Gregory Harrington's Oblivion
For the third time in 2 years, Site B Studios has worked with Gregory Harrington on a creating a music video. We connected way back in August 2017 when he asked us to work on his first music video “Hallelujah.”
After finishing up his second video with us, “Emmanuel,” Harrington began discussing his ideas for a third music video, “Oblivion.”
All the music videos are being made to support Harrington’s upcoming album of covers which pays homage to legendary trumpet player Miles Davis with the album entitled “Without You.”
For Oblivion, Harrington wanted to showcase the full performance of the band—piano, drums, bass, and violin.
In the previous music videos, Harrington was featured as a solo artist or along side a pianist, but now having a full band to behind him, Site B was now faced with new challenge.
For this production, Harrington wanted a different “vibe,” using the Police’s “Every Breath you take” music video as a reference.
The space where we would eventually shoot, was a dark enclosed environment. Perfect for what we wanted to do visually. The plan was to create a look of high contrast lighting and deep dark shadows. Since we were using the Police’s video as a starting point, it would make it easier to get things going but we also began to discuss how we could make it our own.
We planned on using a mixture of static and smooth movements to create a visual language. The camera would glide in and out of the action, capturing the performers as they played.
For this video, we used a new piece of equipment for the studio—Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. From the first day it arrived, we were excited to try the camera out on a full video shoot. With the pocket with filmed in full 4K DCI, in 23.978 and 60p. For our second camera, we used a Sony A7rII.
Because the size of the SONY camera—compact— we kept this one primarily on the DJI Ronin S gimbal. making it much easier to go back and forth between cameras.
Since the Pocket 4k was so new, I didn’t have a chance to pick up an external battery. So the temporary solution was to pretty much stay plugged into the room’s primary power source for the entire shoot. We were pleasantly surprised by the functionality of the camera and the fantastic images it was able to produce. In post, we were able to match both cameras easily.
One of the hardest aspects for this video shoot was finding a space that would suit the style we were going for. Eventually, Gregory was able to secure a location at the Triskelion Arts venue in Brooklyn, NY.— it’s known as the Black Box theater.
The location that Gregory found was perfect, and we knew we were able to create the “blacked” out space that we needed for this shoot.
Using LED panels, we were able to produce that exact look we were hoping for. We used a set of DRACAST LED soft panels that were also bi-color.
Using a set of four, it provided the light we needed in each setup, yet were mobile enough to move around without entirely breaking them down.
On the day of the shoot, we were able to set up pretty quick and get started right away. We first shot everything with Gregory and the band, making sure capture every angle that we could.
The essential blocking of the day would be setting up the band in a position at the center of the room. It was important to have the main master shot blocked entirely. It would allow us to move around more comfortable and get the close-ups to match. We spent the rest of the shoot focused on Gregory’s solo shots.
We kept the lighting pretty much the same throughout, side lighting from both ends to give a distinct look that would ultimately match from every angle.
A shot that came to us on the day was one that would be the most visually inciting. A crane movement using the Ronin S. I was still able to achieve this by standing on the chair and using the gimbal facing downward. By moving the gimbal up and down, I was able to achieve that crane like maneuver. We used this technique for the pianist and the drummer, which worked really well.
We began around 8 a.m. all the way past noon, and it only took an hour to pack everything up.
For this shoot, we streamlined every part of the process and doing prep work before the shoot really helped with that. We created a shot list, but I knew that we would be working to come up with shots on the day. Those are usually the ones that end up being the most interesting (the crane shot.)
At the end of the day, we were able to execute and capture the exact mood and feel we planned for. While also trying and experimenting with fitting the overall feel of the video.
We look forward to working with Gregory on many more music videos in the very near future.