Feature Music Video Editing

Making Music Video Magic

Director Andrew Colton captures the music video for Plan for Panic’s “I’m Sorry” with Blackmagic Design’s URSA Mini 4.6K, and uses DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio and DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel for post

When it comes to music videos, filmmaker Andrew Colton knows that time is of the essence. With each music video having a different story to convey, there’s only a few minutes to set the tone, introduce the characters, and bring the story from beginning to end. The videos’ shoots are also short on time, with the artists often traveling due to touring or recording schedules. There’s no room for error or something will have to be cut, leaving the video’s story incomplete.

Having worked with artists ranging from chart topping stars to up-and-coming independent acts, Colton is used to the hectic schedules that come with music video storytelling. He put this knowledge to good use when he recently took the reins for alternative rock band Plan for Panic’s new song, “I’m Sorry.”

According to Colton, “‘I’m Sorry’ is a love song about remorse for unintentionally putting loved ones through tough times. The music video is about the masks we wear in our everyday lives, especially with those that we love. Ultimately, it’s meant to show that even after removing your mask, those around you who truly matter will love you for who you are.”

“We were on a time crunch because the band was flying in from New York City,” continues Florida-based Colton. “We knew going in that time would be tight, so we planned around that, creating our own sets in studio instead of wasting time by having to travel to different locations. In addition to saving time, using our own location also helped deliver the overall look we were going for. As a director, I’ve found that instead of trying to make another location work to fit your vision, sometimes it’s better to just build your own.”

For example, Colton had a vision for the music video of the main actress walking down a hallway while arms and faces reached through the walls to try to grab her.

“We were able to achieve that by building a hallway in our studio that was lined with white spandex instead of walls. While we could have shot that elsewhere and created the same effects later through VFX, we were able to do it with practical effects here in the studio, saving us time and delivering the exact look we wanted,” he explains.

Lighting It Up

According to Colton, “Creative lighting is extremely crucial in music videos like this where you’re really trying to convey a mood or a message. We used a mix of 2K tungsten lights with a reflector, four PAR lights hooked up to a controller to give flashing backlights, and an LED soft light giving off lightning effects. The different lights showed contrast and mood through different color temperatures, creating a sense of danger for certain moments.”

Colton captured everything with an URSA Mini 4.6K, his go-to camera for shooting music videos.

“Lighting for darkness is always a challenge with any cinema camera, but by using the URSA Mini 4.6K’s false color and zebra settings, I could tell exactly where my hot spots were and how much more fill I needed. The camera made it easy to check my exposure, so I was able to adjust quickly on set to keep production moving,” says Colton.

Colton shot the music video in RAW so he’d have more latitude in post, for which he used DaVinci Resolve 15 to edit, grade and do select VFX, while also using a DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel for grading.

“I shoot everything in RAW nowadays since having that additional control in post is key for me. I find everything is much cleaner when I have the ability to work with the truest form of the footage I can get straight from the camera,” explains Colton. “By using the URSA Mini 4.6K and DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio together, there was a seamless flow between production and post”

Making it Punch in Post

“Being able to keep all the footage in one software platform across the full spectrum of post production helps me avoid exporting and any unwanted accidental compression that sometimes happens when crossing too many platforms,” Colton explains. “I’ve completely made the switch to doing all of my editing in DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio now, from start to finish, which saves me a ton of time. This is true for editing music videos, which can have very fast paced cuts and effects, but also for editing my high-end commercial work where everything has to be smooth and perfect.”

Before & After

Colton continues, “When grading, I love having the ability to get to a decent starting point within the RAW properties before moving on to primaries. Using the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel has completely switched me over to using the color wheels since it’s so smooth using the trackballs. I also frequently rely on DaVinci Resolve Studio’s noise removal feature, and with the version 15 update I love its new tool for browsing LUTs in real-time.”

While Colton didn’t previously have a lot of experience with VFX, he was able to make a quick fix for the music video using DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio’s new Fusion page.

“In the video, there’s a scene where the actress gets dragged out of the frame, and it unfortunately revealed some unpleasant wrinkles in the cloth below her. By jumping from DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio’s Edit page to the Fusion page, I was able to remove the wrinkles myself by tracking some cloned paint marks in a matter of minutes,” Colton concludes.

For a look behind the scenes on the music video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEpxgqp2P5Q. To see the full music video for Plan for Panic’s “I’m Sorry,” visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R785FHjtPXc.

About Andrew Colton

From a very young age, Andrew Colton knew his passion was rooted in making videos. After getting very serious about honing his craft at the age of 17, he decided to make cinematography a full-time career at the age of 24. He began directing for local South Florida artists, as well as successfully competing in several 48-hour film festivals. 

In 2010, he started freelance work for MTV, Billboard, BET, ESPN, and in more recent years, he completed work on his first feature film, “The Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil”. Bolstered by his strong work ethic, dedication and drive, Andrew prides himself on his ability to see an artist’s vision and sculpt it into a collaboration without losing its original integrity. He looks forward to expanding his horizons in 2018 in both directing music videos, as well as feature films while staying true to his extraordinary talent and vision.

For more information, visit https://www.coltonvisuals.com.

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