Taking Me Over music video
One of the aims of this project was to produce something atmospheric and cinematic, almost like the viewer was watching a trailer for a (indie) feature film. We set out to experiment with our visual storytelling and me, personally, with my cinematography in particular.
4th Project is an Electro Soul band formed by vocalist Kathleen Fitzpatrick Milton, pianist Jack Drewry and guitarist Rowan Evans. Their music is an integration of soulful vocals with keyboard, electric guitar, beat boxing and live electronics. Their lyrics of their latest track ‘Taking Me Over’ describe being taken over by a relationship, whilst also being taken back over repetitive patterns of breaking up and getting back together. We wanted to play out both these elements in the music video and experimented with light and shadow to show this. We were interested in the contrast between empty places and places that felt claustrophobic and the visual metaphor of the bridge; a structure that can simultaneously take you over, and go over you.
SHOOT DAY ONE
As is often the way with the projects we do for passion, time was tight. We only had a few days to tell a story about a relationship that felt authentic - and our two actors hadn’t even met each other yet!
Our first evening was spent shooting a live performance from the band in their back garden. The band invited all their friends and threw a party. Keyboards, amps and microphones were moved outside. Production designer Oliver Harman covered the garden in fairy lights. A fire was lit, and the band started to play.
After a few beers, and a falafel dinner from the band’s favourite pit-stop down the road, everyone was dancing and laughing. It was the perfect way to start and gave Lara and Bernie a chance to get to know one another and hear some of the band’s music. Directing the ‘extras’ got both easier and more tricky after a few beers - and inhibitions - had disappeared!
SHOOT DAY TWO
The next morning was spent filming intimate moments with the couple in the band’s house and eco-house next door. It was good Lara and Bernie had had the chance to break the ice the night before because we were now asking them to kiss and cuddle like they’d known each other for years. Both actors were true professionals and approached everything with good humour and a willingness to try things that we couldn’t have made the film without!
We brought on freelance movement director Maisie Newman to stylise some of the physicality to make sure each of our shots was as interesting as it could be. As there is no speaking, the actor’s physicality was very important for telling the story. This involved a lot of experimenting. We’d planned some of what we wanted to do with the actors in advance but many of our best moments were unplanned and came from being with the actors on location, trying things out.
Then, after another lunch of falafel, it was off to St Werburgh's to set off smoke bombs in a tunnel, whilst trying not to alert the police or concern any trains travelling over the top! A few hours later; no train crashes caused, and we could call it a success. We were pleased to discover an abandoned caravan closeby which made for a great bonus location.
SHOOT DAY THREE
Our final evening started on a roof terrace in Clifton for sunset. A regrettable mix-up in postcodes meant that our fantastic stills photographer David Gillett - who had been documenting the shoot whilst Remco was tied up with a Ronin rig - ended up adding a few more kilometres to his cycle... He arrived, rosy-cheeked and very understanding, claiming that it was all training for the massive bike ride he was going on the next day… what a lovely guy!
We captured some beautiful shots of Lara dancing in front of the city lights and then we were off again. It was nearly midnight by the time we reached our final location: an empty shipyard on Bristol harbourside. Despite the long day, Lara and Bernie threw themselves into the shoot, taking every direction we gave; whether that was kissing, running, fighting or crying. Fake tears were provided by our makeup artist Julia Harrison, who was with us throughout the shoot, and both a delight to have on set and a truly talented artist.
SHOOT DAY FOUR
After we’d said goodbye to everyone, we spent an additional evening exploring the back streets around Temple Meads Station and Lawrence Hill, looking for some final atmospheric shots which would give our music video a wider sense of scope.
In our shots of Lara and Bernie, we’d been experimenting with light and shadow, using these elements to show the contrasting sides of a relationship. We continued these themes in our atmospheric shots, grabbing shots of car headlights, streetlights and shadows.
We were also interested in the contrast between empty places and places that feel claustrophobic. One of our favourite transitions in the final video is a shot of Lara with the light disappearing off her face followed by a shot of an empty tunnel. The juxtaposition of these two shots neatly combines our visual themes in a way that is evocative and powerful. We also used the visual metaphor of a bridge; a structure that can simultaneously take you over something and go over the top of you.
It was then all down to the edit and the grade; snatching time wherever we could in-between our other shoots to tweak and play with our shots, until they told a story we were happy with. We’re pleased with the final video and hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it. It was excellent to work with a Lara, Bernie, 4th Project, Oliver, Julia and David. This film was a true collaboration with a talented team; full of fun, creativity, experimentation and falafel - all the things we like best.
Featuring Lara Olutunmogun and Bernie Gomm.
Written and directed by Anna Hoghton & Remco Merbis.
Cinematography by Remco Merbis.
Movement direction by Maisie Newman.
Grade and edit by Remco Merbis.
Hair and make-up by Julia Harrison.
Production design by Oliver Harman.
Production assistance and still photography by David Gillett.
Music Written and Recorded by 4th Project - www.4thproject.co.uk
Mixed and Mastered by Robbie Stamp at Sandpit Studios, Bristol - www.sandpitstudio.co.uk
Vocals - Kathleen Fitzpatrick Milton
Piano/Keyboards - Jack Drewry
Guitars - Rowan Evans