I recently DP’d a music video for a song called “Floodgates” by the artist Bakes. The concept, developed by director Jason Perlman, involved a narrative in which a deranged doctor kills 3 young women and subsequently combines pieces of their bodies to reconstruct a frankenstein like creature. Most of the video is revealed to the audience through VHS tapes played back on the TV sets of the victim’s parents. We put the pieces of the story together alongside them as they witness the horrific acts of “the doctor” for the first time. We shot the majority of the video on RED EPIC with zeiss superspeed primes. One of my favorite shots was of a father of one of the victims watching a VHS tape play back on his TV. (LEFT) The room that we shot in had a bathroom door with this really amazing patterned glass. I knew when I saw it that we had to incorporate that into our frame. We ended up positioning the father very close to the TV set so that his key would actually come from the blue light emitted from the television. We then put a 4×4 kino with tungsten bulbs just out of frame punching hard through the patterned glass and shot the subject profile with this illuminated glass in the background. The kino was a perfect fixture to fill the glass completely and it really created an awesome background texture. We also clamped a tweenie to the top of the glass door to create a hard rim/edge light around the subject which helped create some separation. I balanced at 3200K so that the background lights would read white in contrast to the blue key coming from the TV screen.
For the performance shots, we rigged 19 degree lekos on speed rail high above the set and hit the talent hard from a distance. We also hung 4 foot industrial fluorescent fixtures vertically from the ceiling and put them on variac dimmers in order to create a green fluorescent flicker effect. We bounced some fresnels into moving mylar gels in order to make the light dance on the background walls for a kind of water effect. For the tight performance shots we were on a jib and I could use the vertical flickering fluorescent as a nice foreground element to come off of. (ABOVE LEFT) We also created an awesome “operating room” set complete with torture tools/defibrillator etc. (BELOW LEFT) The set looked so amazing I tried to shoot it as wide as possible looking straight down from the jib. I top lit everything here with spotted fresnels to create patches of light on certain elements. I didn’t want to use broader sources in fear of washing out the small space.
There were other POV shots and cut ins that were shot later that really added to the story as well. Looking back on the shoot and watching the final product now really puts into perspective how complex of concept this really was. There are so many different elements/locations and characters that you really have to focus in order to follow the story that is woven throughout. It all comes full circle in the end and it is really interesting to be there with the parents of the victims as they realize what has happened to their children. The edit was really well cut and it keeps the viewer on his toes throughout the piece. Jason Perlman is meticulous as always and as with many of our past collaborations I’m pleased with the result.