A look at how we shot the video for Lauren Joyanne's Operatic Vocal Reel.
This video for Lauren Joyanne Music was the result of a few months planning (interrupted by Covid 19), and close collaboration between myself, Lauren and Nathan at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
Lauren’s brief was, on the face of it, quite simple. “I want it to look like ‘Never Enough‘, sung by the character Jenny Lind in ‘The Greatest Showman‘ but without an audience…
I watched that scene through and as great as it is, the theatre is very dark, there’s a lot of cutaways to other characters as Rebecca Ferguson sings, and anyway – I didn’t want to just copy someone else’s work, I needed to make it individual to Lauren and what’s more, with fours songs to showcase, try to find a way within out time limit to give each song an individual look too…
So we set about finding a suitable venue, Googling theatres all over the UK to find the right look. Lincoln Theatre Royal and Wolverhampton Grand were the two we chose and by virtue of the fact Lincoln didn’t respond in August probably because of Covid , we were left with Wolverhampton. And what an excellent choice it was. The theatre manager Nathan understood exactly what we needed, and a date was arranged. Our techie for the day was Adam, and he went above and beyond, spending over an hour re-focussing lights outward rather than at the stage, so the majesty of the venue was beautifully lit.
On stage, as well as the starcloth provided ny the theatre, I wanted just three lights behind Lauren but not too bright – just enough to help produce some lens flares and to add some definition to her hair – and so I swapped out the bulbs in my Arrilite 800’s down to 100 watt and positioned them accordingly and added two 300 watt Elinchrom Scanlites at the very front to add an extra fill to the auditorium.
We had just six hours in the venue after hair and make up was dealt with. I used that time to rig my camera crane, set the tripods, my lighting and slider, gimbal and so on, Adam had reset all his lights, we were left with four hours to film. I knew in advance this would roughly be the case and had drawn up a plan of where I wanted cameras positioned, tight shots and wide, what opening shot, what closing shot and how to not repeat anything unnecessarily.
Lauren wanted a dress change for the two middle songs, which added another layer of complexity but in the end I simply did seven takes of the whole medley in one outfit, broke for lunch and reset for another seven takes in the second outfit twin camera, leaving me with twenty eight angles to stitch together in the edit later.
On all takes I had both Sony A7sii’s running, one tight shot, one wide, other than for the gimbal shots. As usual I used the twin head on my jib to achieve my trademark shots with both cameras running together and controlled remotely via the Sony Imaging Edge Mobile app running on a pair of DJI Crystalsky monitors. Because the app prevents use of any Picture Profiles (somewhat oddly, I feel), everything was filmed in standard flat mode and at 50 frames in 1080. Lenses used were Sony 12-24 f4 G Master, Sony 16-35 f4 and Sony 24-240 f3.5.
Once we were done, and back at home the edit began and I had the first cut done within around ten hours. I shared it with Lauren to make sure everything was to her satisfaction in a synchronous sense and then went about trying to give a subtle ‘look’ to each song with the use of colour tools etc within Sony Vegas. After probably another ten or fifteen hours tweaking looks, making minor cuts and shot changes we had the final product.
I’m extremely pleased with the final cut – I think we achieved a wonderful result. I’m also proud to share a quote from the card I received from Lauren a few days after delivery..
“Thank you for producing an opera vocal reel of literal DREAMS”
Basic Equipment list –
- Sony A7s ii x 2
- Hague K-12 Jib with Kessler Revolution V1 Head and Oracle Controller
- DJI CrystalSky Control Monitor / Tablet x 2
- Sony FE 24 – 240mm F/3.5 Lens
- Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens
- Sony SEL1635Z Vario-Tessar FE 16-35mm F/4
- Libec Tripods x 2
- Glidetrack 1m Camera Slider
- 2 x Elinchrom 800w Scanlites
- 3 x Arrilite 800w Lights
- DJI Ronin SC Camera Gimbal
- Artist – Lauren Joyanne Music
- Make Up – Naomi Mckeever
- Venue – Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
- Hair – Deco Hairdressing
BTS Images courtesy of Will Roden and Deco Hair