Disco Ensemble: White Flag For Peace

The first single from the upcoming Disco Ensemble album.

Directed by Sami Sänpäkkilä
Actor: Tero Jartti
Script: Disco Ensemble
Light designer, gaffer: Alpo Nummelin
Editing, cinematography: Sami Sänpäkkilä
Pencil illustrations: Topias Hirvonen
Producer: Fullsteam Records

I got a call from Jussi of Disco Ensemble that they have an idea for a music video and would need someone to shoot it. Only problem was that the video would need to be shot next week. So not much time to plan it. We decided that instead of making it a huge production, renting cameras and tons of equipment we’d do it with a minimal set-up and shoot it with my Panasonic GH1 DSLR that had already proven that it can produce amazing quality video.

I really felt that this video and the idea the band had would require good lighting. So I wanted Alpo Nummelin to do the lights since we have done a lot of videos together and we know each other well. Luckily he was free and I felt confident that with him on board we could pull this off in such a short time. We started planning the lighting and constructed our own gobo that turned out amazing and we used it in almost every shot.

We drove to Konala, Helsinki to Disco Ensemble’s rehearsal space for the shoot. The band had written the script and Tero Jartti was cast to play The Architect in the video. He’s been in a lot of great Finnish productions including some Aki Kaurismäki movies. I know the band since we were teens except for Lasse as we all come from the same area. I even used to play in a band called Hektix with Jussi back in the day. So the crew was looking good! Everyone was feeling really positive.

We rented our light gear from Filmfotograferna. It was my first time actually using rental lights and the feeling of walking into the warehouse with all those lights and grip equipment made me all excited! I bet we made all the jokes the first timers do: “Hey, why don’t we scrap everything else and just get that 24000W Arri Fresnel”. They treated us nice and seemed to share our enthusiams – what a geek heaven! I didn’t even realise we were actually paying for all this, such is the power of gadgets on us poor geeks… We left with 3 x Arri Junior Plus 650 W, 2 x Arri 300 W, a Dedopack, 2 x Kino Flo 4×4 Bank 120cm and loads of grip stuff. A car full of lighting equipment. All my gear was in one bag, I did help Alpo carry the stuff!

One of our original ideas was to put a large butterfly canvas on the wall and light that from behind to have this kinda glowing effect on the background. The butterfly we had was piss yellow and extremely wrinkly so that was a no go. We exprimented with a few plans we had made and ended up lighting by simply putting kino flo’s on left and right of where the player would stand and a dedo for fill shooting down from behind onto their heads. So pretty basic set-up. We added our own gobo light and this was the one light that gave the image the character we really wanted. Unfortunately it also gave us the most trouble because it was really hard to avoid shadows coming from myself and the camera cause I was standing right between the light source and the subject. We didn’t have enough space to move the gobo so I just had to be really carefull with my camera movements. You can still see a few of my shadows in the video but hey, that’s kinda tradition already, I don’t think there’s any videos I’ve done with Alpo where I’m not somewhere in the frame!

I shot the video mostly in 1080p which you can see created some yello effects on the fast pans. Theres also a few 720p shots mixed in and you really can’t tell the difference. Not even on a 1080 Full HD television. So I think from now on I’ll just keep to shooting at 720p. Gives the least headaches with movement. Although after having said that I’ve become quite fond of the way the guitar frets bend on the few shots with yello here. It creates a very special feel to those shots! The pan is like a wave instead of a horizontal quick jerk.

The Architects table looked awesome and we mostly used only the original light of the table, Alpo added a dimmer on it to create a flickrer we wanted at the end of the video. There were a few dedos used for fill here and there too. All in all I love shooting with the GH1 and the f1.4 lenses cause you can really work in such low light situations and only light for the mood and not have to worry about lighting for the aperture.

A big thank you to everyone who worked with us! Hope you all like the video :)

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