How would you approach this project? Outdoor guitar performance videos

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    • #89914


      I am a guitarist who finds himself getting enticed into the video world… I want to do a series of performance videos with a cinematic effect. For instance, I play some dramatic stuff, like Bach, Beethoven, Paganini. Especially with Beethoven, I want the videos to be dramatic. Not just me sitting and playing in a continuous take. So I imagine a lot of camera movement. I am moving to Montenegro so I can spend a few years on these projects and live cheaply in a beautiful place. So I picture myself outside, by the sea, on a cliff perhaps. I picture lots of motion of the camera, pivoting around me, pausing to show me playing, and then moving backwards, then upwards, then up and away in an arc that then shows from above me sitting there, dwarfed by the landscape. Maybe that can be done with a gimbal system on a jib? Or better yet, drone…

      I also picture cutting from scenes of me playing to scenes that tell a story. For instance, with Moonlight Sonata it is about loss, pain of not being with the girl he wanted to be with. So maybe some nightime scenes, maybe even on a boat, or seaside cafe. Scenes of a girl leaving (maybe I will just have my girlfriend play the part:-)), upset, and then the guy, angry. Maybe scenes of someone running off (so will need to track moving characters…). And flashbacks to happy scenes coinciding with the brighter musical parts of the piece.

      Anyway, I know this is ambitious. All I have so far is a GH4 and 12-35mm 2.8 lens, and a lot of energy and passion, and am thinking of getting an Ikan Beholder DS1. So I would need to find someone to use this gear, and learn from them so I can also shoot. Or just hire someone with their own gear. But I like the idea of being more involved in the process, learning the kit I bought.

      Would love to hear thoughts on how you would pull this off with the kit I mention and additional kit as needed. Also would to love to hear your tips on technique. For instance what focal lengths and f stops at the crucial moments I mention do you think would produce the desired effect?


    • #213911

      First question and an important one. You have the kit, the location, but what about sound? Are you going to mime? and how good are you at it? I know plenty of musicians who can’t do the playing version of lip sync to save their lives.

      Sound wise – also creates another problem. Do you have a recording that is dead and sounds like outside. Trying to record the performance outside will drive you mad. Editing together different takes and locations and making them seamless is really hard, and often something you won;t know if it works until you try to edit it? Hence the miming. This also introduces the guitarist nightmare, where many viewers will also be guitarists, so you often cannot get away with random cutaways or repeats because they will spot your fingers playing differently to what they hear!

    • #213913

      Sounds like a fun project. From my experience the big thing is making the sound work first and foremost for this kind of performance video or else the effort put into the visuals will seem moot. My brother is a classical guitarist and I’ve recorded audio for his works and always liked using a combo of a contact mic and large diaphragm condenser mic, however this isn’t really an aesthetically good look for a video. I like how Andrés Segovia did a lot of his filmed performances by using a shot gun mic at a distance.

      I’ve known plenty of classical musicians and it seems there is great pride in authenticity of musicianship and performance. That said, avoid treating this like a “music video” with overdubbing and over-stimulated visuals. People will appreciate you actually performing more than a fancy video.

      All said, if you take the video step by step and start by just experimenting than I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun and make something good of it. I think you have some good ideas and you could certainly make a good piece with the gear you have if you just learn to work with what you’ve got.

      Here’s one of Segovia’s videos:

      Best of luck!

    • #213916

      Music video rather than performance video. Coast: wind, waves and seagulls, often no way to get good audio, you mostly gotta overdub – if you’re a muso rather than an actor you obviously don’t “mime”, you play along. If it’s not commercial I’m sure you’ll find someone willing to do a shoot free. Basic Phantom 3, under US$500, DS1 US$750, doesn’t do unique shots, no contest. You can do multiple takes with one camera, but consider getting at least one other camera – LX100 matches well with GH4 and costs less than many GH4 lenses .

    • #213922
      Space Racer

      You have awesome equipment, and as long as you have a nice fluid head tripod, you’re all set for that phase of your artistic journey.
      Now you have to work on the much more important Phase 2 which is learning to network and collaborate with other filmmakers. There’s just no way to do it all yourself. So, the first thing you need to do is change your mindset. You’re a musician so think about it this way: doing video is like being in a band or a pit orchestra— a small, tightly knit group of people who think and act as one.
      Consequently, the most important thing for you to do before you move is start working with other people on their projects. Or take a video production class at your local community college. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll begin building the networking skills you’ll need. Even if it is for free, work with other people as much as you can. Then when you get to Montenegro, you’ll be able to start networking there as well and you’ll have some skills to contribute. Also, learn to barbecue, because filmmakers are very hungry people and the fastest way to get them to help you is to feed them well.

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