Sunday, October 13, 2013

A week with Lorde

     This past week, I've had the pleasure of shooting for singer/songwriter Lorde - New Zealand's first solo artist to have a number one song in the United States. Her first single, "Royals" hit number one on New Zealand's top 40 after it's release on November 22, 2012, and became number one on Billboard Hot 100 soon after. Her début album, Pure Heroine, was released this past month, September 27th 2013.

     Director Seth Hagenstein was approached to direct this video segment for Vevo - a segment that would include interviews, as well as live performance footage. Our week consisted of traveling with Ella to three of her performances in New York. Two of these performances were held at Webster Hall, NYC, and one at the Warsaw, Brooklyn. Given that I had never heard Ella's music before, it was great to hear a few tunes and know you're in for a week of good music.

     For the three live performances we shot, we had about five camera operators on average as crew - Mike Mastroserio, Kevin Huang, Casey Stein, Matt Fleischmann, and myself. We had an RED Epic on stage most of the time to capture slow motion footage, a C300 to capture the master shot for the first performance, then the front-row-center for the second, and DSLR's (5D mkIII, 5D mkII and a 7D) to cover the rest of the coverage such as crowd reactions and detail shots.

     Lorde's performance was difficult to capture on video because of how dark the stage was throughout the show. The stage lighting was very minimal with two tungsten 650s' downstage right and left to illuminate Ella, and three Skypans' left to right upstage that had LEDs bouncing into them, allowing full control of color and intensity. Every once in a while, the stage would be lit up by a whole arrangement of lights behind the band, but this only happened for maybe 30% of particular songs. After the first night of shooting Lorde's performance, new positioning of camera operators for the next two nights was taken into consideration to get the most out of what lighting was provided to us.

     When we weren't organizing to shoot Lorde live, our time was spent capturing time-lapses of New York City or prepping to get an interview with Ella. With the insane schedule Ella had, running back and forth between Good Morning America, Jimmy Fallon and the RIAA to receive her certification for platinum record, we found that you're not always guaranteed to get an interview with an artist that has such a high profile. Because of this, we decided to prep to interview Ella on the rooftop of the Hudson Hotel, the very hotel she was staying in. By making her interview spot so convenient, we were more likely to get the time we needed with her. I believe this also made her relaxed, knowing that she's an elevator ride away from a quick nap, or a bit of lounging.

Prepping for an interview with Ella on the rooftop of the Hudson Hotel.

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