Crazy in Cambridge

The other day Toby Marlow mentioned that it would be fun to record a music video. Yesterday after a photoshoot for the play the Tribes he had a few minutes free before his rehearsal started so we recorded him playing Crazy on the piano in the Larkum studio. It was shot handheld with my camera, without any microphone, and was never meant to be more than maybe a random upload on Facebook or Youtube. It just happened to be so that Lili Thomas and I had scheduled a dance photoshoot after lunch so we decided to also record a few dance moves with video and see what we could do. We went down into the ADC workshop to have a look for props and realised that the light looked really good down there and started filming. The story arch grew organically during the afternoon. To time the improvised dance to the music we recorded the sound from the camera loudspeaker on my mobile phone so we could play it back while Lili was dancing.

Afterwards Lili had to prepare for her rehearsal, and I went home to start editing. It took some time just to align the video clips with the dance with the audio from Toby’s video clip. When that was done I had all the clips stacked on top of each other in the video editing program. After Lili’s rehearsal finished she came by to help pick the best moves and help with the editing. Everything was recorded with a fixed 50 mm lens. It would have been brilliant to have a 35 mm lens, both because it would be a bit wider to get more of the leg action in, but also because the handheld camera shake would be less obvious. Luckily Final Cut Pro has a quite good shake reduction but if we do more of this it might be worth getting something like a cheap steady cam and also a proper microphone.

Alright, that was the technical aspects. It was really fun, and very spontaneous. Lili made the video come alive with her dancing. I hope you enjoy what we put together. I am curious what Toby’s reaction will be, he does not yet know that we made his music clip into a music video.

Here is the video. Enjoy!

Music: Gnarles Barkley, Crazy
Piano and Song: Toby Marlow
Dance and editing: Lili Thomas
Photography and editing: Johannes Hjorth

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from our recording session.

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Toby Marlow, the musical wizard! Recorded in one take in between rehearsals for Taming of the Shrew.
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Lili Thomas in the ADC Workshop, listening to the music and getting a feel for the rhythm.
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On our way outside into the rain.
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This video would not have had the same feel if it had been a sunny day.

Check out the video above to see Lili’s phenomenal dancing and enjoy Toby’s singing!

– Johannes

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