Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Archive for the ‘music’ Category

240+ Filmmaking Links, Tutorials & Knowledge (2013)

Posted by Phil On November - 9 - 2013

Filming Rolling Stones

Posted by Phil On July - 17 - 2013

Why I don’t really like the Rolling Stones.

I recently watched the Rolling Stones performance at Glastonbury on BBC  IPlayer and read that the BBC/ Stones negotiations had been difficult.  Finally only a very much shortened version had been allowed to be transmitted, without the best numbers    This brought back memories of similar problems I’d had directing the  filming of  them years ago for the Beeb.

Rolling stones logo-small

My Rolling Stones sweatshirt

After months of negotiations we arrived at the football stadium with the film crews  (this was actual film not video) to discover that we were only allowed to film three numbers from their set. 

It was a very hot day and I remember sitting in the dusty  lane outside the turnstyles with the irritated cameramen as we waited to hear what we were going to be allowed to shoot.

Various Stones flunkies appeared and disappeared. as we sent messages.  “Satisfaction?” …”no”  “Brown Sugar?”  “no?”
“This was before the days of emails, so we showed copies of the correspondence, none of which had given any limitations in what we could film, but it transpired that the Stones were deeply suspiscious of  BBC crews as they  didn’t want the BBC to build up an archive of  all the Rolling Stones tracks.

Dave Pritchard, the producer,  was furious and at some level in the Stones management, they accepted that we had been misled. So they came up with a placatory offer. “How about an interview with Mick Jagger”

Dave was delighted, but we had no presenter with us. “Phil, can you figure out what to ask him?”
So I sat in the dust and weeds and tried to work out what to ask him.  What do you ask someone who’s been interviewed so many times.? I hadn’t any idea what they had been doing recently or even the names of recent albums.   It would be terrible to get a great opportunity like this and blow it on crass questions.

Moral – Always do your research!

It was intensely hot, we had no water, as we stuck in between the outer and inner security.

1. “How’s the tour going? ”  No..far too obvious.  He must have been asked that a million times.
2. “Do you still get the same excitement performing live?”

..and so on.       

I eventually worked out 10 questions.   ..just as the news came back.  “The interview’s off.”

So finally ringed by security we trudged though under the stage as they played above us. I had a splitting headache  from the heat. It felt like we were going to a public execution .

Setting up in fornt of the stage , the music was so loud, the cameramen couldn’t hear anything I said. Our minders wouldn’t let us film the audience.   They didn’t want me to go from camera to camera. We hadn’t been allowed to see the stage before, figure out good angles .  So the cameraman just busked it. The stage was so huge you couldn’t get a shot of the whole band.  So we mostly ended up with multiple shots of Mick Jagger. From my point of point of view it was a complete mess.

We used the footage. It wasn’t great.

So the Rolling Stones are not my favourite band   …but I did buy  a T shirt  ……..and kept the list of questions for years after.


Update: I found a couple of photos I took that day.

Mick Jagger at Bristol 2Mick Jagger



I got  a nice comment and questions from  Jan Hawranke in Canada about my recent Buble Magic Video.

“I just love the images and style of this piece! It really grabbed me. Looked like it was shot on film. Not sure why I felt this. Was the sound recorded live, or done in post? Any image adjustments you care to share? Brilliant! Thanks for this.”


First off, the sound was prerecorded for this video. So it was recorded to give the best quality and then Steve sang along with the playback during each take.

If you want to record a live session …and only have one camera, then record the whole of the performance, preferably onto a separate recorder, then replay back from this audio recording as the singer/musician sings/plays along with it, as you film the other angles.

In editing I linked and lined up the 20 (!) shots we filmed for the first number. Easy and automatic with FCPX multicam feature. So I then had 21 tracks ( including the prerecorded music track) to intercut. We had far fewer tracks on the later numbers,as we were limited for time.

The film look..

“It looks like it was shot on film”  Well this may have been because of a variety of techniques.


I shot on the PanasonicGH2 at  24 fps progressive, which I haven’t used much before. I have usually shot 1080 interlaced, as I’ve been wary of the potential for flicker in moving camera/subjects. ( I used to shoot a lot of 16mm film) So this will have certainly reproduced the same effect as film.


I also lit it with strong back lighting. So as I filmed from the right,  we keep the left light brighter and reduced the right. Moving to filming from the left, then the left light is reduced and the right increased.

This can be difficult though if the camera moves. We were filming using a moving jib, which as it moved in, tracked from the right hand side to the left hand side. So what had been a strong dramatic back light became a flattening front light.

This limited the amount of movement I could use. We also had the problem that as soon as we arrived, the rain stopped, the sun came out and was clearly visible through the curtains on the left  hand side of the studio. So I had to shoot most of the performances from the front or left hand side.


Editing – Image adjustments

It was edited in Final Cut Pro X.  After editing I also used Crumplepop plugin Tonegrade on the first two songs and  Finisher on the final song.

2-Buble Magic

The Tonegrade plugin produces a sort of HDR effect.  It simulates the properties of high dynamic range (HDR) photography,  with an expanded range of detail in both highlights and shadows creating the dramatic stylised image I wanted.


The final song  had a different treatment. It was heavily desaturated

3-Buble Magic-last song

So it all seems to worked out well. Copies of  video DVD are now with promoters down in the warm Greek Islands.



Filming a simple music video in the studio.

Posted by Phil On April - 1 - 2013

We filmed a studio session last week with Steve Wood to promote his Michael Buble act, which he’s taking to the Greek Islands this week (lucky him, it’s a lot warmer there)


..and it was nice to be working indoors for a change. We shot four numbers in 6 hours. ..but we spent 2 hours of that rigging the jib and lights. In the end we only used three songs in the final edit.


In this sort of video, it’s not selling the music or the track, so I believe there’s no need to have any sort of story line or exotic location shots. It’s designed to sell the performer show their personality and performance skills.

Here’s the video.



I think if you don’t have a big budget, then less is more effective, so we filmed in a blacked out studio with strongly dramatic backlighting.

03-Steve Humprey-6

Roy Perkins shot with his GH2 as second camera, Jude was rigger and lighting and Rachel Stephens was production assistant. ..and photographer.


She got some good shots as we worked.


Steve was really pleased with the results and he’s off with the results to Rhodes in two days time. …lucky him. 🙂

Technical stuff:   more details here 

We used a simple set up with three lights and Jude handholding the fill light. We were using a 12 foot jib and found that we got shadows on Steve’s face with a fixed fill light, so Jude dodged around the jib with a battery LED light.


I shot on my Panasonic GH2. I had concerns about having to use autofocus on the jib, but the focusing of 14 -140 lens worked perfectly.  You have to use autofocus on a jib, unless you have full remote focussing.

In addition to the Panasonic zoom I also used my Pentax 50 mm 1.8,  and my new SLR Magic 12mm 1.6 lens and the Lumix 14mm 2.8 when I did a few Steadicam shots.


I was surprised that the 14mm Lumix produced an annoying strange intense green flare spot when shooting into the lights,  but I  took the green out of it in FCPX.

I used some fairly extreme grades in the FCPX colour grading as I wanted to go for the dramatic look.

07-Steve Humprey-9 01-Steve Humprey-9a