberate choice; originally the segment was supposed to have a few slow-motion cut-aways (that ended up being cut) and I wanted to have the normal-speed footage at a higher shutter anyway, to make the movement look a bit more tight and 'crisp'. I still personally like the effect, although I see where you are coming from on disliking it. I also agree on the focal length being a bit too wide, I shot this at 12mm (whereas everything else is between 35 and 85 millimiters, with a large portion at 50 and 85), so the difference is a tad too big, not just relative to the other focal lengths but also for the framing I ended up going with. I think in a perfect world I would re-shoot this at 18mm, but in practice I think I would have gone for a 16mm, because my 16mm-lens is half the weight of the 18mm I own, and we were shooting a lot of set-ups of her dancing on the steadicam and I think my arm would not have taken it.

There's actually shots of her coming from the couch to start dancing, but I did not like the performance and my framing, so it's wholly on me that I did not get useable footage to more naturally transition into that dancing. I actually deliberated for a long time about taking the whole dancing segment out (it's only two shots after all), but I really liked the performance and so did the artist, and I think overall it fitted in enough with the 'good vibes' of the whole video to justify staying.

As for crew: I directed and shot the thing, and I had two guys helping me with moving and lighting. Now, these guys were actually not gaffers but theater-stagehands: so they mostly did the lighting set-up (and controlling) in the studio and the neon lighting in the hotelroom, but they were at other times also invaluable for quickly adjusting lights on set and just helping move from location to location: I was really glad to have them there - these guys are hard workers! We shot on two roughly twelve-hour days (this included moving from location to location which ate up some time) and we had a half-day beforehand setting up all the lighting in the studio for the band-segment.

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3 hours ago, seanzzxx said:

Hey man, let me say firstly that I really appreciate the thoughtful reply and comments, thanks a lot - really.

You're most welcome.

Thanks for taking the time and replying to my questions, as well.
( :

3 hours ago, seanzzxx said:

My biggest lesson was that having lip-syncing in your video really limits how you can cut

That's a great tip, thanks for sharing it.


3 hours ago, seanzzxx said:

I actually deliberated for a long time about taking the whole dancing segment out (it's only two shots after all), but I really liked the performance and so did the artist, and I think overall it fitted in enough with the 'good vibes' of the whole video to justify staying.

I really liked her performance, too. Just some technicalities to make it look more polished and coherent.

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first music video, who cares! great music video! fits the music perfectly. besides that it is a showcase of cinematic talent behind and infront of the camera. colors, shot design, editing, rhythm within and between the shots, the whole experience, spiffy! A bit much grainyness sometimes for my taste, if digital. Who cares! Professional quality with a unique style and a unique video. Lovely.

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Cool discussion so far, and a few notes from me:

  • like @PannySVHS says - first one so who cares!  Congrats for getting the gig, shooting it, getting an edit together and publishing.  It takes more guts than people think to actually get things done and get them out into the world than people think, so total respect for that.
  • I'm completely out of touch with what is in style these days (actually, who am I kidding, I was never in touch with it lol) but I can say I definitely enjoyed it, the song was great and your video seemed to match.  What I mean by that is that you had a concept (daydream), you had a style (kind of retro vibe), you made framing and editing decisions, and the band made a bunch of decisions when writing the song, and for me they all matched.
  • As someone who has learned a lot by just shooting many projects, I can give some thoughts on how to get better and develop your style.. which is to work out what worked well and what could be improved next time, and the three sources of that information should be the client, the target audience, and you.
  • I'd suggest that you concentrate on only one or two major things to improve before your next project.  Obviously little things can be addressed, but if you focus on too many things then firstly you're not focussing, and secondly you'll get depressed about how many things could be improved and you're less likely to do another one.  So pick a few things that worked really well, and one or two things to work on, and actively try to include them in your next one.
  • My last thought is just to say that you should do as many projects as you can.  There are a bunch of things that we only learn by doing over and over and after a while certain patterns will reveal themselves and we'll understand that something we do in prep has a certain impact in post.

Great stuff!!

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