In the time that Red Llama Productions has been a company, we have had the awesome opportunities to make two music videos. The first was for a band from Gilbert, AZ called EVL and can be viewed here. At the time that this article is being written, the second is still in post-production but we are excited to reveal it soon (If you are friends with us on Facebook or follow on Twitter, you might have an idea of what it is). My name is Steven Bennett. I am a part-owner of Red Llama Productions, a filmmaker, and a music enthusiast. Because we are about to release a brand new music video into the wild, I figured I would take a moment and talk a little bit about my personal experiences working on these projects.
I think music videos exist in an interesting place in our culture. When I was a child growing up in the 80s and 90s, I remember networks like MTV and VH1 would show music videos most of the day. Before school I would eat my breakfast with my nose about four inches away from the TV screen watching an odd brother and sister dancing around a spaceship, a single bullet tear through our world in slow-mo, or a band of rebels being arrested on Wall Street. There was something intriguing to me about these unique, bite-sized, expressions of popular culture. For better or worse, it now seems like the big networks are only peripherally interested in this form of music entertainment. The internet fills the role that TV has left vacant. This is an exciting prospect to me as a filmmaker because it means that my work and my company’s work has the potential to reach a wide audience without having a major studio budget. I am also happy to have been given the chance to try my hand at an art form that inspired me when I was younger.
Now, when I call our projects music videos, they are not the traditional music videos you might think of; with fancy settings and convoluted plots. Instead, both were filmed at live events, then cut and synced to studio recordings of the songs. This process is a lot of fun, but also presents some interesting challenges. Layer on top of that the fact that we used only one camera on each shoot and had a budget of $0.00, the finished products are all the more impressive (Even to me, and I made them).
Working on the EVL music video for the song Raw Power was a neat opportunity for me. The band has a lot of heart and talent, so it was cool to make a video that might help take them to the next level as musicians. I have also been friends with a few of the band members for a long time. The night that we filmed their video, they were performing at a small bar in Gilbert to raise money for breast cancer (click here to help). I had experience filming live music events such as Red, White, and Ufest 2011, so I made sure to get as many different angles of each band member as possible. This meant jumping on and off the stage and running back and forth, all while trying to compose interesting shots, adjust aperture, and pull focus.
If you watch the EVL music video, here is the thing that might surprise you: They only played the song Raw Power once that evening. Any time during that single performance that I was changing positions or my focus was off had to be corrected in post.
As you watch the video, note that only about 50% of the shots are actually of the band playing Raw Power. The other 50% are snippets of them playing other songs that we cut in and “synced” to the music. This was a delicate and time consuming process. We sped clips up, slowed clips down, and even played clips backwards to create the illusion that it was all from one performance. In the end I am very pleased with the finished product and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Our newest music video, which should be released soon, is for a different band, but made under similar circumstances. A few of the band members have recently helped me out on other projects, so I was excited to put together a video for them. We recorded two separate appearances at a bar in Chandler where the band was playing to raise money for local animal shelters (click here to help). Again, we only used one camera to film the events, so I had to run all over the place to capture the action. However, we were fortunate enough to film the band playing the song three different times over the two evenings. Moreover, the drummer kept the beat nearly perfectly in time with the studio recording of the song. This made the post process much smoother. We had to “cheat” a lot less. The biggest issue we ran into was that the video was shot on two different nights. This meant that there were obvious wardrobe and lighting changes between them. You will be able to see the differences in the finished video, but I think we did pretty well at keeping it from becoming distracting.
Thank you for reading. I hope this has given you a little insight into the process that we went through to make these videos. I also hope it gave you a little insight into myself and my thoughts on music and filmmaking. For information about Red Llama Productions’ event videography services or to have us make a music video for you, please contact us at email@example.com or by phone at 480.269.7389.
Red Llama Productions