Cinematography Essentials: How to Design an Epic Music Video Shot
Cinematographer Justin Jones breaks down setups from the August Royal music video ‘All I Need’, analyzing lighting, camera movement, and the rigs they used. From previz to execution, you can see how Justin pulled off this epic setup!
This is just a brief excerpt from the Cinematography Essentials series instructed by Justin Jones. Other setups in the lesson include an inferno, free-falling, and creating rain.
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|You’re going to learn how to:
THE MOUND SETUP:
In the first section, August is on a mound of dirt with an amazing spotlight raining down on him revealing the writing on his body. It cuts to a VFX shot with angel wings. This is all constructed to tell a story of August drifting between Heaven and Hell.
Justin starts his breakdown by identifying what Shane Hurlbut, ASC calls a keyframe shot (a shot that tells the story of a particular scene). Next to it is a previs shot that was created in Cinema 4D so the director could see Justin’s vision.
In the previs, you can see the dolly track and four Aputure Nova panels. But as things always change from the previs to the production, they only ended up using two of the Nova panels (one on the right side and the other on the left side) with the spotlight (an Aputure 600x).
The 600x is a little bit of a warmer color than the Novas, so August’s face is warmer and his back has a cooler tone.
Notice the 600x spotlight shining down on him. It has a spotlight mount that allows you to get that volumetric shape that’s pronounced by the haze. Plus, the 19-degree lens gives a sharp source of light.
Also, note the cooler tones coming down and onto his side from the Novas mounted up top — again, one on each side of him.
In the BTS image, you can see the Novas adorning softboxes and grids on both sides. The reason for the grids is to help control the light off the walls of the warehouse.
Justin and his team shot on the Alexa Mini LF. When it comes to camera movement, Justin deployed a dolly and dolly track.
They used six 45-degree tracks that create a 12-foot inner diameter circle. As they put the dolly on the track, they balanced it out with wedges, which allowed them to get the smooth circular track around the mound of dirt where August stands.
In addition to the dolly, they shot handheld for the close-ups of the words on August’s arms, chest, and face.
Cinematography Essentials: Earth, Wind & Fire Breakdown
In this series, Justin breaks down the music videos that he shot throughout his professional career as a cinematographer. Showcasing behind-the-scenes photos and videos, Justin talks through things like camera and lens choices, lighting setups, locations, and more.
You’re going to learn how to:
- Look at unique setups considering light and camera movement
- Make your subject appear surrounded by fire
- Make your subject appear as if they are on a moving stretcher in a hospital
- Make your subject appear like they’re free-falling
- Create fake rain with a rain machine