Blake Calhoun shot and directed this music video for Bart Van Bemme, combining footage from a RED Weapon, Canon XC10 and iPhone 8 Plus, and using FilmConvert to create a seamless, unified look. Check out his thoughts on the filming process and behind-the-scenes of how they pulled it off.
Blake Calhoun interview
Give us a bit of detail about yourself – background, profession, how you got into filmmaking and your current role
I’m primarily a director/editor who sometimes writes, produces and shoots – depending on the project! I’ve been making films professionally for the past 15 or so years. I’ve directed indie feature films, short films and had some success in the digital series world, too. I produced & directed a digital series for Warner Bros. Television and executive producer McG, and another one for actress/producer Felicia Day and Lionsgate. Beyond the narrative fiction work, I also direct and edit commercials and do corporate work, too.
Tell us about your film – how did it come about?
It’s a music video for a song from indie singer/songwriter Bart Van Bemmel. The song is called “What If We Run” and was produced by Alex Gerst (who produces Ellie Goulding and Andre 3000).
Bart is not only a very talented musician but a filmmaker as well and so I knew him from his film work. I had consulted with him on a few digital series projects in the past and we stayed in touch, although I hadn’t talked to him in a while. Then recently I got a message from him that we had a new song releasing soon and was interested in talking about a music video. So I listened to the song and thought it was great and signed on to direct it.
How did you find out about FilmConvert?
I’ve used FilmConvert for years. Was a pretty early adopter actually. I think I first heard about it from Philip Bloom probably 8 years ago? Maybe more.
Why did you decide to use FilmConvert for this particular project? What are the themes or emotions that made getting a ‘film look’ necessary?
I tend to use FilmConvert on pretty much every video I do these days. At least the ones I want to look the most cinematic. And so with a music video like this, I wanted to give it a filmic look while using modern digital cameras and glass. And importantly, I was matching three different cameras. We shot on a RED Weapon with the 6K Dragon sensor (and Rokinon Cine primes), an iPhone 8 Plus (using FiLMiC Pro flat) and a Canon XC10 (using Canon Log). The RED was used as the main wide shot and A camera. The iPhone we did all the gimbal shots with and then the XC10 we used for some b-roll shots.
What was the particular look or style you were going for with your video?
It was shot on a white cyc stage and so it’s a stark look with a mix of black & white and color. Clean and simple, yet feels kind of epic in parts because of the camera movement and the compositing we did (in conjunction with the song).
What settings, film stock, camera profiles, and tweaks did you use in FilmConvert?
We used Premiere Pro and After Effects for editing, color grading, and VFX. In Premiere, we used a mix of Lumetri Color, some LUTs, and FilmConvert. FilmConvert was used the most on the iPhone footage. There we graded each shot and used FJ H400 Pro 80% Film Color, 90% Curve and 0% Grain. And the Camera Setting was on Apple iPhone Standard.
We shot using FiLMiC Pro Flat, but we used a LUT to do the initial correction and so that was the best-looking setting. For the other cameras, we used an adjustment layer and added a very subtle look using RED Dragon Camera Setting with KD 5207 Vis3 and only Film Color 25% (not on the b&w footage though). So ultimately it was a mix of all these tools to allow us to match the cameras, but FilmConvert really helped tie everything together and add the polish.
What other effects or tweaking did you use?
We did some masking in Premiere Pro, motion tracking and compositing in After Effects and we also used Red Giant Denoiser on a few shots and Cosmo, too (iPhone footage primarily).