Samantha Marais – Real Life (music video)

This is my first narrative music video, from a concept developed by Samantha and me. We filmed it entirely in Bristol one Saturday afternoon/evening (apart from the timelapse sunset which I shot the week before). We intend to do videos for all the songs on the album, joining them in a single story but that may take awhile!

Gear: Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/1.4 L, 50mm f/1.4, 24-105mm f/4 IS L, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L lenses, Zacuto Z-Finder, Steadicam Merlin, LitePanels MicroPro, FaderND, and a tripod with fluid head. I edited it in Premiere Pro CS4 on my PC.

I’ve been practising with the Steadicam Merlin over the last few weeks but this was the first time I used it to lead/follow someone. It works well but it does need practice to control it – I tried some shots from across the street, as if a passerby was watching Samantha busking, but I couldn’t control it smoothly, especially as it was quite windy. For all my Steadicam shots I was using the 24-105mm lens at 24mm and f/8 or something – you can’t pull focus while on the rig so you need a reasonable amount of depth of field.

I like to shoot wide open (e.g. f/1.4) as often as possible which means some sort of neutral density filter is required. I use the FaderND (2-8 stops darker) which works very well but at the start of the shoot, even with a bit of high cloud, there was too much light – there’s another version of the FaderND which goes from 9-12 stops darker so I’ll need to get that.

I was intrigued that we didn’t attract any attention while shooting in the centre of Bristol on a busy Saturday afternoon. I assume that my camera just looked like a photo camera so people didn’t realise we were shooting video. I wasn’t using a mic, and the shots at the beginning (in the harbour area near the Watershed) are all handheld so I didn’t need a tripod.