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The Recipe Shoot - 5 Things We Learnt

Posted: September 23 2015

When you’re sitting at the cutting edge, there is no map...no rulebook… no guideline. The learning curve is steep and there are a million mistakes to be made. However, we continue down this path of discovery driven by our passion for our craft.

We recently completed our first 360 degree music video. The idea was always pretty simple, to shoot a 360 video that not only gave the viewer a round view of the environment, but also to add in a narrative factor that would draw the eyes of the audience around the circle, therefore creating a completely immersive story on film.

Although simple on paper, we came across many challenges that were really quite new to us. No one has ever really tried anything like this, so we were hitting teething problems that we didn't even know existed.

We want to share some of our knowledge with you - ‘cause the struggle is real.

Here are 5 Things we learnt whilst shooting our 360 music video for “The Recipe”.

1. You have to hide everything.

Due to the fact that we were shooting in 360 everything can be seen.

Everything.

There is no fourth wall for the crew to hide behind.

Shooting in a small studio made this easier, surrounded by a curtain, the set was easy to isolate. Yet, due to all of the lighting and the camera stands themselves we still had quite a lot to hide.

Rather than fight it, we did what many of the greats before us did. We leaned into it.

We found that the easiest way to hide equipment was to not hide it at all. The lights quickly became part of the set, merging into the almost industrial set that we had designed.

The light stands previously mentioned where another problem. Due to the fact that they were so close to the camera they were very difficult to hide. We ended up overlapping the shots that were being taken between cameras, through the use of multiple shots we were able to hide the stand and create an almost floating effect with the camera rig.

 2. GoPro’s are not always that reliable.

Everyone and their dog has a GoPro.  The brand prides itself on being a camera that can be taken into any scenario, a camera that can be dropped from planes and driven over by tanks.

We still believe in this statement, however,  although the camera can take many pushes and punches, it doesn't do so well in a nice safe environment.

We had numerous problems with the GoPro’s which to be honest, we didn't expect from such a hardy camera. First of all, every so often the cameras would just stop recording. This was a real pain as the video was a one shot job, if your two minutes in, everything is going swimmingly, then the camera cuts, people tend to get annoyed.

Secondly, and more commonly known, is the battery life problem. Due to the rig being so specific to the job, and the fact that the camera can see everything. We couldn't afford to wire up the cameras. This meant that we were constantly running on battery power.

Not only do the batteries seem to have a life of their own, but they also seem to hold a grudge against a) good shots, and b) rappers in general.

In the end, this was something we just had to live with, changing the batteries every few takes. Especially annoying as the battery compartment was not accessible without completely derigging the cameras.

3) Rehearsal is Everything

Our cast consisted of a few rappers, a pinch of B-Boy and a DJ Death. Not many cast in the grand scheme of things. Yet, as mentioned earlier, this was a one shot shoot.

We had been rehearsing for several weeks, hoping that on the day everything would go smoothly.

Although we had a few hiccups here and there, which was inevitable, the rehearsal really payed off. It really got us thinking how rehearsal is such a key part of a shoot like this.

For example, if the cast wasn't ready for their take, this meant more takes, more batteries, more hiding, and more work in general, which of course we didn't want.

4) An On-Site Animation/ Editing Team is Clutch.

Throughout the shoot, one of the main problems that we had was storage. We only had 64gb cards in the GoPro's, meaning that at pretty much every take we needed to offload the footage. Mix this in with the fact that each take had to be taken from the camera, stitched to 360 and then approved, an editor/DIT was an absolute necessity.

Having our editor on set meant that not only could we view the footage in 360 to see what we had captured, but also that we could play around with effects to come up with new ideas on the set itself.

This eventually helped us to make changes to the way that we were shooting, that overall created a better finished product.

5) Omar is not a DJ.

Our director on the job was Director Extraordinaire and all round nice chap, Omar Abbas.

As mentioned earlier, everything on set had to be hidden, which meant that Omar couldn't actually see what was being shot! After careful deliberation (Where Omar Ummed and Arred about whether he could pull of a death costume) we decided that the best way to solve the problem would be to put the director into the set.

We came up with the idea that ‘Death’ who was already included in the video, could be replaced by Omar so he would have the perfect view of the set.

There was of course one problem. Death in the script also was a DJ. Omar is not a DJ.

After the first take, we had to explain to  Omar that he was actually moving the wrong hand. It turns out that spinning the disk frantically didn't actually make you a DJ.

Training came and  eventually, Omar passed as DJ death...maybe we could just darken him in the edit?

We’ll share more insight as we bring this beast into the edit suite...

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