I had a completely new experience this week: shooting a music video. The band I play with, The Dixie Bee-Liners, has a new album coming out on November 3rd called Susanville. The opening track and first single (whatever that means in bluegrass) is called "Heavy" and that's the song we filmed.
We shot the video out at Norm's River Roadhouse, a bar and music venue west of Nashville, TN. We filmed from 1:00 p.m-10:30 p.m. I've done a small amount of television work (behind the scenes, not in front of the camera) so it was no surprise that it took that long to film a three-and-a-half minute song. I think Norm was a little surprised, though, that we were still packing up when 11:30 rolled around.
We shot in two locations---in the woods out by the river that runs behind Norm's property, and inside on his basement stage. We weren't recording audio (since the song from the CD will be the soundtrack), just the picture, so we played along to the CD, piped through speakers, each time we did a take. Over the course of the day we probably played the tune (or mimed the tune) no less than forty times. The next day my forearm was sore from rubbing against the armrest (I'm doing a strummy thing rather than actual three-finger picking on the song) and both my index and middle finger nails were noticeably worn down.
In each location we did four or five takes (well, inside on stage it was closer to ten) where Chris (the guy with the camera) would get wide shots of the band. Then we'd do it at least six more times for closeups---once for each band member. When we came inside to shoot, the extras that we'd recruited (our local friends and students) acted as our crowd so it would look like an actual show instead of us playing to an empty basement, which would have looked lame.
One of our friends from the band Cadillac Sky, David Mayfield, came to help and he was the one who pushed the button to start the music at the top of each take. Toward the end of the night it got a little silly. During one pass he beatboxed along with the track, to our great amusement.
No word yet on when the video will be ready for viewing, but as soon as it's up where you can watch it, I'll let you know.
One final note for the detail-oriented among you. I'm not on the album itself since I just joined the band in August. The banjo on the CD is played by Sam Morrow, but on this track you can hardly hear the banjo at all anyway.