Sometimes a job comes along and it feels like the stars have aligned. So when our pals at Yamaha asked if we’d be interested in producing something with our other pals at Cardinal Black, we were already in. Throw in the fact that we’d be filming at Abbey Road, the deal was even sweeter… so of course, we said yes.
The brief was relatively simple. Produce a series of three live-session recordings and an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) for Cardinal Black to use as material for their upcoming debut album ‘January Came Close’. It had been a little while since we’d done a live session and have been meaning to get back to it as it’s in our blood, plus it was simply an opportunity we couldn’t (and didn’t want to) say no to.
Although Yamaha would be picking up the bill, this was definitely band-first content. It was all about the music and showing off Cardinal Black doing their thing. We wanted to create a sense of energy that was as if people were having a front row, widescreen experience and get hit with so much soul they forgot they were watching a video.
We stripped back the theatrics and gimmicks and went for a style which is commonly considered ‘constructed naturalism’. Using cinemascope lenses and warm accent lights (and a touch of flare) we aimed to create a classy timelessness that was unmistakably live at Abbey Road. If we were going to be filming at such an iconic location, you betcha we were gonna show it off!
We used three dedicated camera ops who captured the action from various angles with a mix of stabilised and hand-held camerawork to match the energy and could be stitched together into edits that kept the pace of the original songs with a high-end production aesthetic that didn’t try and overstate itself.
We were shooting three performances as well as material for the EPK, so going in we knew there was a lot to get in one day and would have to run a tight ship. Luckily, things were pretty smooth sailing and the only slight hiccup was having to make a last-minute pivot as multiple takes for an 8-minute song at the end of the day would cause too much strain on the vocalist and so we opted for a single take version instead. Gotta look after those pipes!
This project was a simple joy to work on and definitely one from the bucket list crossed off.
Great shoot. Great crew. Great stuff.