Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Projects: "Tonight" - Tito Deville Band music video!

Now that there’s finally a decent quality version online I thought it would be a good time to take a nostalgic look back at the making of my first music video. I say nostalgic because it was last Fall that we shot the video. Needless to say, it took a LOT of post production and a LOT of favors along the way to pull this off for next to no money.

Check out the video right... HERE!

The project came about following my introduction to the guys over at Qube Film, the same folks who I worked with on the Nike, “Fire” spot earlier this month. They were preparing to do a video for The Tito Deville Band’s debut single “Tonight” and I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I met with lead singer Tito and we hit it off immediately and 2 weeks later we were shooting.

From the get-go, there were two things I needed the video to accomplish. As the band’s first video, it was important that they were heavily featured throughout. Secondly, I wanted to capture the Electro-Rock energy… It’s all about going out, dancing your ass off and having fun. The Tito Deville Band are at the forefront of a style of music that is still very new to North America though it has roots dating back to the 1960’s and has been developing rapidly in Europe over the last decade. The band is made up of Tito (lead vocals), Will (guitar), Adam (drums) and Kenya who brings the DJ component.

The shoot took place over two days with the first (and most stressful) day on location at the since closed, Crush Champagne Lounge in downtown Vancouver. We shot on the Red Camera, much of the footage being captured at 120fps to isolate key visual details. Working with such a small budget meant no generator and very few lights but Director of Photography, Cliff Hokanson, got great production value from 4 banks of Nine Lights blasting on and and off throughout together with a couple of 1Ks and a bunch of battery-operated, hand-held lamps that we picked up from Canadian Tire for ten bucks each!

This was the first time I had directed a crowd scene but it’s amazing what one can achieve with 40 enthusiastic folks. Our background extras really brought their A-game to the shoot and though the space at Crush was dauntingly large, we managed to cheat every shot to make it look like the place was packed. The most stressful aspect of the first day of shooting was our limited window of time to get everything in the can – we had 6hrs including our 2hr.+ pre-light time. Despite this, we managed to get 34 set-ups in total and tons of great footage.

Day two took place in front of the green screen at Qube’s studio where we shot all the band performance coverage. The day went without a hitch although we discovered an odd quirk with the Red Camera… On numerous occasions when we were shooting Adam on drums, the camera dropped frames and we had to do another take. Weird that such a sophisticated device would be sensitive to sound waves! Or maybe Adam just rocking it too hard? We ended the shoot filming plate elements for the “electro-cocktail” – kudos to producer, Navid, for his patience and tolerance as we hurled glasses of Lime Gatorade all over his studio!

The editing of the video went very smoothly, editor, Nima, had a great instinct for the beat of the song. With so many green screen/VFX elements it was a big leap of faith for everyone involved as to whether or not what was in my head could actually be translated on-screen… FX whiz Cory really stepped up to the plate and shouldered the responsibility and I’m really proud of what he accomplished. There were definitely some huge challenges to overcome. Going into the process I thought the “electro-cocktail” and light explosion would cause the most problems but in the end the thorn in our side (ok, Cory’s) ended up being the drum kit. It’s gleaming chrome together with the water droplets in slow-motion became a keying nightmare.

Overall, I’m really satisfied with what we achieved, especially with so few resources. The Leo Awards thought so too and honored us with a Leo Award nomination for Best Music Video. Since the shoot, The Tito Deville Band has made huge strides forward, recently making it to the Top Ten in the Fox Seeds best emerging rock band contest. Look out for them and try to catch their next show – their live shows are CRAZY!

Let me know what you think of the video and feel free to share with friends.

Until next time…