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How to Shoot a Low-Budget 4K Music Video on the Canon 1D C with Philip Bloom

03.11.13 @ 12:05PM Tags : , , , , ,

You might know him from his excellent camera reviews, but Philip Bloom also has a large body of work online that consists of music videos, documentaries, and narratives. For his most recent project, Philip has joined forces with one of his frequent collaborators, Olly Knights, to shoot a music video for the main single off Olly’s new album Bitten By the Frost. The piece was shot in two days on the Canon 1D C DSLR, and a few great behind the scenes videos have been posted online in addition to the music video. Check out all of them below.

Here was Philip’s idea behind the video:

Playing on the mundanity of everyday life that song plays on I wanted the video to show this. My idea that his life is so mundane that we are literally passengers in it and we drift through day with little changing until the whole thing just becomes an endless cycle.

To show this I wanted Olly to stay in the frame in the same position in every single shot. Only the background would change and I needed his performance to be quietly intense but without too much expression as we are going for a mundane life type feel. I also needed real everyday things for hi to drift through. Bed, breakfast, tube, work etc. But with a twist being that things go a little differently on one day…

With Olly being in each frame the sense I wanted to feel like life was passing him by without even noticing it and especially without moving! He would sing the song and as he does it his we run through his whole week . To emphasise this the edits wouldn’t be on line breaks but during words at times creating a really fluid feel as we run through the 7 days.

Here are the terrific behind the scenes videos:

If you look at the way the crew had to move and some of the shots they needed to steal, the 1D C is certainly a logical choice based on the image quality. Philip wanted some room to crop if he needed it, so that’s part of the reason for choosing to shoot 4K — and if you’re looking for a small and compact 4K camera that shoots to CF cards — the 1D C is pretty much your only option.

Canon 1D C Inside the Refrigerator Sitting on Philip’s V-Bag

Since it was a low-budget music video, Philip acted as most of the main roles, which is quite difficult when you consider the number of shots they were doing per day. It’s always great to have separate people operating in different positions, but sometimes it’s just impossible to have more crew members and you have to make do with what you have. It’s great to see how much organization was involved to pull off the production, and for anyone who is going to attempt their own low-budget music video, head on over to Philip’s website for an in-depth post about his process and the pre-production involved with the shoot.

You can find a link to the song and album below.


Related Posts

  1. Philip Bloom Reviews the Canon 1D X, Big Brother of the Mark III. Is It Worth the Money Just for Video?
  2. Philip Bloom Braves the Weather for His In-Depth Canon 1D C Review, Plus More Sample Footage
  3. Philip Bloom Reviews the Canon C300 and Releases Short Test


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 131 COMMENTS

  • Keep up the good work Philip. Very much appreciate your giving back with your BTS films. You don’t get paid for that either do you? I guess your an amateur phianthropist too. I have learned a ton from you and other filmmakers that take the time to share your passions. I am very envious that you get to do what you love…AND get paid for it.
    Good luck or as you like to say “Cheers”!!!

  • This was amazing. So simple, but perfectly executed. He could have gotten away with magic hour sunlight and gotten inevitable 10/10 shots, like you can on most DSLRs or the BMCC… but no… He actually lit his scenes, composed every shot to be part of a narrative.

    How many times have I seen music videos or vignettes, art videos etc… that are shot by a window with the sun setting, or a breath-taking location at magic hour… of course it’s gonna look friggin fabulous… not to bring anyone down who takes advantage of these situations, but Bloom actually has the skill to make any location, with real lighting look good on any camera. Not to many can do that…

    • Oh… and he didn’t abuse his FS700 by bringing it in for slow motion, which is getting so overused it’s giving me a headache every time I check out Vimeo now. Seriously… props for not using slow motion in a music video. This crutch has been exploited to death, and people need to somehow move on creatively. I think anyone that wants to shoot a music video could take a few hints here.

      • Thank you for your input. We music video makers will wholeheartedly ignore it.
        I’m sorry slow motion offends you. Must be hard watching anything these days for you.

        • Oh Mark, don’t be so precious.

        • Slow motion can definitely be an asset, but seriously it’s getting ridiculous now. When an entire video is 480fps, I just go crazy. It isn’t cool or unique anymore… it’s just flat out boring.

          I’d love to start seeing music videos mostly in 24ps and then slowed down at certain moments where the narrative or video can really benefit from it.

        • Aren’t you something . So above it ,you don’t need anyone’s comments ,opinion’s or really anything. Only one thing though – You see- that’s who you are making these tiring videos for. Oh, I know you dont think you are ,cause your so above it all , but trust me – you are making them for nobodies. Cause they are the ones in the end who pay your bills ….JERK.
          And you know what , the Guy was right – Lose the Slo-Mo and think of something of your own.

