Pre-Production/ Conceptualisation of ‘Oh Baby’
The video for ‘Oh Baby’ started off back in May 2011, when Fabian Gillick himself, a local musician and solo artist from Cavan, contacted me about the possibility of working on a video to accompany one of his newest songs ‘Oh Baby’. Having worked with Fabian before during the shooting of ‘Mr. Snooze’ (He’s the bass player on the boat early in the video), we both had some ideas for a visual representation of the song and discussed a few different possibilities over the following weeks.
Fabian Gillick himself before shoot
Towards the end of July, after disscussing the video with Fabian and going over some ideas he had for the video, i locked myself in a room for a few days, replaying the song, attempting to visualise it on screen. After a while i put some ideas i had together with some of Fabians and drew up a short storyboard for an initial idea of a kidnapping-based story, set from the point of view of a kidnapped girl (Fabians girlfriend Mellisa) being brought to an unknown location, only for it to turn out to be a live concert hosted by her boyfriend, culminating in a happy ending. This was the original idea for the video which both myself and Fabian discussed early on. However, although this suited the tempo and fast moving feeling of the song, it was agreed that this may be a bit dark for the most part, and the proposed concert at the end of the video may be difficult to organise in terms of casual access to a location, availability of extras at short notice and without set days for shooting to work with. At this point however, we did get offers from locals who had heard of the project and were willing to turn up. We were also offered the use of a local theatre for a location. However, it was deemed unfair to hold these contacts on an unknown deadline as we ourselves found it difficult to set solid dates for shoots with such hectic shedules between us. It was decided instead to start fresh and begin with a more simplistic, streamlined concept for the video, allowing for a more flexible calender of shoots ahead.
Melissa and Olivia preparing for shoot
By the beginning of August, with other projects out of the way and more free time opening around my shop assistant job, i could dedicate some time to organizing pre-production work to the video. Although there was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the video and some local Cavan artists and friends began actively seeking to get parts in the video, we first needed a solid idea for how the video would go story-wise. From the start, it was set that i would shoot and edit the video in its entirety, while also Fabian and his girlfriend Melissa would play the leading parts of the leading male and female parts. As this was Fabians song, and him being a solo artist, it was also set that any performance material appearing in the video would be performed by him alone. These set roles were decided early on as it would keep the logistics of shooting scenes simple and require less time with fewer individuals involved during shooting. As well as this, with most of Fabian’s and Melissa’s time occupied with work and other projects, and meself working and starting a new semester at college soon, it was better to keep things smaller, simpler and at the same time easier to change if needed.
A bit of harsh rejection mid-lyric
Soon, a new concept began to come together. Fabian and i played some ideas off each other and came up with an simple idea about a guy dumped/rejected by his girlfriend, and with the video consisting of his attempts to win her back, being continually rejected, and hopefully ending with her taking him back. This idea worked best as it was simple, very open and interchangeable. As it would mainly consist of a series of these attempts, it would provide the ability to shoot scenes at more suitable times depending on who would be available for shoots, as well as the ability to add or remove scenes later on and not ruin the progression of the story from beginning to end. With a final concept for the video, i then hurriedly set about drawing up storyboards for possible scenes and a comprehensive list of actors, locations and materials needed for shoots.
Once the basic story and scenes were planned out on paper, we gathered some local characters and friends willing to play parts in the video or help out on shoots. As there would be no set list of dates for shooting due to time and logistics, we instead informed these individuals that they would be contacted shortly before a shoot.
Production/ Shooting of ‘Oh Baby’
Day 1 of shooting
Finally, by the middle of August (Sorry i dont have exact dates, im going by file history here), day 1 of shooting started on location in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan for the opening scenes of the video set along a quiet country laneway.
Fabian running circles
Here, most of the shots consisted of the two girls walking along the lane towards the camera, the camera moving backwards with the help of Fabian’s van and our excellent driver! (And i managed not to fall off/out of the van while shooting …High five!).
Rachel Faulkner our day 1 driver, prepares for the next shot
Other shots had Fabian jumping out singing the song to Mellisa, which had to be taken again and again, some failed due to traffic, all in order to ensure successful shots of matching lip-syncing were obtained. With patches of rain all day, occasional traffic (Sunday was the quietest day we could get on that lane!), and countless takes, we eventually managed to gather most of the shots needed for the first few scenes. As the first day, it was a long day, but the shots came out great.
