After several years of photographing indie bands in London’s Camden Town, the drift into video was inevitable as Canon added video functionality to their professional line-up with the Canon 1-D Mk III. In what was intended to do just some test shots of what the camera could do in low-light conditions, ultimately became a quintessential music video of the band Bo Ningen before they left the pub-club circuit and headed for the concert arenas.
A key part to any music video is identifying start talent and making sure that it’s situated at the end of your lens. I’d seen Bo Ningen play before and knew that it would be a pretty electric performance and that the guys give nothing less than 110%. Eschewing complicated rigs and dollies, restrained handheld filming can communicate an atmosphere without drawing attention to itself. In short:
Sometimes simple is just best. Depending on the feel and the look you’re going for it can just boil down to the right choice of lens and being able to read the both light and crowd right on the night.
In this video there are two characters: the band and the crowd – and in terms of creating a palpable ambience both are essential and needed to figure largely in the final edit.
This video was edited in the lobby of a Hong Kong hotel as I had to fly out there shortly afterwards. Creating proxies (i.e. low resolution duplicates) I was able to cut the footage together on my MacBook Pro quite quickly. The audio distorts more than I would like, however as anybody who’s ever been to Bo Ningen gig will tell you, distortion is an integral part of their sound. So, whilst I had a studio version of the track I could have dubbed over or done a partial mix, it would have robbed the pub atmosphere of the George Tavern.