Filming ‘Botany Bay’ with Kelly Oliver

Filming ‘Botany Bay’ with Kelly Oliver

Like a lot of shoots, this one was initially all about the location search.

After hearing a demo version of the title-track from Kelly Oliver’s new album, I had a fairly fixed idea in my head about the type of place I wanted to shoot in.  We had a great location virtually locked down when a number of unforeseen events (including snow!) conspired against us, so we ended up having to look elsewhere.  Fortunately, I was able to source another similar ‘oldey-worldey’ looking place in Northampton.  In the end it was probably a better choice.

We had such great fun filming on the day.  As well as being lovely to work with, Kelly was a real trouper; although we were filming in April, it was actually really cold (little did we know we’d been facing the start of a heatwave just a few weeks later).  We shot multiple takes of Kelly performing the track that we then chopped together for the final video, interspersed with a little bit of narrative about the black and white photo. Helen would dash in with Kelly’s coat at the end of each take as we tried to avoid her freezing!

We have no idea who the guy in the black and white photo in the video is by the way; me and Helen found the photo the week before in a craft fair and thought it might work for the shoot.  On the day of the shoot we kept affectionately referring to him as Uncle Albert.  My original idea was that Kelly would burn the photo at the end of the video, but Helen reined me in on health and safety grounds.  Probably for the best!

Virtually everything we shot was on the Canon 80D, 35mm lens at 25fps and using a Neutral picture style and ambient light.  I used a variable ND filter for some of the outside stuff.  Post production was all in Premiere Pro with a standard curve applied across the whole video.  I tend to colour grade clips in photoshop using a still grabbed from the video and then port them across to Premiere Pro as a LUT.

A couple of clips were processed using After Effects, just to do some cloning on background distractions.  There are a few lighting effect overlays used throughout the video which are fairly easy to spot.  There’s also a more subtle effect…in the shots of Kelly sitting with her guitar leaning against the wall, the dust particles you can see were added in post.  I also used a couple of speed ramps during the introduction; perhaps a bit contemporary for a trad folk video, but there aren’t any rules about that as far as I’m aware!

Oh, I must give a shout out to Transluceo (Emilie), who as well as being a bad-ass photographer is also a French-speaker.  There’s a little bit in the video where some french text scrolls down; I thought it looked cool but I asked Emilie if she could check it to make sure it didn’t say something rude!

We had a bit of wait before the video was released to the world, but it was worth it.  Folk Radio premiered the video on September 3rd.

Kelly’s album is great…check it out on spotify, itunes or bandcamp.

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