Behind The Scenes of Tigress – Headaches
I’m Josh and I have been working as a part of Friction since the beginning. My Job Title is ‘Creative Director’ though in reality my focuses include project and concept creation, filming, directing and editing among other things. Anyway that’s my introduction out of the way for anyone that cares, if I haven’t lost you already on to the project.
When Tigress came to us with the style and base concept for the video I was instantly excited to get the ball rolling and make this project happen. As a big fan of ‘Stranger things’ the fact that the band wanted to emulate some of the style and themes from this series, I jumped at the chance. As I got deeper into the planning my influences widened to Spielberg, JJ Abrams and 80’s sci fi, and I soon realised this wouldn’t be the easiest of tasks, trying to emulate high production, high budget series whilst filming ‘Run and Gun’ style in predominantly natural light. BUT with such a great song and a talented band who seemed up for anything, why not give it a go? When we heard about the location we had available to us, we were smitten. An old World War II airstrip with an aircraft hangar full of old cars, farming equipment and random cool old shit, at least that was my opinion, “A load of old crap” to the bloke with the keys.
As the location was so far from us (far end of Essex) and the deadline so tight, we were unable to visit the site for a recce until the day before. Considering the number of locations we had to shoot in one day this was a bit of an ummm… you could say risky situation. This meant that when I’d been looking at google maps and doing a bit of a low-res-virtual location scout, the scale, accessibility and to be honest most of what I was expecting to see was completely fucking different. So when we did, the story board was chopped, changed and bastardised into what was actually there. On the bright side, it could have been a lot worse with such a great location.
The morning was an interesting one. When the band and the bikes turned up we realised quickly that the already tight schedule was slipping away.
Firstly the band, as mentioned before, keen, lovely people although not the most confident cyclists and one of the band in recovery. Josh, had a few days prior had a fairly serious operation yet was determined to be involved (much to the credit of the video). I think I am a good judge of when someone is faking or not when I asked him where it hurts when he was cycling, I fully believed his answer “just everywhere”.
Secondly the bikes; the condition of them was rather varied. I did have to point out to one member that his chain looked like it had been drawn by an over enthusiastic child with a crayon. Luckily our head of production and ‘one of those guys’ had some beard oil that managed to do what WD40 would have done more efficiently and maybe 500% cheaper had it been available. With the band warmed up and the bikes caringly styled and groomed we were ready to go, and only an hour lost!
One of my focuses for the video was emphasising and communicating the sense of unease which Katie is feeling, whilst creating a sense of exploration and adventure from the rest of the group (whilst being standard oblivious blokes to Katie’s anxiety).
This was so that when we got to the more intense section of the video we would care about Katie, identify with her and hopefully still have maintained the viewers interest. The more intense, dramatic part of the video was done through the ‘headache’ effect which involved some strange filming for Katie; having to roll her head around whilst shooting went to plan although took some getting used to initially as we had to orchestrate everyone in time together.
As soon as we had our first technical boom arm shot (0.33) we were ploughing through and looking like we could make up for some lost time. Tigress were easy to work with and understood our way of working. We had a fluid working conversation of explaining, shooting, refining then moving straight on to the next shot.
Woods footage done, we were ready to move into the hangar. Although only a last minute addition to the plan, it was probably the best looking location to shoot in especially when we filled that bad boy up with some smokey atmosphere. Although not getting the light streaming through the roof as we did the day before it still looked great and really helped create a sense of adventure through the guys exploring. This meant we could move onto the runway shots quickly which involved me hanging out the back of the van shooting on the shoulder rig. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy that. Despite being slightly trapped and reliant on being released from my “safety harnesses” with outside help. As you can imagine the others were completely professional and didn’t take any enjoyment in this fact.
On to the final runway boom arm shot and hatch sequence. Time was getting short and light was getting low. This may have slightly worked in our favor as the increased stress shooting worked well for the higher intensity of that section of the video. Energy levels were low, band members cold and tired but we kept on ‘keepin on’ until we got it done. Luckily, happy with the results just as we had pushed the limits of the cameras low light capability to the max, it was time for a nice relaxing final shoot in the hangar….
Here I was using a technique called freelensing which involves taking the lens off the camera and allowing light to leak in through the side and changing the focus plane, resulting in some abstract footage with strange focus. Once Josh had used up the very last of his energy (with the help of a large amount of pain killers) to get his drumming rapped we could tackle the rest of the band (so to speak) including the final shot. This reveals the anonymous ‘being’ in the hatch to be Katie and subtextually shows the darkness building throughout the video to be coming from within her all along.
Finally, after a nice chilled 15 odd hours of filming we got there. All credit to the band for maintaining such enthusiasm after coming straight from touring to such a full on shoot. All credit to Fin and Lew working behind the scenes, prepping, driving, suggesting solutions to problems and helping get the look and feel we were after. For anyone that hasn’t had a look at Paddy’s great behind the scenes video its worth a look also, ignoring of course any time I attempt to talk to camera.
Overall it was a great experience and I hope that it is interesting for you guys to watch enough for you to ignore that new Facebook ping you get halfway through.
Check out more of our video work here.