Professional grade cameras these days have HD video, so many photographers are tinkering with video-making. I’m not much of a tinker-er though, so when my champion-fiddler Hunny, Vi Wickam, and his band, The Whiskey Chickens, needed a music video, I dove in. I’m definitely a “Ready-Fire-Aim” kind of girl. So, I took a $250 film-making class, and deemed myself ready. This was September of 2012.
I created a shot-list, that poured out of my head while listening to the song. Did I mention the song is a country-fried cover of Adele’s Someone Like You?? It’s amazing… and I don’t even like country music! Anyway, shot-list made… and then I thought shooting some of these scenes with my fancy camera would be kinda rough… How about we shoot the whole thing on the iPhone?? They have HD video these days, and I generally LOVE what the iPhone does with crazy light situations.
So, iPhones in hand, we got the band together at Paul’s house on a perfect fall day and shot what I thought would be the whole video. But not… See, the window of opportunity with men is only slightly longer than it is with kids. Photographing kids, I have about an hour during which I have their attention and they think it’s fun. I had about 2 with the band. Then I had to start filming them separately so the rest of them could have a beer and chat. Then they started dropping off and I got all my wacky shots of Paul’s cat, ceiling fan, jars of coins, etc.
I went home and started editing and putting the shots together. And I discovered that the video has to move a lot faster than the pictures in my head moved. In other words, what I thought could be a 10-second clip had to be cut to 3 seconds or it got boring. Suddenly, I didn’t have enough footage. Now I wanted dancing to add in. Country dancing, cowboy hats, line-dancing… like that scene from Glee of Will and Beast. Vi got on the phone with local country bars to find a place we could play the song and film people dancing. No one got back to him, except for one saloon in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Ok, we got Paul and my friends from Avaiya for some extra camera support and drove to Wyoming. Let me tell you about this saloon… First, smoking is allowed inside. Ick! But we’ll suck it up for art, right? Second, it was 7pm and empty. The manager promised us that around 10pm the place would be hoppin.’ So we waited. And waited. And by 10pm there were maybe 20 people in this 4000 square foot saloon… and 2 inebriated teenagers on the dance floor. And no cowboy hats. Vi and Paul got in with the house band for a couple songs just for kicks… and around 11pm we finally left. Well, that was a bust.
Ok, never mind the grand country dancing scene I had imagined. How about we just get two people dancing in the barn? Can we do that? Sure. We have a great guy dancer, Richard, and he teaches at Colorado State University, so he’ll rope in a cute student to dance with him for the video. Sounds easy enough, right? Girl 1 had a kid and rescheduled 3 times on us. Girl 2 didn’t show up. Girl 3 didn’t really know how to dance, but she came on time and looked the part. We’ll roll with that.
But then I still needed more footage… And now it’s winter. I figured, if it’s going to look barren gray, we should film when it’s snowing. So Paul got a phone call one afternoon. Can I come for an hour and film more? And that’s when I shot all the snowy scenes.
It’s been like 8 months now and in the meantime, The Whiskey Chickens played concerts which my friends at Avaiya filmed just to have concerts filmed. So I pulled in some concert footage.
Then you have to line up the video with the song… so that Paul’s mouth actually looks right and the drumming drums to the music etc. And the computer glitches out because you have like 100 video clips loaded. AND THEN, in August, I had the major hard drive loss of 2013. Most of my stuff was backed up THANK GOD. While we still had all the clips we filmed, and we had one exported file of the whole video… but the Premiere project file was lost. And the thought of re-creating the whole thing just about made me cry. At this point, I kinda deemed the whole thing a total loss. I was done.
Last month, January 2014, Ike from Avaiya asked about that video. I said all I had was the rough export and I wasn’t going to re-create the whole thing. He watched the video and said it was great… a shame to not get finished. And he offered to cut in and clean up the couple of spots that were out of sync. I was like Eeyore about it… “Ho hum. If you really think you can do anything with it, go ahead.” But he did cut in some stuff and put a little color filter on the video and it looked so good… almost perfect. And I got excited again. I didn’t think of pulling in the export whole video as one clip and working with it like that!! So, within a couple weeks Vi and I got the major kinks fixed and put that baby out into the world!! I only took a year and a half, but better late than never!