The Yellowbird/HIGHRISE 360 video camera team strikes again.
This time, a music video shoot on the 15th floor of a highrise in Toronto, with Amchok Gompo, an incredible Tibetan musician. This is part 2 of our collaboration with Yellowbird on our first web-doc, called Out my Window: Views from the Global Highrise, in which we profile interesting residents living in interesting highrise neighborhoods in several locations around the world.
In Toronto, we did a double shoot, following the YB crew with a “flat video” team. Made for a long day, especially for Amchok. For the YB shoot, it was helpful to have an extra DOP’s advice on lighting, and to have a sound recordist’s expertise to get the right balance of voice, instrument and drums.
The shoot took a long time to set up, because of the strong sun bursting in through the misty window. We compensated with the DOP’s lights in the hallway, to even out the shadows. We also covered the window, and brought the iris down on the camera.
After the sparse 360 shoot Amsterdam (only 2 musicians), I was interested in filling out the room with more searchable activity for the user – and that meant more choreography, especially with children. It took three takes to slow them down from running around like wildfire.
We started out with only two musicians, Amchok, and his friend Victor on an african drum. But about an hour into set-up, I remembered that our sound recordist, Mike, is actually an accomplished Brazilian drummer. We asked him, Amchok and Victor if it would be okay to bring in another drum. Everyone agreed, so Mike dashed home and back for his tambourine (Mike’s home was actually visible from Amchok’s window view!).
The shoot required a lot of art direction – where should Amchok look while singing (into the camera or not? – it seems really unnatural to look into a yellow box). And the choreography of 9 people in a smaller room was complex too. Should everyone move in the same direction? That might seem boring for a user. It was tough to direct, during filming, as I was hiding in the kitchen with 4 other crew, not seeing anything at all during the takes. Then, playback is low-rez, slo-mo, unstitched with no sound on a laptop!
After the YB shoot, one of the flatvideo crew almost lamented: “With this new 360 degree video technology, you don’t need a Director of Photography anymore…”
But to use the technology creatively and well, it actually requires a lot of thought and art direction and coordination, understanding how the user will actually experience the material on-line.
So the takeaway from shoot 2 is definitely: in flat video direction, you shoot for the editor; in 360 you shoot for the user.