Harlano Weekes was the artist, his music soul funk. He’d put out an ad in shootingpeople and I’d applied for the position, mainly so as to give my daughter, Shiona Penrake, some further experience directing and editing. As it turned out, she’d be getting some serious experience grading, too.
You never really expect to get these jobs, sending in cold, but Harlano liked our films and got in touch. When Harlano asked me if I could produce his music video – shooting his band in a record store – in a record store, for arond £500 all in, I was tempted to say, Yeah, sure, you mean on an iphone, no lights, right? Instead, I said, I’d take a shot and see what we could do.
The toughest tasks were finding a cinematographer who had his own kit, or access to kit, at £150-200 p.d.. I spoke to several possible contenders, but they couldn’t get the price below £400, either because they had to hire in or needed help with transport, or both.
Finally we found Stef Lee, a big black guy with dreds and a warm smile and handshake. He owned a Sony FS700, a camera good enough for the job, he also had some lights. I was concerned he had only tungsten lights, however, and persuaded Harlano to stump up another £20 to add a ‘blond’ (the lighting kind) to the kit. I wanted him to add some daylight kinos, but he wasn’t budging on the budget – that, I realised, was going to be a problem.
Harlano had found a music store out in Hackney Wick called Vinyl Pimp. It was spacious enough and already set-dressed to a large degree, with sacks of vinyl everywhere.
While Stef and I worked together, my co-director, Shiona Penrake, worked with Stef’s assistant, Harry J Balding, who turned up with his Canon 7D.
There really wasn’t the kit or the time to get too clever with what we had, but we added a couple of nice touches with the record player and the reportage style shots at the end of the song, by which time the half of the band had to rush off to day jobs!
What impressed me most was how much fun the band had performing together. They were easy to work with and a pleasure to be around.
A couple of days later Shiona had a rough cut ready to show me. We fine-tuned together till we thought it was about as good as we could make it given the coverage, and then Shiona set about doing the grade on Da Vinci.
Boy was that a ball-ache. The Redheads Stef had used had worked pretty well for the dark skin, but completely blown up the back wall, which was white. So Shiona had to go through frame by frame matting the overexposed white – a task that took her five days in total! She’s now pretty good at matting, even if a little unhinged by the experience!
Harlano gave us a few notes on the cut, asked us to provide a cut-down version, and then we were done.
It’s simple enough, admittedly, but the song’s quite catchy and the band come across really well as likeable people – which they most certainly are!
We wish them all the best with it!