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Pocket Cinema Camera and DaVinci Resolve Used on Panic At The Disco's "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time" Music Video

Panic at the Disco is on top of the music world with a massive worldwide tour supporting their album, "Death of a Bachelor," that debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. One of the most popular songs on the album is "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time."

The song's music video puts the band's lead singer, Brendon Urie, in some very uncomfortable situations after a night of drinking and dancing. Uncomfortable as in an "aliens/monsters are trying to eat me" type of situation. 

But what makes the video unique is that it is shot from the viewpoint of the attacking beast. Initially taking on the form of a human female, the video follows both Brendon and his attacker as they meet in a bar and dance through the night, .until the evening ends badly for Mr. Urie. 

Shooting the video and getting the right look and feel was the work of director Tim Hendrix. To capture the point of view (POV) angles that make up most of the video, Tim had a POV rig built around a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Tim also handled the post production work for the video and used Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve for color correction. 

The Pocket Cinema Camera was used because of its ability to capture high quality images, its small form factor that let Tim and his crew builds a light rig to fit over the actor's heads, and the ability to shoot in RAW. 

Tim is a 23-year-old director and visual effects (VFX) artist who has already made a name for himself in the incredibly tough LA music video production market, having directed more than 15 videos already. 

A Monster's POV and the 360 No Scope Lamp Shot

For "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time," Tim was given a lot of creative freedom to create a video that matched the pace and fun theme of the song. Not only did it have to include POV shots, but as the night wore on and more alcohol was consumed, viewers had to go from monster vision to "drunk" vision. Add in some stunt work and heavy VFX work done around the various tentacles, puppets and puppeteers, and viewers were given a lot to look at. 

"I knew going into this video that I'd be doing a lot of very intricate 2D removal and reconstruction. I also knew I'd be doing a lot of keying and intense re-lighting of green screen elements," explained Tim. "So, I needed to work with an image I knew would hold up under all of these drastic changes. A compressed, 8-bit non-professional action camera simply wouldn't be up to the task. The keys would've been blocky, the re-lighting would've made the image break and there would be very little information to track in the compressed image.

So, we used the Pocket Cinema Camera because it was the only camera available in that form factor that could record in 12-bit color at a relatively high bitrate. I'd used it for pickups in a previous project and knew how great it was to work with from a VFX standpoint."

While Brendon was rigged up with the POV camera for some of the shoot, most of the time the POV rig was worn by his co-star, Ashley Watkins (who is briefly seen in the beginning as the human face of the monster in disguise.) 

"I gave Brendon and Ashley very some loose guidelines and let them improvise from there. They're both stellar performers. It took a very long time to whittle down our edit to our favorite few unexpected gems," said Tim. 

"Ashley's really the unsung hero of this video. The audacity of her performance and instinctive sense of framing is really what gave the project its weird, spontaneous and visceral vibes. Drunkenly shoving the extras, fidgeting with her glass, straight up throwing Brendon into chairs -- these were all ideas she came up with in the moment. And was able to do because the Pocket Cinema Camera gave her the freedom to be creative and not worry about a heavy camera around her head," he continued. 

With Panic at the Disco's huge fan base, it took no time at all for it to become one of the most talked about new music videos on the Internet. And one shot in particular became a topic for discussion. 

Tim explained, "The trickiest shot has to be what YouTube is referring to as the '360 no scope lamp shot,' where Brendon is throwing a lamp and being throw around the room in the same shot. This shot has literally dozens of moving parts. In the original footage of Brendon, he's throwing a lamp onto a stunt pad in front of him. Then he falls backwards onto yet another stunt pad. With the Pocket Cinema Camera, I knew that we were getting the shots, and that the shots had the all the data I needed in them to move the images through post without worrying." 

Tim continued, "The Pocket Cinema Camera was crucial because it provided green screen plates and RAW footage that was malleable enough to be re-lit and integrated very seamlessly. There was a lot of taking relatively cleanly lit green screen plates of the puppets and re-lighting them to match their background plates. Something you need a lot of data to do to an image if you don't want to break it!

And shooting in RAW was a lifesaver. After wrap, we used DaVinci Resolve to transcode to ProRes 4444 in the BMD film color space. The footage stayed in this format for the entirety of post."

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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, DaVinci Resolve


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