  • Pros make art. Critics judge it. That is why Mr. Bloom is never on your YouTube page telling you that your video sucks. He’s a working professional that has accomplished more than 99% of us will ever in our film making careers.

    There is a common theme among people that are successful in this field and people that aren’t. People that are don’t critique another artists work because they KNOW what goes into it. The fact that you guys are taking time out of your day to critique someone else’s work on here SHOWS that you are in fact, not working professionals…rendering your opinion completely useless.

    Go out, further yourself in film, and don’t come back or comment until you have. Your tone will most definitely change. Until then enjoy the view from the outside because you will never succeed with such a judgmental attitude. That is a fact.

    • (Golf clap)

    • Peter Kelly on 03.13.13 @ 5:46AM

      Luke I find that a naive thing to say, critiquing work is a vital part of self learning and self improvement. It helps people to develop a taste and a style. Taking on board others critical comments can help us all to improve. Filmmakers and any artists need critics, and any artist should be critical of themselves and others, regardless of the work gone into a project. Nothing should be safe from criticism.

      To dismiss this important role and to say that anyone who spends time giving criticism, either positive or negative, is naive and plain wrong

      • I’m not saying there is NO place for constructive criticism. I’m saying that you need to have some credibility and a basis for your “knowledge”. Just because I played basketball in high school doesn’t mean I’m going to tell Dwight Howard how to shoot free throws. Just because I once made a grilled cheese sandwich doesn’t mean I can be a food critic, or EXPECT a professional chef to take my opinion seriously. Sounds pretty ridiculous when applied to other fields, doesn’t it?

        Most people on this site aren’t qualified to give Philip Bloom constructive criticism and are just being disrespectful because they can hide behind anonymity.

      • I agree with you about artists being critical of themselves. I think that is the most important form criticism…

        • Peter Kelly on 03.13.13 @ 5:56PM

          You essentially said there was no place for criticism, dismissing anyone who criticises by saying that if you criticise something your opinion is invalid because you are not professional.

          That was an incredibly dismissive and naive comment.

          Ever go to the cinema and say “that movie was too long, not shot well, not performed well? Is your opinion of Peter Jackson or Spielberg less valid then anyone elses? Course not. They might not care what you think but thats irrelevant. What makes art so wonderful is that it is subjective, everyone’s opinion is valid, no one is more qualified then anyone else to decide what is good or bad.

          And no it doesnt sound ridiculous when you apply it to other fields. Frankly the only thing that sounds ridiculous is your original comment.

          Ever go to a restaurant and complain? Not get food of the quality you would expect? You just criticised a professional chef. Is your opinion invalid? Your a customer so it shouldn’t be.

          95% of professional sports coaches were never pro’s themselves. I’m fairly sure Roger Federer would destroy his tennis coach in a set of tennis.

          You shouldn’t dismiss people by saying they are not qualified to give Philip Bloom or anyone else criticism. I myself, in an earlier comment, gave him a positive critique of this video which he thanked me for.

          • 95% of professional sports coaches were never players? That is so far from the truth it’s not even funny.

            My point is this, if you do consider yourself a “professional” you should conduct yourself in a more respectful manner when it comes to the work of other pros in your field.

            Your points about someone bitching to a professional cook validate my argument.

            Someone that doesn’t know what a professional chef goes through would bitch about a meal they didn’t like but another professional chef would have the respect and decency to leave it alone. Maybe if you have been in the field for a while and someone asks for your opinion you can point them in the “right” direction. Like you said, art is EXTREMELY subjective and what one person thinks sucks, another could love. So what the hell good does it do to rip someones hard work and disguise it as “constructive” when it’s purely subjective?

            Your examples summed up the general audience and excused that type of behavior among professionals.

  • Nice looking piece of work. But for me it’s the talent in front of the camera that bothers me, the performer has very little screen presence and brings down the level of the visuals.

  • As a short done as a favor and for free this piece is very fine. Indeed.

    That said, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been much better. And if I may, to all those praising this short without limits, let me ask these questions: if this was done by some unknown guy, would you still find it that great (compared to all other Vimeo stuff out there) and if you weren’t related to the singer, would you want to see this clip again, or even till it finishes?

    As a professional creative director I know sometimes ideas look better on paper than what the final result ends up doing. This is one of those cases, and in my opinion it was because the idea was too simple and underdeveloped. Let’s not forget the work to do here was NOT to make a video, but a marketing element to promote a product (a singer/song), and if the result is a video that the targeted audience finds too boring to watch (did a small poll), the producer of the piece hasn’t served the client properly.
    I know this was made for free, but still, those principles always apply and have nothing to do with budget (or lack thereof).

