Did you visualise this technique from the get go or did you experiment with the footage?
So, this was always the technique from the get go! What’s interesting about the film vs digital shooting is how people always bemoan a lack of texture on digital formats so I’d been thinking about how I could create digital textures by using bad buffer speeds, internet lagging, glitching and use this on a music video. I also love (hate) how when you are on a bad internet and watching something, the video will freeze and then skip to the next scene. I wanted to use this to distort normality and almost make people second guess if this was all happening in the video or if it was actually their own bad internet!
How did you direct it – it wasn’t just over the zoom camera was it?
Yes, shot, edited and graded all over Zoom/WhatsApp! It was me, Spike Morris (DOP) on Zoom to Berwyn and his brilliant flatmate Jemma Jasmine who was our camera operator for the day. We talked them through the order of the day, setting up the camera and lighting the room which they then did and we checked as best we could on the monitor.
I’d done quite a bit of prep to make the shoot day as smooth as possible and had had calls with Berwyn about his performance and how I’d like him to be/how I would direct him which made him more comfortable when we shot. I also had asked Berwyn to send me some self recorded videos of him performing the song a few days before the shoot so that I also kind of knew what to expect, so we had a good run up to the shoot day to craft the video.
I think simplifying the shoot day as much as possible was the key to this as shooting your first music video whilst having to be the crew as well as take direction could have become quite stressful for Berwyn so we needed to balance that.
And were the files then sent to an edit and post suite?
The files where then sent to Richard Woolway from Stitch who was editing at home and he had a set up where we could screen share his edit timeline on Zoom and we worked remotely that way which was surprisingly smooth.
The trickiest part of working remotely was the VFX as it was hard not to be able to see instant results as they come out (as you would sitting in with someone) but David Horsburgh and Eamonn Blake at Agile Studio had a good understanding of the style I wanted and did a great job with it. For the grade we had a Zoom call with Alex Gregory from The Mill who was grading from home about the look Spike and I were going for and then he sent us screen shots all day in a WhatsApp group which we talked about and we would then watch exports when we felt the screenshots all looked good just to iron out any small details we would miss out on from screen shots.