The Black Bear Saloon Music Video

It’s all about the lighting!

I was approached by the drummer of The Black Bear Saloon, Mike Barr, at a wedding show a few months back. He had seen my work before on my website and he asked if I would like to direct and film a music video for their track ‘Face The Future’. I needed one for my portfolio so I lept at the chance. Once home, I navigated to their MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/theblackbearsaloon and listened to the track and a few others featured on the site. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting the band to be that good, I was pleasantly surprised and I instantly became a fan of the tracks featured, especially ‘Face The Future’.

Mike had an idea in his head and he had drawn up a storyboard of the basic content and structure of the story. I liked the idea and took it away to write up the screenplay and beef out the story. I felt the video needed scenes that stood out, so I introduced a few controversial moments and a nice twist at the end. Once the screenplay was locked down, I began writing up the pre-production notes. This is was when we started realising how big this project was going to be. The prop list was written and we managed to secure perfect venues (The Ballyboley Inn and the Limelight especially) Once everything was finalised and the lads completed numerous costume checks, I planned the shoot over an ambitious 1 and 1/2 days.

The Friday Shoot

We arrived at the Ballyboley Inn and met the very welcoming landlord. The bar was only open on a Fri and Sat night so this suited us. It was a drizzle rain at this stage so I wasn’t too worried. We began to set up the production gear and the lads from the band went to pick up the two key vehicles that were to feature in the music video, Mike’s beloved Mustang Shelby GT500 and his VW Camper Van. After numerous equipment checks and rehearsals with the lead actress, Moyah Lavery, we sat and waited for the return of the band members. Mike called explaining that they were going to be late back as Aaron, the lead singer, had filled the wrong fuel in one of the cars and it would have to be towed back to the garage. You can plan a production schedule to the minute detail but there are things which are just out of your control! Once the lads finally returned, we began shooting the first scenes. The rain increased and I began covering the lighting and camera equipment with umbrellas- not good! I remember standing in the entrance to the bar, looking out into the heavy rain and fog- it was decision time and I hadn’t even squared away four scenes yet. Do we go or do we stay? I knew deep down that this was the only opportunity we had  to get this done. I grabbed a light stand and received a small electric shot down my left arm. Ok, the lighting equipment had to be moved inside and dried out, it was starting to get a bit dangerous. I was now faced with no lighting and the camera equipment was slowly becoming very damp! Lighting was something which was rammed into your head in film school and without it, I had nothing! It was then that I noticed the car park had a floodlight and I got the lads to position cars so the lights from the vehicles were lighting the set. This proved to be a good move and we could now finish and film the remaining scenes for the evening. Rick, my camera operator and DOP,who was using the Canon 5D Mark II managed to capture this scene using the ‘cuffed’ lighting set up explained before: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29988157@N05/4164022133/

The Saturday Shoot

We arrived at the Limelight and went straight into the production. The day shoot had to be tight as the majority of the scenes had to be done by the evening! We welcomed Carrie Davenport http://www.carriedavenport.com/on set who was a friend of the band and began taking a selection of BTS photographs (She also got dressed up as a Bear at one stage, so I was happy she was around for that scene). After a few dodgy looks from the Limelight staff and members of the public, we finished and got out just in time before the bands started setting up for the evening gigs. I’ve never prayed for rain so much in my life! For continuity reasons obviously! We arranged to meet at the KFC in Larne, for a dirty feed and to film the car and driving scenes. In an ideal world, the locations would be within a 1 mile radius of each other, but not this case. The rain began to pour, I was happy and I had remembered my waterproof trousers this time! Once the car footage was captured, timing was already slipping. We returned the vehicles to Mike’s garage and I decided to film additional scenes at this location rather than move on to the last one 20 minutes away. The heavens opened up even more, morale was slowly draining from everybody. 3 scenes to go. . . . it wasn’t going to happen! We finished the shoot and decided to arrange a time the following week to finish the project off.

The Final Shoot

By re arranging the film shoot to a different day we managed to find an even better location for the forest chase scenes in the script. Was it worth carrying the heavy generator up the hill to the forest? Of course it was, as we managed to bring all of our lighting equipment with us: It’s all about the lighting folks! I must admit, the chase scenes came out more scary than I previously envisioned. The last scenes were completed at the Band’s abandoned practice house and gave me and my lighting guy, Richie, a chance to get dressed up as a Bear and start smashing stuff up. All scenes were now done and everybody was happy.

The Equipment

This was only the second time we had used the Canon 5D Mark II camera on a film shoot. I, like many wannabe film makers, once contemplated getting the 35mm adapters and lenses for my HD camcorder. After the results that this camera has produced, especially in the low light, extreme weather and temperatures that we faced, I will now be  concentrating all of my time and energy on building up my production kit around the Canon 5D Mark II. I am lucky to be working with an excellent DOP, Rick Trainor from Red Sky Photography http://www.redskyni.com/ and family and friends who are willing to sacrifice their time for me. Without them, I would have nothing!

‘Goldie’ The Black Bear Saloon’s next Music Video will be ready by the end of January 2010. A teaser trailer will be released before Christmas, produced by Scattered Images Video Production http://www.scatteredimages.co.uk/

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2 Responses to “The Black Bear Saloon Music Video”

  1. Congratulations to Mart and all involved int he making of the video, it is much anticipated and i really can’t wait to see my little sister in law in action. Well done everyone, bring it on!!! We’re in for a big surprise!

  2. Very enjoyable read – the perils of production always make for interesting stories!

    Looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

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