Legendary music video director Kevin Godley was commissioned to help Charlotte Church’s creative rebirth with an innovative video for the single ‘Back to Scratch’. Godley, and DoP George Tiffin tell of a white room and eight Canon EOS DSLR cameras.
Godley was a founder member of 10cc and in the 1980s became famous for producing innovative music videos for Duran Duran, The Police, Yes, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Essentially a performance video, in ‘Back to Scratch’ Charlotte Church inhabits an almost perfectly white space, save for a set of ‘portholes’, that she gazes into and which record what she’s doing. But the 360° environment means Church is covered from all angles, surrounded.
Kevin Godley reveals: “We created a 360° white environment and shot from eight different camera positions using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D cameras. So, we ended up with eight views of Charlotte at the same time. And we shot those eight views from three different angles; so we started low, moved to the middle and then the top.”
“The idea had been kicking around for a while, but I’d not really managed to pull it off. I guess the technology hadn’t arrived to allow me to do it before. But in the back of my mind, I had the idea that digital video using EOS might be the way to make it work.”
Among the challenges facing the ‘Back to Scratch’ team was how to achieve Godley’s vision in a way that made it achievable in a one-day shoot and within the confines of the £60,000 budget.
Godley admits to just two difficult areas with the production: the first being the number of cameras; the second the data they produced. “As we had eight cameras obviously we needed eight monitors in order to see what each camera was seeing. It made the set look like NASA mission control! What’s great is the convenience, the size, and the fact that it’s instantaneous. The quality trade-off isn’t that much between 35mm and HD on these DSLRs and it suited our shoot perfectly.”
The ‘Back to Scratch’ team also made use of Canon L-series lenses, notably the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM, but also the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and the original EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM zoom. “We used zooms because we wanted to be able to get different shot sizes, but we were careful to exactly match the effective focal length within the zoom range that we had,” says Tiffin.
Godley says the completed video: “lived up to my expectations for it.” A sign, perhaps, of a director who has caught the EOS filmmaking bug: “I definitely want do more with High Definition video on DSLRs.”
Find out more about the shoot on the Canon website here.