Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Stories from the Set: Goo Goo Dolls 'Over and Over'

Screenshot of Emmeline Kellie in our Goo Goo Dolls music video entry

   It has definitely been a roller-coaster week. As well as my constant editing work on Songbird (on top of the 'day job' edits), Night Owls - my previous short film - is now an award-winner! We scooped two awards at Sunday's LA Film Awards - Best Actor for Jonny McPherson (supremely deserved) and an honorary mention in the drama category. Then, at the time of writing this blog post, I have literally just discovered that the film won Best Cinematography from Festigious Film Festival, presented to my long-time collaborator and friend, Neil Oseman

   And yet, even with all that going on, this time last week, I directed and edited another music video... in less than 48 hours!

   This came about for two reasons: firstly because I've followed Talenthouse for a while, and I try to jump on their creative invites for music videos whenever possible. And secondly because I've been looking for an opportunity to work with actor Emmeline Kellie for a while. She now owns her own production company, Siskamedia, and it looked like a good opportunity to do a full blown collaboration project. With another of my regular collaborators, DP Chris Newman, on board, we had a good team from the start.

   Since I'd spotted Talenthouse's opportunity to create a music video for the Goo Goo Dolls quite late on into the competition (damn you, junk mail box), we had the hard task of finding an idea that played to our creative strengths, with limited time and budget, whilst also telling a story that suited the track itself. This was a bit of a case of trial and error, but eventually we decided to explore the idea of looking at a the time before an argument, before someone was miserable, and rewinding the images to go back to that happy place.

   This gave us the opportunity to work with not only reversed footage, but also slow-motion, to add an extra visual layer to the video without too much extra time and expense. This did effect our camera and format choices, though - with minimal time left for the edit, 4K slow-mo footage would have taken too long to log and render, so we opted for trusted 1080p. It also meant that Chris' weapon of choice, the beautiful Canon C500 & Odyssey combo we used on Songbird, had to be temporarily shelved. So he brought in another camera operator for the shoot, a man we all know as 'Justin Fantastic', who brought his Sony A7S & FS7 into the mix, which better suited our needs in this occasion.

One happy group shot at the end of the shoot day (photo by Emmeline).

   As usual, I was blessed with a wonderful cast. Not only Emmeline herself (who was on double duty as lead actor and producer, and also spent the majority of the shoot running or covered in water!), but also Benji Taylor, who played against her beautifully in the argument scenes, and our great supporting actors, Adei Bundy and Anita Dashwood - and the gorgeous, albeit excitable dog Ceaser, acommpanied by owner (and local actor) Katie Ward. We were also blessed with some beautiful locations, once again returning to Matlock (shout out to Emmeline for finding us that quarry!); the only downside was that we were held up in severe, unpredictable traffic on the way to the second half of the shoot, but we quickly made back the time we lost.

   Chris was the first to suggest that we shot the argument scene simultaneously on two cameras. On a practical level, this was because we knew we only had a day to shoot the film, and we needed to get a lot of coverage in a small space of time. On a personal level, I was particularly excited to try this because I know that's how they shot the majority of Blue Valentine, and I knew it would help to enhance the raw and intimate quality of the argument scenes. It's a wonderful technique, and it went as smoothly as I'd hoped, so I'll definitely be trying that again in the future.

My edit suite for the production. I wish I could've kept it!

   Due to the crew's busy schedules (mine included), the only time we were free to shoot was two days before the deadline - leaving us with only one day to edit (or slightly over that if you converted it into American time). I was on editing duty again, but Alex Stroud - Emmeline's neighbour and one of the biggest assets to the local film community I've discovered recently - lent me his gorgeous edit suite for the day, then came in and did a beautiful grade on the film when my eyelids were starting to droop.

   There's lots of specific things I could talk about to do with this film (like the way slow-motion water droplets can be graded to look like fireworks!), but the best way to make you aware of all this is to show you the film itself. So here it is:


   The winner is chosen by Warner Bros Records and Goo Goo Dolls themselves, so it's not open to a public decision. But if you want to support the film, please give it a like on Talenthouse  - or log-in via Facebook if you don't want to create a profile.

  And wish us luck!

  Sophie

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