Mandhira from the Ligeti Quartetplaying the violin

Live Music Videos with Tom Green and the Ligeti Quartet

We’re big music fans here at Aglow Films, and love working with bands and musicians, especially when they’re as talented as these guys! Contemporary classical composer and guitarist, Tom Green, came to us with the challenge of filming a series of live music videos, featuring himself and renowned chamber band, the Ligeti Quartet. They were looking for something polished and professional, with high-end camera work and cinematic lighting. As with most musicians, their budget was tight and their expectations high! Cost and time constraints allowed for only one day of filming, in which they were hoping to record four tracks! This meant the shoot had to be planned meticulously, with no room for errors. Needless to say, we bossed it…

Forming a continuous edit from a live event comes with several challenges. Firstly, at least one camera has to be focused on the action at any one time, preferably with a beautifully composed shot. Everything that is to be used in the final edit has to be recorded in one take. This means multiple cameras, with multiple operators. In this case, we utilised a four-camera setup with three operators. The additional, unmanned camera was a static wide shot. Having this meant that we always had a shot to fall back on in the edit if necessary. The image from the wide-angle Tokina also looks awesome! As it turns out, in most cases, using this angle in the edit became a stylistic, creative choice as opposed to one of necessity.

Secondly, everything in the scene has to look great from all of your angles. This may sound like a given, but with single-camera shoots, different angles in a scene will often be lit with different setups. This means lights, equipment, and people can be manoeuvred to make one shot look great at a time. In this case, everything had to look great at all times! To achieve this, we used a full lighting-kit, arranged to make all of the performers and the scene look great from all of our angles. This was largely pre-planned before the shoot so as to maximise efficiency on the day and allow more time for recording. Once set up, we could roll the cameras and let the musicians do their thing!

Audio was obviously another key consideration for this project. Unlike a standard music video, where performers play along to a pre-recorded track, all audio for this project was to be recorded live on the day, with no click-track. This made capturing all necessary footage in one take even more essential, as fluctuations in timings meant that it would be difficult to sync footage from other takes. We also had to be very conscious of any noise we made whilst operating the cameras. All audio for this project was recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Bishop.

Working with Aglow was a very smooth process. They listened carefully to our requirements, behaved very professionally on the shoot and edited the work with style. We hope to use them again.”

Tom Green, Composer and Producer, London

The challenges in this project were made far simpler by the competence and professionalism of Tom Green and the Ligeti Quartet. We we’re initially sceptical as to whether recording four tracks that everyone was happy with, in the space of eight hours was really feasible. Yet despite limited resources, we achieved something that we can all be proud of.

We love working on music videos, both the traditional and live varieties, and understand how financially unrewarding being a musician or artist is for most! As such, we always endeavour to be flexible; working within your budget to give you the best we can. But don’t come to us with £100 and expect a Chris Cunningham epic! Being realistic about what you hope to achieve is the best way to start thinking about your own project. In many cases, it’s the simplest ideas, created with modest resources that are the most effective.

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