Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The "7 Things" Shoot

Well, the video for "7 Things" is finally out for all to see. So I suppose I can talk about the shoot now.

First of all, have a look:

We showed up bright and early at the set in Hollywood. None of us had any clue what we were supposed to wear, so we showed up with suitcases full of clothes. After talking to wardrobe and narrowing down the options, and being accessorized (I got away easy with just a belt), we grabbed some breakfast from the catering truck.

Then into hair and makeup. They basically just touched up our eyes, glanced at our hair and let us go - mostly they're just around for the girls' use.

We finally made it out to the set, which was just a giant white cyc, filled only with our instruments. Brett Ratner greeted us all, and we were off to work.

Miley came out and we performed the song several times with the camera fixed in one place so they could shoot wide, medium and tight shots of Miley. The song is very fast, with a chorus that's already basically double-time, so imagine our surprise when Brett announced he wanted to shoot a few takes at 48 frames per second.

Perhaps this requires a little explanation: film is normally shot at 24fps, and as this is a breakup song, they wanted slow-motion shots of Miley smashing/breaking/ripping up stuff. So in order for the shots to play in slow-motion, we have to shoot them twice as fast. Which means, in order for us to be synced to the music, we have to play the song twice as fast. So we were trying to play basically at quadruple-speed. Imagine how goofy that looked.

So, while a chipmunked version of the song played, Miley smashed a Guitar Hero guitar, a real acoustic guitar, as well as several items she brought in.

After a couple hours of performing the song full-out, Brett asked if we were tired. Stacy responded, "Our show is pretty long, so we're used to this." They let Miley go, and brought out a few other teenage girls to stand in for Miley. And by a few, I mean piles and piles of them. The concept of the video is that all these girls are going through the same kind of nasty breakup. "They're all in it together." Okay. Nice in concept. But in execution, it meant we had to shoot the whole video about 27 more times.

Several hours went by. Girl after girl would amble up to the stage, shift into "rage" mode, and sing through the song while having a "hormone moment." Brett kept saying to us, "only two more girls," and then they'd bring some more in from the street or the sky or something. They must have had a van on Hollywood Boulevard, kidnapping tourists.

By the time we finished all the girls, we had been rocking out at double- and quadruple-time for nearly nine hours. In the early takes, we looked energized and youthful, but by the end of the day, we were looking sluggish and haggard. For a little schizophrenic fun, watch the video again, and notice them cutting back and forth between these looks.

And once we were sweaty, tousled and near death, it was time for our closeups. Yes. They routinely save these for last, when you look disasterously bad.

We only had to "play the song five more times," one for each band member to get a closeup. At this point, Stacy's back was really hurting from leaning over a drumset since dinosaurs roamed the earth. And my back and neck were feeling some serious whiplash. So, "five more times" had a torturous ring to it.

So we thrashed and rocked and knocked about for another hour (in between every shot, gear gets moved and stuff gets reset, so everything takes longer than you'd want). By the end, I was forming blisters on my thumbs, my fingernails were seriously split/ragged/bleeding, and we were all ready to drop.

Voila! Music video magic.

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  1. "We're sorry, this video is no longer available."

    Curse you, Disney video removers!

  2. Er...or whoever has the rights to that video.

  3. Hmm. It's working for me. Maybe they removed it temporarily and then put it back up.

  4. That shooting method(double time get the slowed down affect)
    is the exact same way that the band Live shot their video of I Alone from Throwing Copper.
    Looks pretty cool.

  5. kinda sucks that the footage of her smashing stuff didn't get used

  6. Cool post. Don't you guys ever get tired of playing the same song over and over (and over!) again? =)

  7. All that work and then most of it gets left on the cutting room floor - or hard drive. I was wondering if you had to do the whole song or just sections of it with each girl. I heard the girl that rips the headshot is Sophia Bush, but she looks too young. Would have loved to see some smashing.

  8. It's still down for me. :-( I bet it's working for you because the video was cached in your browser temporary files before they took it down.

  9. Video works for me. Looking forward to "Fire" blog already.

  10. wait miley brought in other items to smash?

  11. I didn't notice how exhausted you were. I think the lighting made you all look great! I had the feeling that Miley's eyes would stare through me because they look so bright!
    I kept looking for you, but I didn't see you play that often!
    All in all, the video was worth all the hard work, I loved it!

  12. So now the keyboard player's cool enough to be in a video shoot? That's awesome.
    Its crazy how you've all changed so little since last time I saw the band!
    Ah..yes, from Hannah Montana to Slipknot, my tours are getting weirder and weirder....

  13. OMG Mike, you are all that and more!!!
    I love your wicked sense of humour and how you put things. When's a book coming out?
    I can see what you are saying about the close up's in this video. Jaco looks like he's ready to drop at 1:41, poor cutie pie!
    Well Done! Keep rocking guys and good luck with "Stadium of Fire".

  14. I feel bad that you had to go through all that...well hopefully it didnt take you too long to recover from shooting the video

  15. Ahh man, apparently I wasn't walking down Hollywood Boulevard at the right time...
    I'm exhausted after just reading how much you guys had to do
    Any symbolism behind the dogtag pulling, tugging, caressing, and kissing?

  16. So Mike, I take it you can't tell us if there are new songs for a certain blonde wigged singer for her soundtrack off a certain movie that you may or may not have been on the set of in the Volunteer state recently.

    Beep once for yes, twice for no, ala Captain Pike in Star Trek.

  17. Interesting. It works for me on my home PC. Strange.

  18. Mike, it sounds like a lot of hard work to make the video, but well worth it. You look great in the video and I love the song and the way the video looks.

  19. curios Question this song is about 7 things like the 7 things i like about you and hate about you. but i was wondering how she says the 7 things i hate about you, you make me love you. love you is 7 characters long. probably just a coincidence but its a cool one no doubt.

  20. Mike as a fan of Miley I like that you & Stacy & other band members,ECT. do so-port Miley so much we fans rely appreciate it ,and next time you see her tell her we love her, & the hard wok that she do's for us fans .
    thank you

  21. how was the 4th of july concert?

  22. Ashley, I think you may looking in the wrong place if you want symbolism. :) If there is, it's lost on me.

    Big Paul, you would be right. I can't tell you!

    Glad you guys enjoyed the video.