11.04.2009

The Hottest Thing in Town

http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/billy-joe-shaver/hottest-thing-in-town--2165199

So, now that Canon and Nikon have video capability everyone is running to become a DP. Been there, done that. A dozen years ago I was asked by Steve Mimms of the Austin Filmworks to be the DP on a music video for Billy Joe Shaver's "The Hottest Thing In Town" music video. We did some amazingly low budget stuff to make this all work but we didn't scrimp on the camera. We rented a 16mm Arriflex, a bitching 12-120mm Zeiss zoom lens and a video assist (AKA early video mode also known as "full motion Polaroid".

I designed and built the fixture over the pool table, inserting two 500 watt lowel tota lights that could be switched separately. The tracking shot of our female star outside the Continental Club was done using a cart with pnuematic wheels. I learned a lot about lighting a tracking nighttime shot but we did pull it off.

We shot the video in one long, long day with about a week of pre-production.

The video won the Country Music Television "best of" that year. Do I know how to shoot a video production? Yes, I think so. Do I think photographers will make good videographers? Only if they understand that they have to light so that everything moves and everything matches. I've done commercials and industrials but this is the funnest of the video projects I worked on with the exception of my Rene Zellweger, "Coffee: Is it a gift from God or a tool of Satan" video. But that's a story for another day..........

12 comments:

Bold Photography said...

Oh, I want to hear THAT story...

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! I remember that video. It won a some big awards. I had no idea you did video. Not very damn fair to be a writer, photographer and a film guy. Kinda sucks.

kirk tuck said...

Creative Directed my first television commercial for Bookstop Bookstores in 1985. David Byrne (yeah, the Talking Heads guy) picked up the spot and used it in his movie True Stories. (Bruce Maness produced and directed..). Later I did a fun series of black and white super8 projects intercut with color video for Tech Works big displays at MacWorld. I used to teach film lighting classes for Steve Mims at Austin Filmworks. He was the director on the linked video above.

Almost everything I've done has been on film. But I've DP'd on tons of industrial videos as well.

As to whether it's fair or not I can't say. Having multiple interests is a blessing and a curse. It's harder to get your 10,000 hours of master if you don't concentrate on one thing at a time.

I was so nerdy back then that I even owned my own 16mm Bolex camera with a 12-120mm Angenieux lens. Now, I shoot video with my SX20. But my son, Ben, shoots better video with an SX10.

Go figure.

sitbonzo said...

very good.

Peter Frailey said...

I'm sorry, Kirk. I have tried and tried, but have to say I am amateur enough not to be able to figure out *grin* what DP means. How's 'bout a clue? Thanks.

Peter F.

kirk tuck said...

Peter Frailey, No worries Peter. DP is director of photography. The DP designs the lighting and the look of each shot. In this case I also worked with the crew to put up lights and make sure each camera shot would work.

David Ingram said...

Fun video!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, was it a wind up Bolex or did you spring for the motor? Noisy buggers weren't they? Great for MOS music videos though. Small enough to shoot from just about any angle.

kirk tuck said...

The Bolex Rex 16 I owned could be wound or used with the motor. We used an Arriflex for the music video. As usual, it was the optics that made all the difference.

jefflynchdev said...

Damn fine work old man! Who was the blond? She sure looks familiar.

J

Kirk Decker said...

A link to "Coffee: Is it a gift from God, or a Tool of Satan" please.
FWIW, I've done video, and it's nothing at all like shooting stills. It's a totaly differant aesthetic and profession. In stills, you can be a lone wolf, tossing a camera and lens in your ruck sack and going out and about. Video? Buying a van would be a good start.

kirk tuck said...

Kirk,
This might be hard to believe but the Coffee thing is still on tape....