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So one of the questions I asked myself when Retro Cowgirl came to me was, can I make music video with one camera and just one lens?

Retro Cowgirl found me through Thumbtack. They sifted through some of my projects and they liked what they saw. I had listened to their music and I was blown away.

You know, a lot of times we’ll get leads and it’ll be for creative projects and the vision creatively just doesn’t align sometimes, you know, you’ll, you’ll hear, uh, an artist, a musician who wants to do something with you, but the music just isn’t there, or it just doesn’t mesh with your style.

It was really one of the first times I’d heard an artist and I really, really liked them right out of the gate. I listened to a song and I was blown away by Julia the lead singer. I was blown away and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Making a Music Video with the BMPCC 6K and Sigma 18-35

Here is the full video for Making a Music Video with the BMPCC 6k and Sigma 18-35mm.

The Process

The process of getting started was a unique blend of satisfying art and budget. We had to make decisions based around the artist’s creative desires as well as our production planning and expertise.


So we got started with pre-production and I did all of the pre-production in Milanote. I did all of the storyboarding and concept ideas, script concepts, and organization of materials in Milanote. So everybody could, have it on their phones and see it at a glance as things progress and move along.


The production is really where things got interesting.

Retro Cowgirl was on a limited budget. They were a new artist at the time and they only had a couple singles. So we had to just use what I had on hand.

I have a couple different cameras now, but at the time I really only owned the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k and the Sigma 18-35mm.

Without having to rent anything, I was just going to use that. And then in terms of lighting, I had a couple of Aputure lights- the 200 X and the 100 D that I own, and also a couple of Westcott fluorescent, soft boxes.

And so I thought, would it be possible to just do this whole music video concept with just that?

They were responsible for the location. We thought if we could have an awesome enough location, with all of my equipment, and with the expertise of me and several other people I had as crew members, then with our limited budget, I think it would be possible. But there were definitely questions we had to answer.


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    Production Challenges

    Working within such a constrained budget and timeframe means there are production questions that demand to be answered. Through shooting this music video, I was able to answer them for myself.

    Can You Shoot a Whole Music Video with Just the BMPCC 6K?

    I’ve used black magic products for so long It’s not even a question to me. I know what the cameras are capable of and I know how they can be implemented in so many different ways. Their specs are awesome.

    I bought the original pocket. I bought the original cinema camera from way back in the day, the actual BMCC. So I’ve been a believer since that time. I knew that shooting with that in a music video context wouldn’t be a problem.

    And even though the camera doesn’t have in body stabilization or autofocus, I knew that it wouldn’t be a problem if we just have everything sound from a technical level.

    I chose to focus on the film fundamentals, and I think that was the key.

    As long as you have a firm grasp on the fundamentals of lighting, story boarding, framing and composition, then the camera body isn’t going to be an issue.

    Can You Shoot a Music Video with One (Zoom) Lens?

    Now, the other question that was really interesting from a production standpoint was can we do this whole thing with one lens?

    Using one lens isn’t as simple as using one camera body.

    It puts a lot of pressure on artistic choices. Your composition becomes limited. Given all the circumstances we chose to work with that because of the budget we had. What surprised me is that we didn’t have to stick to wide shots.

    In the music video, if you watch it full length, what you’ll see is that it has some elements of older films. It doesn’t have all these cutaways, all these macro shots of modern action movies.

    With the music video having a concept of a crime thriller, more dated to the seventies or sixties it, really helps with, the look and it justifies those lens choices.

    I thought it was cool challenge we had in production that we could solve with just creative choices during the process.

    Do you Need a Gimbal to Shoot a Music Video with the BMPCC 6k?

    All the tracking shots and all the movement was either done handheld or on a tripod. This element of any camera operator’s work is gonna come down to their, talent, their preparation and their creativity.

    At the end of the day, it was just my hands and a tripod. That’s what would be sculpting the look of this music video.

    So in preparation for this,  what I chose to do creatively was shoot everything in slow motion.

    That’s what I want to see in post when I’m editing a music video (I also edited the music video). It gives me the option if I wanna speed things up and add motion, blur in post.

    For some of these shots in “Dance” where there’s punch ins, or  where my hands are replacing a Dana Dolly, I shot in slow-mo and I aimed for my movements to be as controlled as possible on production day.

    That was the key to the look of this because I love having the subtle movement, the the left to right tracking shots. If you have the budget, you would get a Dana Dolly, but my hands are replacing this. Shooting slow-mo in a controlled motion, really replaced all that.

    I thought we achieved a great result, even for some of the more dynamic movements.

    Lighting and Bluetooth

    Lighting is often the most overlooked aspect for younger filmmakers. However, it is certainly the most important in terms of work flow. Having a thorough lighting plan can make all the difference in how well your shots turn out.

    The Lighting

    Now in terms of the lighting, we used all Aputure lighting. This was really our saving grace in the production because the lighting was intensive.

    When we got in there this room, which was a good sized room, if I were to guess the dimensions, it was maybe 25 feet by 25 feet. So it was a pretty good sized room for what we were working in, and it was pretty much pitch black.

    There were string lights at the top of this location, but of course that doesn’t do anything for the pocket cameras. They, need actual film lights.

    So we rigged it with some scrims over the top, just shooting down light on everything.

    That was for the main sequences with the fighting and the two agents getting to the bar. That’s what we used for most everything.

    For the performance scenes, we just gaffed the lights on the roof because they had beams running across. We would pretty easily mount ’em up there, but we just basically took these few lights that we had and rotated them from sequence to sequence.

    For some scenes, we could just angle them for different shots, so we really just maximized those few aperture lights and they, did amazing for us.

    The, other thing that was a huge deal was having the Bluetooth app connection to where we can couldn’t control the lights remotely, because I was pretty much doing all of the lighting and the camera operation.

    Bluetooth Capability

    My brother, Louis, was doing a lot of the directing, so that was really helpful. If I’m running the lights and the cameras, then I have to, be able to do it from my phone. I have to be able to switch things around without having to get on a ladder. It saves so much time using the aperture lights being able to shoot that way and using the Sidius Link to control them via iPhone.

    We definitely wouldn’t have got as much as we did without having those lights with bluetooth control.

    In Conclusion

    I got all the editing done in less than 30 days. We put out the music video and it had an awesome response from their people.

    What’s even better is they had an amazing response from who would be their sponsor.

    You couldn’t ask for a better response from this music video.

    They put out the music video and they got the attention of Topo Chico who at the time was sponsoring artists to post on Topo Chico’s page. What was amazing was that they saw their music video and they saw the dance music video and they offered to pay them for it.

    This covered the whole budget of the “Dance” music video!

    After that, we talked with Topo Chico and asked if they’d like to sponsor their next music video. They wanted to sponsor the next one and that music video is up now.

    As a videographer who uses this equipment, that should empower you to, charge what you need to charge and to just feel confident using this equipment.

    I urge you to please watch the video on this and subscribe to my Youtube channel. I’ll be putting out more videos on the Blackmagic line of cameras soon. I have a couple of videos planned in the future that are going to be awesome.

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