Production Stories: Rose Gray ‘Morning Blues’

At the end of January we worked with emerging artist Rose Gray on the production of her new music video ‘Morning Blues’. This follows the production of three music videos for Rose Gray during the latter half of 2016, these being ‘We Get By’, ‘Give it All to You’ and ‘Ring the Alarm’. Pulling the productions together in a short amount of time, we worked alongside Director Gray Bryan and Directors of Photography Luca Ciuti and John Miguel King to organise and solidify exciting creatives.

‘Morning Blues’ was filmed at the 6,000 sq/ft East London warehouse MC Motors, filled with an assortment of eclectic props and lighting. Rose Gray was joined on screen by the always brilliant Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats, The Medium), both of whom are striking on camera and have electrifying chemistry. With a crew of just 14, the team worked incredibly hard, and together pulled off an extremely involved shoot in just 13 hours. This is testament to the experience and professionalism of our fantastic crew. 

The shoot required four locations and different spaces within MC Motors. Production designer Francesca Massariol alongside Runner Lucy Parsons worked tirelessly on the day to ensure each location was set up exactly to the specs of how it needed to look. The venue provided an assortment of props was obviously a huge bonus, however this also meant that props needed to be removed from areas before they could be re-dressed, and Francesca ensured this was done without impeding the shooting schedule in any way. On the subject of the shooting schedule, any successful and smooth production is not complete without one, and 1st Assistant Director, Ty Hack, produced a detailed schedule that allowed for precious preparation time.


(Rose Gray Prepares for a Take in front of The Sprog)

‘Morning Blues’ also saw us using a Motion Control Rig called the ‘Sprog’, supplied and operated by the fantastic team from The Visual Effects Company. For those who don’t know, the purpose of any motion control system is to enable the production to repeat shots with absolute frame accuracy. As with any production we anticipated some challenges, and our main challenge was securing the MOCO system. The ‘Sprog’ is the little sister of the much, much larger rigs that The VFX Co also supply, these being the ‘Super Cyclops’ and the ‘Milo’ amongst others. The ‘Sprog’ was ideal for this shoot as it is designed for smaller spaces (i.e. indoor spaces smaller than studios!) and yet still provides the operator with full manual control over any axis, whilst maintaining absolute frame accuracy for move replays and repeat passes. A pretty impressive bit of kit, and an exciting jump in production values from the previous music videos!

The narrative of the video required a series of repeat passes of Rose Gray completing different activities within the same shot, which when layered, represent time passing. The MOCO is designed for this, and the final result is a pan shot with Rose Gray crossing herself repeatedly during the shot. The MOCO was also used to show a timelapse from day into night and back into day, and props to Rose herself for not moving a centimetre during the different passes recorded by the MOCO!

Our lighting was provided by Lee Lighting Services Ltd based in Park Royal, and Lee Parfitt of Lee Lighting Services was one of our Sparks on set, in addition to supplying all lights required. Camera equipment came from Cameraworks, a company based in Shoreditch, just around the corner from our office. We’ve built a great relationship with Cameraworks, and again they supplied us with all the kit we needed without any issues. Luca used an Arri Alexa Mini on the gimbal and then our own Arri Alexa was used for the Motion Control Rig.

The video was edited and colour graded by our in-house team of Alan Parry and Louis Tsamados respectively, and one of the best parts of this production has been seeing how the production has come together in the edit. We’re immensely proud of this project and feel privileged to have produced it. We’re very excited to hear what the world makes of it when it is released on March 31st.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

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