Preparing for the next take
Day 2 of shooting took place the following weekend, again in Ballyhaise at the same location, for scenes involving the mobile phone toss and pick up. This was shot quickly as it was fairly simple. The excerption being that we only had one of the two girls present that day so it had to appear as though both were there (However, its clear to see Mellisa has two different hairstyles in both scenes **continuity!**).
Romeo with an electric
The rest of the shoot took place at the nearby house we had permmision to use. here we shot the serenade scene where Fabian sings to Mellisa’s window from the garden below. In fact there were two different versions of this scene shot: one with an acoustic guitar and one with an electric guitar and amplifier. This was because we were still due to shoot the live performance scenes and were unsure which type of guitar to use. In the end it was decided to use the electric as it matched the energy and loudness of the song. A guitar and amplifier combo also provided a more visually appealing look.
Melissa enjoying her booky-wook
Day 3 of shooting took place a few weeks later at the start of September, in Fabian’s and Mellisa’s shared flat in Cavan. Here we shot some of the indoor scenes including; the book throwing scene, where Fabian sings to Mellisa from a wardrobe while she reads; and the T.V. scene, where he appears on T.V. singing to her. The flashing clip of Fabian singing here was shot later on day 5 and added to the T.V. screen using Final Cut.
Not available on RTE...
Here's one I made earlier...
Day 4 took place towards the end of September at 3 different locations. First we shot a short scene in Fabians flat again where he appears drawing a picture of himself and Mellisa (Not drawn by himself!) to win her over.
Crisps & a hat
We then managed to gather two local artists (It being a Sunday morning, they were clearly suffering from an eventful night before), who were willing to play the parts of two would-be romeos vying to win Mellisa over. This scene was actually unscripted or planned in anyway, but instead just put together on the spot.
The basic idea was for Fabian to stroll in to a bar with his new drawing, intending to show Mellisa, only to discover her enjoying single life and two opposing men. An unplanned scene, which played out well and made it into the final cut.
The third scene shot this day was shot at Daragh Slacke’s family home where we shot a short scene involving a mysterious character named ‘The Sheik’, arriving to bring Mellisa on a date, and passing a screaming Fabian by the roadside as they go.
On day 5, after shooting some unrelated live performance footage of Fabian by Lough Oughter (Available to view on Youtube/ Vimeo), we shot some live performances of the song with Fabian. A few different versions were shot, such as flashing lighting, warm lighting, close-ups, wide shots, etc; so as to offer a variety of shots when incorporating them into the video later on in editing.
The final day of shooting, day 6, took place in Fabian’s flat again, and on a small roundabout on the outskirts of Cavan Town. At the flat, scenes were shot outside and inside consisting of Fabian arriving at Mellisa’s door with wine and flowers (There was a shortage of teddy bears and puppies), to finally win her over. Additional shots of Mellissa inside answering the door were also shot.
The rest of the day of shooting was given over to a live performance of ‘Oh Baby’ on a quiet roundabout outside Cavan Town (By a nursing home …we were relatively quiet!). 2 takes of the performance were shot from inside a van circling round the roundabout, driven by our resident stunt driver Ciaran.
The magic roundabout
This last scene i am probably the most happy with as it manages to give the overall video a sense of energy and fast movement, matching the feeling of the song it accompanies. I love the way all the scenes came out in the end, but the roundabout scene i think came out best.
Live! On a roundabout near you!
The “How I Misplaced My Girlfriend” **Short** short film…
As a little farewell to last day of shooting the music video, and a reward to Ciaran’s excellent work as stunt driver, we then put together a short piece about Mellisa being kidnapped and rushed past Fabian (It was thought it could possibly be worked into the actual music video somehow). It was mainly shot for fun, because i had more tape space and we all had a little more free time, so we shot some simple little shots to make a short, comedic narrative.
As i edited the main music video later on, as much as i wanted to incorporate this short into the video, it just didnt fit the overall narrative and so i edited it separately as a short ode to the silent film comedies of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. I hope to have this available to view as an accompaning feature to the final edit of ‘Oh Baby’.