    On a tech side, I saw this short with a DP on a break while shooting a tv commercial, and except for the “strip” and “cinema” scenes, he thought the lighting was terrible, just as I did.
    First off, relying just on practicals and mixing color temperatures is simply calling for disaster. A small dedo with CTB is pretty much useless and LEDs, due to their horrible spikes on the spectrum, make people look like corpses. All that show on terrible skin tones. Besides, aiming lights directly at people is only done on ENG, but NOT on narrative, where everything is CONTROLLED diffusion and bouncing, to provide smooth lighting without harsh shadows or hot spots on skin.
    For a guerilla-shot, there was a pretty healthy crew, which is precisely what you use to hold flags, bed boards, nets, reflectors and diffusers (1stop, 250, 150..) specially on location and on the run. That’s precisely what lighting is all about: to block offending lights, bring shadow and tonalities, separate BK from foreground and most of all, create shape, depth and mood (which you then later finish off with secondaries, while grading). So it’s not only adding lights, but most of all, negative fill and modifying existing light, specially if you don’t have many light instruments at hand.
    All this is never constrained by budget but by knowledge. We all have work for a favor once in a while without much equipment. Haven’t we?

    Anyway, I guess I might be swimming against an overwhelming tide of praisers, but I learnt early on to only listen to criticism, otherwise you never learn.
    As I said at the beginning, the short is fine for something done for free, but so are many of those Vimeo aficionado-shorts, some of them being (to me) better, despite being done with even smaller crews and cheaper gear.

    • I commend you sir for your well-rounded critique. Very refreshing to see someone comment who is not part of the Canon/ wannabe feature film DP circle jerk.

    • Nothing is done for free! There is always an opportunity cost. In this case it’s all about keeping alive a profile. Re: video, the singer has a good voice and I felt the visuals overpowered the delicate melody.

    • Not impressed. At all.

  • I loved the video. The BTS was educative. Liked the way the 1D C was kept in the fridge for the shot. This shows the importance of planning.

    I am stunned by the way people are commenting here. Whereas the traffic might help in bringing revenues, abusive comments is going to drive away good people. If someone would have used the word “hipster friends” to me, I would have been pretty much offended.

    How was it edited? How much time it took and what systems?

  • it’s like when you talk about hipsters and all the hipsters say “we hate hipsters”

  • Thanks for the window Lip. Ive never strayed from News/Corporate shooting. I’m going to give a gas at a music video now. Seems like a great environment to take chances and develop the tool box…

  • Phillip, thanks for putting yourself out there again and posting this, very good. Just a couple of questions re camera in the fridge. I have had experience when I changed temperature / moisture conditions with my camera the lense fogs up, did you have this issue in the fridge. also how did you get a video signal to a monitor outside the fridge?

    Thanks again.
    (A pro who is distracted by another P Bloom post)

  • The burning question to me is… Where did they get that Starfleet issue bathrobe?

  • Peter Kelly on 03.15.13 @ 10:52AM

    Luke I can’t reply to your latest comment for some reason, hopefully you see this.

    Evidently we are not going to agree, I dont think you understand some of my arguments based on your reply. It seems like you have softened your argument substantially from your original comment. You are certainly speaking in a less provocative manner

    To sum up my point of view.

    I think criticism is useful. I think everyone should look to criticise their own work and others (criticism can be good things too) rather then passively watch something.

    I think whether someone listens or takes heed of your criticism is up to them and almost irrelavent.

    I do not think,as you seem to,that you need to be qualified to give criticism. I think that’s a dangerous road to go down. I think everyone is entitled to have an opinion and to voice that opinion.

  • This site honestly has the worst trolls I’ve ever seen on the web. Congrats guys.

    • As soon as someone disagrees with what you think is THE ONLY POSSIBLE FEELING EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE, that person becomes a “troll” huh?

  • NorthAustin on 03.19.13 @ 6:16PM

    Phillip – thanks so much for this generous look at your work and organization; there aren’t many who could have shot this so fast and so well. Boo on those here who crap on things like what is amateur what is color balance, and can’t understand image manipulations away from factory standards (lighten up!) -hope you don’t mind if I ask quick tech questions not covered or visible – what is the fluid head, the monitor, were you shooting with stock firmware, if LED lights, which ones? thanks – I love fast and lightweight shooting and love Wes Anderson. You are brilliant, sir.

  • Daniel Mimura on 03.27.13 @ 3:18PM

    Great video. I especially like the cutting mid-word.

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