This is my first attempt at shooting a music video. I did not see the story boards or visit the shooting locations until the day of the shoot. The entire thing was shot within two blocks of the Worcester Union Train Station (Massachusetts) in 8 hours. I was planning on using the Sony PMW-EX1 and the Letus Ultimate, but I am glad I brought a second camera with me after the sun went down.

I decided to use the Canon 5Dmk2 DSLR camera because the director, Torey Champagne, wanted this shot in available light and with very shallow depth of field. I found it a challenge because “available light” in certain locations really meant, “no light”. I come from a television camera background where the biggest image sensor is 2/3 of an inch. It would be ridiculous to add 18dB gain into a television camera and expect usable results, but this camera is different. The Canon 5dmk2 sensor is much larger, that of a 35mm digital cinema camera. People across the internet are pushing the low light capabilities with this rig, so what the hell. Maybe it would be possible just to shoot it guerrilla style like this, after all, we were going for a grungy music video look.

Instead of me using my better judgment and telling Torey that it would be impossible to shoot in these locations without the help of a one ton grip truck and several people, I decided to take the Canon 5dmk2 and shoot at the dreaded ISO 6400. Not all the shots were at this nutty super high gain setting, just some of them. At this insane level of video amplification, I found noise and a bunch of dead pixels reared their ugly red eyes. In fact, whilst shooting at 6400 with a Nikon 55mm f1.2 prime lens, I said to one of the band members, “this is like shooting night vision!”

I used the Glidecam to shoot all the city shots with the band members/actress. I found pulling focus impossible to do whilst shooting so I just keep a specific distance between the film plane and the subject as I tracked them with the Glidecam. You will only find a couple focus pulls in this video. I later (or earlier in the morning) used Vinten tripods and my home made PVC dolly system during the music performance inside Union Station.

Take a moment for the video to load below and see for yourself. This camera is changing the way I look at a shoot location. It was simply amazing that the camera was even able to make exposure with little noise at the top of an dark parking garage or empty city alley without additional lighting.

The Worcester Massachusetts band is called, “Sleep Alive” and this track is titled, “Put it on my tab”. Torey Champagne directed and edited the video. This video is copyright Torey Champagne Productions.

Sleep Alive
For info, music, show dates, and more visit SLEEP ALIVE on MySpace and Facebook.

Use the comment box below to ask specific questions and let me know what you think. There was a behind the scenes doc crew (struggling with the low light conditions!) shooing with a Panasonic HVX-200. I hope to get that footage soon to post to this site.