Original Director's Cut of DJ SHIFT ft Kevin Writer & Julia Price "Pain Killer" Music Video
I wrote this treatment the hour before it was due to my clients. I sat down with no premeditated ideas in mind, put some headphones on and wrote whatever came to my mind. I was really excited about the finished treatment, but I honestly did not think they would go for it. To my surprise everyone loved the concept and we were green lit to move forward with Pre Production. There is definitely a specific story here, but I am not a fan of spoon feeding narratives. I think it's open enough for interpretation and I'd rather let the audience decide what they get from it.
I did location scouting in Palmdale California (near El Mirage) prior to principle photography for several weeks. I kept going back there to get familiar with the terrain and find little locations that fit the aesthetic I had in mind. In between location scouting I worked with Sasha Glasser (FX Make Up) on what the look of the dancers would be. She life casted and created a mold of both our dancers and came up with a really simple, yet powerful look for the video.
The day of the shoot was a Murphy's Law 101 class. Just about every type of foreseeable issue happened. From FX Make up delays to our Drone dying on us (after we climbed a damn near mountain for 25 minutes) to losing light and so on. Yet everyone kept a really positive attitude and maintained a great energy through out the day. We managed to jump over every hurdle that came our way to wrap a really productive shoot. I shot the entire video at 180fps in 1080p. I made this decision early on during the shoot for a couple of reasons. I knew if we would end up missing shots (which we did) that the slow motion would allow us to extend the shots we had. I also felt that super slow motion helped create this otherworldly feel and mood. It made it easier in my opinion to tell the story. Our two lead dancers Franchesca Bass and Antwon Keith were amazing to work with. They had such a great energy about them and were open to try any idea. The dancing you see in the video is completely freestyled. It was a mutual decision we all made together during pre production. It was about being liberated from boundaries and having creative freedom to explore.
Editing the video was fairly seamless as the treatment was pretty detailed and straight forward. The coloring process was a lot of fun, as well as challenging. I did not have a specific look in mind when I shot the video. I don't usually use a look up table when shooting. For some reason I prefer shooting and looking at the log/raw footage. Again, the main objective of this entire project in my mind was creative freedom, which means being open to WHAT IS. The colorist I work with Loren White is great about exploring different looks. He was pivotal in helping me find the look of this video. I would give my opinions and suggestions, but he brought the technical expertise to really bring the look to life. There was some light post comp work done by a mutual VFX Editor we both have worked with on previous projects. There were telephone poles and lines that were removed from certain shots as well as some background hands and faces.
In the end, I was very pleased and happy with the finished product. Definitely one of my most favorite recent shoots.
Director | DoP | Editor - Embryo
Producer | Production Manager - Joey Rubin
Producer | Production Coordinator - Joel Layogan
Colorist - Loren White
Post VFX - Prasanna Siddharthan
Opening Titles - Ryan Kehoe
FX Make Up - Sasha Glasser, Rachel Wagner, Laney Chantal, Damien Zimmerman
1st AC - Aaron Seller
Steadicam Operator - Sam Law
Drone Operator - Sebastian Maldonado
Dancers - Franchesca Bass, Antwon Keith
Music - DJ Shift, Michael Polk, Phil Haus, Jesty Beatz, Julia Price, Kevin Writer
Arri Ultra Primes
DJI Phantom 3
Graded in DaVinci Resolve