In the weeks before lockdown, students from Screen and Film School Brighton worked on a music video production, alongside their studies, for Brighton band Comforts on their upcoming music video.
Lucy Rollinson-Payne and Anniston Quinn gave us an exclusive look behind the scenes of the production, from finding the crew and organising the budgets, right through to the shoot itself and post production. Read all about it below.
Message to the Night – An Independent Music Video Production by Screen and Film School Students
Lucy Rollinson-Payne & Anniston Quinn
Firstly, it’s worth stating that this would’ve been a lot more difficult to complete this project if it wasn’t for Screen and Film School and how encouraging they are of extra-curricular film shoots. Knowing lots of creative universities that don’t let their students use their facilities and equipment for projects outside, I am thankful that our film school is so supportive.
Having this ability to work creatively outside of uni and being able to use the equipment means that our abilities aren’t restricted by not being able to afford the equipment. It allows us to apply our studies to real-life scenarios and we’ve found that we have been able to learn a lot more a lot quicker by being able to apply what we’ve learned.
Director’s Notes: Lucy Rollinson-Payne, 1st Year
Having worked with the band a couple times filming live gigs and creating a connection through the Brighton scene and networking both in person and through social media, we decided it was time to collaborate on a music video and to get a plan in the works. We met at the pub (when they were open of course!) and the low-key setting was a great place for creative flow; a chance have a couple drinks and get to know each other further, and we left after a couple of hours with a concept in the works.
In terms of collaborative projects, questions often arise such as, “How do I come up with a concept for a music video?” or “How do I work with the band to come up with a concept?”. In this scenario, the collaborative process wasn’t too difficult – we all gelled together quickly and it was obvious that we were on the same wavelength. With this being the band’s first music video and us being students, we were wanting to make this with no budget, but we also wanted it to be a debut music video people would remember and be impressed that it was shot with no budget. We shot back and forth with different ideas we had originally brought with us before merging concepts and thinking of individual shots, taking into consideration the popular style at the moment. There was an enthusiastic buzz to the table at this time – we were all excited about what was to come.
This being my first time directing a music video properly with a crew, I was excited and wanted to make the most out of this opportunity. The day after the meeting I created a treatment and pitch for the rest of the band to see which encapsulated all of our final thoughts along with reference material that we had discussed. I sent it into the group chat with crew and band that we had made, met for a couple more drinks to finalise details, and suddenly… It was time to shoot!
Brighton is such a small place, it often seems as if everyone knows everyone.
The two-day shoot took place at the start of March 2020, and we had a busy couple of days jumping from location to location. Shooting at the Rock Gardens, The Flipside, the studio at the London Road site, and our lead singers living room – we were very much on a time crunch. Luckily, the weather behaved and we managed to set up and shoot everything to time. Shooting in Brighton was important as we had to make sure we would be able to transport all the equipment from the film school easily.
We had specific shots in mind before we started shooting however we made an effort to allow the band to collaborate with us also when shooting with any ideas anyone else had. It created a great creative atmosphere and it is always important to create an atmosphere on shoots where everyone is comfortable.
We made a conscious effort to stick to a specific style and warm colour pallet with red’s being the centre colour of the piece. As we wanted to provide a nostalgic aesthetic, we decided to include hand-held b-roll to later be edited to look like film stock, adding to the overall vibe.
We wanted to play around with different shutter speeds, and we shot some takes at double speed to later get a slow-motion effect in post-production. This helped to create a dynamic flow to the piece and helped the video to rise in tension, building up to the bridge – mimicking the song itself.
Overall, over our two-day shoot, we had an amazing time collaborating with Comforts to film this music video.
Editing this project was probably so far, one of the most beneficial experiences I’ve had so far regarding working collaboratively. Going back and forth with the team and the band with different cuts, it took a few weeks to come up with our final edit and to create some promotional material to lead up to the release.
Producer’s Notes: Anniston Quinn, 2nd Year
Finding the Crew
With any production, you need to surround yourself with like minded and creative people who you can work well with. Through Screen and Film School I was able to ‘recruit’ the team for this music video, having worked with them times before. Lucy and I have been working together since the beginning of the academic year helping me with various projects, mostly as an editor. Georgia was the camera operator on ‘Please Wash Your Hands’ a film I produced through university, and Oscar is a talented filmmaker I met in my first year. Screen and Film School has a brilliant way of encouraging students to work together, Alex Hobden (Head of Year 2) was the one that connected Lucy and I. Without a doubt, we will be working together again soon- and are currently planning a documentary to be filmed in a few months!
As mentioned, Brighton is a small city and everyone really does know everyone. I have been producing music videos and working with bands since my first year, so have met so many artists. I was introduced to Comforts after another band Naipia recommended us to them. We met Naipia when we were filming a different band (Black Dog Collective) and we were all in the smoking area after the gig. Connections matter!
I became very interested in music videos after our first year assignment to work with a BIMM band to create a music video, so again it is Screen and Film School ‘planting that seed’ and it is up to you if you run with it. My first year taught us how to pitch, create a music video and work with clients to ensure they get the product they desire- and we are constantly doing this still.
Keeping Costs Low
As a student producer, being able to work around little to no budget is vital, whether it’s for music videos, films, or documentaries. I like to plan all my productions as though we aren’t getting any funding, but we are lucky the university is here to help. Since 2018, every single production I’ve worked on, or produced, has used the free-to-rent equipment at university. It costs a lot of money renting equipment when you aren’t a student so it is amazing that we have access to brilliant technicians who are there to help you understand and use the equipment.
For the music video we used the Screen and Film School equipment and even a few props that were available to students. Next, we had to nail down locations that wouldn’t cost us much. The band were close with the manager of the Flipside at the Mesmerist so they got us a free slot there. We filmed at the lead singer’s house for free. We booked the university’s set for the final shots for free and we got a cheap permit to film in the park.
After seeing the footage from Georgia and seeing Lucy’s edits I could not be happier with the results. It is so easy and fun to make a low budget music video and it would not have been possible without the university!
Comforts’ debut music video, Message To The Night, is out now.
Director: Lucy Rollinson-Payne
Producer: Anniston Quinn
Director of Photography: Georgia Clark
Gaffer: Oscar Healey