YOUTUBE vs. REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE
Back in April, I got to be a Production Assistant on Wifisfuneral and Jay Jay Critch’s “Knots” music video. This was the first time working on a real music video set outside of what I do when I’m working with my clients. This shoot alone changed my perspective on what filmmaking is about. I mean you can watch all the YouTube videos you want, read all of the books that you want, sometimes even film all of your own stuff. But you won’t fully grasp something until you see an example of how things are done properly in real life. It’s a different vibe.
Let me explain. One of the things that changed my perspective on things is the teamwork. Teamwork literally does make the dream work. We hear this all the time, we should know this, but when you’re an independent filmmaker with limited resources you tend to wear many hats and I’ve watched a lot of people like us stick with all those hats forever. My first time walking onto the set I was amazed by how the director was actually just directing and only picking up the camera if he wanted too. Everyone around him knew what they were doing so there was nothing he had to worry about.
“I see you”; “Oh shit that’s Jay Crutch”. The artists were cool as hell. Mad calm. They knew they came to shoot a music video and that’s all they were worried about. I feel like in
their head it was like,
“Let’s get these shots and go home” they weren’t rushing anyone but you can tell they came to work… but everyone had a good time. I saved the BTS Instagram stories to my Instagram stories highlights, if you want to see them follow my Instagram @TheCinematicHitman.
I learned for real that lighting is king! SET BUILDING IS KING! That is what separates our low budget videos from the big budget ones. You can see these YouTubers doing their thing and talking about lighting and stuff. But lighting in music videos is not just about lighting the subject, its all about the glamour too. The light is almost like its own subject that complements both the models and the artist. It makes all the difference.
We had a huge empty space to work with. I think it was a sound stage where musicians can go and record their music for bands and stuff. It was wide open and we were able to set up many different sets in that one room with different lighting setups.
For one of the shots we had three models all hacking stuff on their computers. To give it a techy, futuristic vibe we had bar lights on a C Stand and in order for us to hide these silver reflective C Stands we used duvetyne (Black Cloth) and wrapped it around. It made
it appear as though the bars were floating when you look at it through the camera. Never have I seen that in a YouTube video for a lighting set up. Lighting for music videos is its own art. It’s a matter of being creative and knowing exactly what look you want.
The director also gave each model their own closeup so that he can cut away to them as B-Roll in post. The models also had their own glamour light and it looked beautiful! It
wasn’t placed in the final video but it was still very beautiful!
Working on the set for this video was honestly an eye-opening/life-changing experience. Watching the director being surrounded by other talented individuals was super inspiring! The take away from all of that day was that lighting is important and having a team is the only real way you will get work done.
Before this day, I remember being in a dark place where I felt like as a filmmaker I was stuck. I love my craft but I kept feeling like maybe it would never work. Then I get offered this gig with this talented team that’s from the same state as me. It was inspiring. In that one day alone I learned much more than I could have just sitting at home taking notes on YouTube. YouTube is not bad but we can get tricked into thinking we’re moving forward and making progress. That’s another topic for another day.
If you believe in your craft, your skills and continue to get stronger, things will work out. I’m trying to remind myself that all the time. WE NEED TO FIND PEOPLE THAT THINK LIKE US SO THAT WE DON’T THINK WE’RE CRAZY!
Here is a gallery of BTS footage from the shoot:
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Owner, Founder, Director, Editor Producer of Kaylex Productions.
Full-Time freelance filmmaker from New Jersey.