August last year, I got to produce and direct a live multi-cam music video for the incredible Mr. Cody Carnes' new project and his debut song, "The Cross Has the Final Word." 
Cody's been a friend of mine for quite some time and I love working with him. So I was thrilled to be able to capture such an awesome night and such a killer song. We had a pretty small budget, but I still wanted to be able to make it look like a million bucks. Hoping this offers a little insight to how we got there.

Before getting into gear talk, the only thing that can really bring a video like this to life properly is a good camera crew. And I happened to get the best of the best. The cam op team that showed up to volunteer on this was absolutely incredible - Paul and Kelsie Anderson, Jefte Campos, Paul Trimble, Jonathan Mendoza, Drew Pendleton, Cody Strout, and Chris Verner. These guys are not only some of my best friends, but each of them brought something really valuable to the final cut.

There were a couple other factors that really helped make this project shine on a budget. First, I can't say it hurt to be able to film in American Airlines Center - a nearly sold out 18k seat arena in Dallas during the summer leg of the Outcry tour. But second, the beauty of this project was that, while we thought we may only have one shot at capturing the song that night, we actually ended up having 4 shots - 3 takes in rehearsal and 1 take live. This allowed us to get on stage for some angles that would have been impossible during the show.  And then during the show, we got all the angles that would have been impossible during rehearsal (capturing the tight/wide crowd shots, wide dolly, dirty hero shot, etc)



Ok back to gear. Here was the breakdown of what we worked with:

7x C100
Canon + Sigma Lenses with Black Pro-Mist 1/8
DJI Ronin
24' Doorway Dolly
3x Easyrig

I ended up selecting the C100 as our weapon of choice because I knew that I wanted to be able to capture as many angles as possible (especially with the potential of only getting 1 take). Being that it was also the easiest on the budget, I knew it would be a good choice financially. And, that said, it really is a really killer camera for setups like this. I knew that dynamic range wasn't quite as big of an issue because I like the relatively high-contrast look that concert lighting typically provides. Additionally, I wanted to be able to have the option of easy single-operator gimbal work. The autofocus feature of the updated C100 is perfect for this.



Below is a breakdown of how we went about the 4 takes (plus a bonus take with a smaller crew)

1 - 70-200 Handheld - Cody
2 - 85 Handheld - Cody
3 - 18-35 on Ronin - Drums
4 - 70-200 Handheld - Keys
5 - 24-70 Handheld - Bass/Violin
6 - 70-200 on Doorway Dolly - Cody
7 - 18-35 - Electric Guitar


1 - 70-200 Handheld - Cody
2 - 85 Handheld - Cody
3 - 18-35 on Ronin - Cody
4 - 70-200 Handheld - Keys
5 - 24-70 Handheld - Bass/Violin
6 - 70-200 on Doorway Dolly - Cody
7 - 18-35 - Electric Guitar


1 - 70-200 Handheld
2 - 70-200 Handheld
3 - 85 Handheld

1 - 70-200 Handheld - Cody
2 - 70-200 Handheld - Cody
3 - 18-35 - Behind Drums
4 - 70-200 Handheld - Behind Keys
5 - 24-70 Handheld - Behind Bass/Violin
6 - 35 - Mid-Room house left
7 - 18-35 - Wide back of the room


With 28 different angles between all the takes, I created proxies and edited in Premiere's multicam editor. Nothing too special here. 

But something good to note, I think some of my favorite moments are from shots that, out of context, feel ridiculously shaky or unstable - almost like reset moments between solid shots. I'm learning to not be afraid of those - especially during high energy musical moments. They seem to compliment each other nicely.



All in all this was one of my favorite projects of 2016. Hope you enjoy the final product! 
Also, go buy this song on iTunes asap. 

Ezra CohenComment