Earlier this year we sponsored Enigma Music Events ‘Battle of the Bands’ for the winner to get a music video produced by our company. The winners were North West Hard Rock Band Massive Wagons. Today they released the video on their You Tube Channel.
We met with the band to talk about what they wanted and give our advice on what style would suit their band. Given that their image was a no nonsense hard rock band with influences that included AC/DC, Airbourne, Thunder, Motorhead, Black Stone Cherry and Motley Crue we didn’t feel that a narrative based music video would suit.
So we suggested a straight, no nonsense performance music video that would well play to their image…
Now we were faced with how to capture the essence of the band in a straight, no nonsense way.
1. The Track: “Death From Above”
The track was a fantastic, rollicking rock song with an amazing guitar solo and plenty of attitude. The lyrics gave us a lot of material to work with.
Tearin’ through the clouds, ripping through the sky, gunning for a fight,
Red hot runnin’, fire in your eyes, hell is in sight.
Throttle to the stops, theres thunder raining down, giving it the enemy,
Rock that rock, roll that roll set the place alight
Death From Above, the hammer is down, the levers are down
Death From Above, the sky’s filled with fear, the target is clear
Death From Above, you better run for cover, God won’t help you brother
Death From Above
Terror from the sky, they’re giving it hard and coming in fast,
Line em up straight, squeeze that trigger, feel that blast.
Tearing in half, to death or glory, I raise my hand,
Just doing my duty, ‘rockin’ tuti fruti’, ain’t life grand.
Charlie Red leader, please take me to see her,
In the back of my mind, will I feel her again?
I hear the lord calling, please take me away,
Please take me to see her, cos death’s on her way.
2. The Performance
Every video needs a narrative even a performance video. I have always loved the simplicity of jamming/practice sessions and thought this would fit the band’s image really well.
3. The Twist
You have to build towards something in a music video. One of my favourite scenes is from Back to the Future when Marty McFly plugs in his guitar to Doc Brown’s giant amp, cranking the volume to maximum and being blown across the room.
I thought this would fit Massive Wagons!
4. The Concept
So now tying all the elements together we had a simple concept:
“Massive Wagons, in a practice session in an abandoned building play so hard and so loud they bring down the ceiling.”
This worked as it suited the bands image and strap line: “HARD ROCK – ORIGINAL AND COVER SONGS – PLAYED LIVE AND VERY LOUD – BOOK US NOW FOR SOME DE-ROOFING” as well as being a little ironic in that the song title was “Death from Above”.
(Originally we were going to source some stock footage of a building being demolished… decided that might be too much!)
5. The Filming
We filmed in one day on the third floor of the Storey Creative Industries Centre… on a weekend so as not to disturb the residents, we’d seen Massive Wagons live and knew they lived up to their banter. The space was fantastic as not only did it have character but it used to be the art school and had plenty of light. We used one camera to capture the shots following the shot list I had worked out.
This shot list was timed out to fit the track and included specific shots I knew we needed (such as the ceiling) and coverage shots of Massive Wagons doing their thing. This ensured we had plenty of shots to choose from when it came to editing.
We encountered two major problems when filming. The band were too loud for them to hear the track from the speakers despite muting the drums with tape and cloth. We managed to solve this by hooking up the monitor speaker so the band could hear the track. The second problem was the vibrations from the band were shaking the camera! This was solved by using rugs and towels to dampen the vibrations from below and me holding the camera down!
6. The Editing
We first synched the wide shots to the music. We found at this point that the drummer was speeding up and slowing down so we not only used the clapper board to sync but also the lead singer’s foot(!).
We inter cut the closer shots to match with the music. Once we had that done we started on the special effects. There are four main effects used.
1. Camera shake, ironically we put this in later. We increased the shake throughout the video… it really steps up with the guitar solo
2. The ceiling cracks. These were added in two parts, the first was an animation, the second a texture beneath
3. The dust. This was an effect added in at certain points to tie the cracks to the wider shots
4. The camera static. With this much ‘noise’ it made sense to add the static
We then did colour correction, brightening faces and washing out the picture slightly.
Be great to get some feedback in the comments below, it shows you don’t have to go outside the North West for a music video. Recommend you check out Massive Wagons!