With things easing from lockdown on 12 April, it has been good to hear of musical life picking up a bit and, in that spirit, I was glad to be asked by Lucy Grubb to film a music video for a single (You Don’t Do Anything) from her upcoming next EP release. Lucy is a Norfolk-based country and Americana singer/songwriter, who has been carving out a name for herself and her band, not least at various music festivals.
In this case the music was pre-recorded in the studio, so it was the usual case of miming to the track. When I say usual, I think I’ve only done one like this before, so it was a fun exercise for me, from planning through to editing. The idea (which fitted the theme of the song) was to have Lucy moving forwards continually throughout the video, passing through or past the band members (Kevin Burton, Piers Hunt, Richard Poynton, Richard Ward and Paul Weston), with locations – all around Norwich – changing fairly frequently.
So it was a lot of backward-tracking camerawork. I tested out the old wheelchair as dolly idea (think of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless), but, while doubtless fine for smooth-floored interiors, it was clear it wouldn’t be one for pavements or, even, cobbled streets, so I stopped being lazy and used a gimbal (a Zhiyun Crane v2). Eschewing my Meike T2 cinema lens-based rig with follow-focus, I went for the lighter Leica Lumix 12-60mm on my Lumix G9, using autofocus just to lock on focus for each shot (but not to track focus) and avoided any wafer-thin depth-of-field shots. I’m not sure what the serious pros use for playback of the audio track, but we managed fine with a linked pair of Bluetooth speakers: one by the camera and Lucy, and one by the band. Loud enough, especially for early on a Sunday morning (dodging the post-lockdown shopping throngs). Despite my rust, all went well on the shoot last weekend, not least thanks to two helpers (good to have band members old enough to have teenage offspring), and with the weather settling down to the hoped-for grey sky with enough wind to give (guitarist) Richard Poynton’s long Covid hair sufficient movement… I edited in Vegas, giving it a fairly heavy grade tied into the muted colours of the band and, indeed, the locations (see pics).
You can play the song on Spotify and here’s the finished video: