I’m pleased to announce that Yahoo! Music has exclusive rights to show the latest music video from The Pharcyde, entitled “Sins.”
The video marks the directorial debut of Romye (aka Bootie Brown), who is also one of the founding members of the group. As our prep began, he sent numerous visual references that guided our stylistic choices throughout the shoot. My favorites include Earl Sweatshirt’s “Hive” (you can probably guess which shots this impacted) and Big Sean’s “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers).”
I’ve been using the A7S a lot recently and have fallen pretty hard for the camera’s uniquely light sensitive sensor. Working at the native ISO of 3200 is an absolute joy at night and it captures those scenes in a truly magical way. Combined with in camera recording up to 120FPS @1080p, the A7S is a beast for music videos!
We flirted with renting an external Atomos Shogun recorder to get better compression and 4K resolution while at 24FPS, but opted to keep things streamlined and utilize the internal XAVC S codec (50MBps) on SD cards.
The Metabones SpeedBooster Ultra allowed us to shoot in APS-C crop mode to help minimize the camera’s rolling shutter shortcoming while still getting the full frame field of view. I also employed the Rokinon Cine DS prime lenses for the first time. We spent a lot of time on the 35mm, but the 24mm, 50mm, & 85mm saw their share of action.
Our first location (CopyCats Digital Solutions) had amazing natural light, which required minimal gear. My gaffer, Austin Michaels, set a few 4’ 4Bank Kino Flos and a 575W HMI to supplement when necessary. For negative fill, 4’x4’ solid black floppies added some contrast. The following scenes at the park and church only required a bounce card.
We moved so efficiently that morning, that we had time to send a truck full of cast/crew to grab another scene before lunch. We ventured east on Rosecrans searching La Mirada for a visually interesting bus stop and struck gold a few miles from basecamp.
After a delicious lunch (shout out to Taco Nazo in Bellflower), we grabbed Imani and Brown’s performance shots in the striking canal. The late afternoon sun looked so amazing that we didn’t need any grip gear. While we continued shooting in Santa Fe Springs, Austin and his Key Grip, Sam Klein, pre-lit our loft location in downtown Los Angeles.
Fellow Bostonian, Connor Bodell, grabbed some excellent BTS shots with my 5D while in the canal. After a handful of great takes, the sun finally retreated below the horizon. We grabbed some B-roll of the background artists to round out the scene and reconvened downtown.
Our bathroom required serious attention from Art Director, Matty Ellis. While he couldn’t paint the bare white walls, he added some much needed flair. One of the neighbors even thanked us for his improvements, but he had to remove the temporary additions.
Romye’s agility provided one of the highlights of the day while shooting the vomiting scene. A light bulb in the high-ceilinged hallway polluted our shot. Without flinching, Romye shuffled up the sides of the walls like Spiderman and unscrewed the bulb! This efficient and courageous act solicited a round of applause from the crew.
My favorite shots from the video feature our lead actress, Zulena Cruz, in her deceptively small loft. The angle towards the window is what sold Romye on the location and both of us on the A7S. Romye envisioned her silhouetted against the windows and since I couldn’t illuminate the neighboring buildings, we needed a light sensitive camera.
Sticking to the minimalist lighting approach, we positioned and dimmed an Edison globe on the right side of frame. I wish I took a frame grab with my 5D Mark iii to demonstrate the incredible abilities of the A7S. It essentially views the world with a similar light sensitivity as the human eye.
For the slow-motion shots on the couch, we squeezed two Edison globes almost completely off and armed out a 650W Tweenie with Full CTB and 250 on the doors to give a little moonlight edge to the scene.
Once we grabbed the stairwell shots, wrapped out of the location, and cut the majority of the crew, a couple of us ventured onto Broadway for Brown to perform his opening verse in an alternate location. A storefront near the corner of W 5th Street provided soft fluorescent lighting for the takes.
In post, The Jokerr made some really creative decisions editorially and in color. He and Romye added a 2.35 matte to the footage late in the process, which I initially hated. After a few viewings and a pass ensuring proper headroom throughout the video, I agreed that many shots benefitted from the aspect ratio shift.
After this experience, I’m almost positive Romye will elect to shoot widescreen on the next video…hopefully anamorphic! Big thanks to our Producer, Mayra Rodriguez for bringing me into the fold and the excellent cast and crew who made this a reality.