Post-Production/ Editing ‘Oh Baby’
As the first half of producing the ‘Oh Baby’ music video came to a close, i now had to begin the intensive editing of footage. Luckily, i had been sifting footage as i shot it after each day of shooting and subsequent capturing on to hard drive. After each day of shooting, the footage would be captured to a collective folder where footage was divided into order of ‘days of shooting’, i would then set about looking through all the clips shot and label them accordingly, making it easier to know what footage i am looking for later. Opened in Final Cut, i would then cut out the best pieces of footage and organise them into a rough edit, on an individual sequence, where i could access a roughly completed scene when editing a complete sequence later on. Shortly after the last day of shooting, by mid September, i had a first ‘Rough edit’ put together compiling individual edits of each scene or performance, ready for a more detailed edit.
Unfortunately, it was the beginning of the new year of 2012 until i managed to return to this project. As a personal project and one with no set deadline or financial gain, my college studies had to take priority and as such, the ‘Oh Baby’ video had to be set aside so i could work on my academic studies and college-related projects. With the new year, i finally had a decent amount of free time, and with a current college project possibly linking to the video, i set about working on a new edit of the video.
Using the rough edits i had put together, again with Final Cut, i now set about slicing and dicing the various edits, condensing them down, and putting them together, using the original storyboards as a guide. It was at this time, i created a more accurate edit of the performance footage shot on the roundabout and the hallway, in order to ensure the facial gestures in the footage synced up with the vocals of the song (without this, the footage would loose believability with viewers). With the performance footage fine tuned, i compiled it in a final edit with the various scenes edited. With the scenes now layered with the audio, the scenes now had to be synched and clipped so they fitted the beat and tempo of the song, and allowed for a reasonable amount of performance footage to show through. To finally add a contrast between the narrative scenes and performances, i then shifted the over-lying tint of the two pieces to two different colours. This helps the viewer distinguish between performance to the camera and acted scenes for the narrative. This was done while colour correction was carried out on all visible clips. Colour correction refines the ‘look’ of footage, drawing out elements and making it less ‘flat’ looking.
In terms of special effects used, in comparison to my last music video ‘Mr.Snooze’, there is hardly none at all, only a cropped clip of a T.V. allowing footage of Fabian singing to punch through on-screen. As stated before, the idea of this video was to reigh it back and keep it relatively simple. Although, i did have some ideas earlier on for additional special effects; such as a live performance shot on green screen; and some play on movement between two scenes using green screen; i do think keeping the video simpler has made it more believable and endearing.
Reflection & Thanks
Overall, and looking back as i write the terribly belated blog post on the making of this video, im glad i said yes that day back in May. It was sometimes stressfull, with uncooperative Irish weather, countless takes (sorry guys!) and long hours organising and editing footage; but it was enormous fun, all the guys involved in shoots didnt stress out and played around with things, having fun and coming up with some amazing ideas. Thanks to Fabian Gillick for asking me to do his first music video (i hope its up to scratch dude!), to Mellisa Smith for being an amazing first-time actress (i still have all those out-takes!), Oliva Smith for walking up and down that laneway in Ballyhaise for us, Rachael Faulkner for doing driving for us the first day of shooting, the lads Ray Fitzsimons and Daragh Slacke for acting for us in the bar while being very *tired*, ‘The Sheik’ for honoring us with his deadpan acting talents, Ciaran the stunt driver for the dramatic driving, to Paul and Eamonn from DKiT for offering to accommodate those lost green screen shoots for the video, Sharon at The Gonzo Theatre for offering to accommodate our lost concert scene, and finally; for Cavan …for just being awesome!
Tensions high on shoot
Melissa points out the camera...
Daragh Slacke - Happy face
Ray Fitzsimons - Happy face
Oliva Smith prepares for laneway shoot
Ciaran O'Brien - The stunt driver
Thanks for helping out guys!
At the time of this posting, the video for ‘Oh Baby’ is not yet available to view online as it is still being fine tuned. But dont worry! It WILL be available online through video sharing sites YouTube and Vimeo very soon, with an update posted here when its ready. So stay posted! Until then, heres some recent live performances by the Fabian at Lough Oughter:
Fabian Gillick – ‘The Holy Day’ (Live by Lough Oughter)
Fabian Gillick – ‘Rudeman’ (Live by Lough Oughter)
Fabian Gillick – ‘Dead and Gone’ (Live by Lough Oughter):
Also, the **Short** short film “How I Misplaced My Girlfriend” will also be available to view shortly following some further tweaks. Slan!