Spinphony – “Fandango” music video

This is my third music video collaboration with the Denver-based Spinphony quartet (if you haven’t seen them yet, you can watch and read about our previous projects here).

Fandango is one of Spinphony’s new original compositions featured on their recently-released Pop Baroque EP, which is available on ITunes, Bandcamp and Soundcloud. For this music video, we wanted to introduce a more playful, slightly whimsical Western vibe. Horses, a vintage truck and even a camel were considered to appear in the video at various stages of planning. However, as it often happens with low-budget indie projects, many of our original ideas had to be scrapped for logistical and budgetary reasons. Nevertheless, it was still an incredibly fun shoot!

After a long search for a suitable outdoor location, violinist Brett Omara (who commissioned the project) discovered a gorgeous open space in Larkspur, CO. It featured a dusty country road and a vast open field with wild flowers and a stunning mountain view – exactly what we needed! We filmed the entire video over the course of about 5 hours on a Monday morning in early September. Weather was a concern, as it had been raining pretty much every single afternoon that week, including the day we went on a location scout. So, we wanted to start shooting early in the morning and do our best to be wrapped by lunch time, in order to beat the thunderstorms that would inadvertently move into the area.

Spruce Mountain

Location scout photo – Spruce Mountain

Dirt road

Location scout photo – dirt road

Spruce Mountain

Location scout photo – Spruce Mountain after the rain

We got lucky, the rain never came during the actual shoot. And, while it was challenging to keep up with the rapidly changing lighting conditions as the clouds moved fast across the sky, the cloud cover also acted as a natural light diffuser – a giant softbox in the sky, if you will. It gave the images a pleasant soft look. Since our entire film crew consisted just of myself and Diego Rodriguez, who was my assistant and B-camera operator, I breathed a sigh of relief because we could forego using reflectors or diffusers to minimize the harsh shadows and Diego was able to just focus on operating the second camera. The sun peeked out briefly, just at the right times – when we were shooting wide angles and landscape vistas, so it all worked out.

However, we did have a couple of tense moments. About half an hour after we began filming, a county Sheriff’s car pulled up on the road where we had set up. Needless to say, we became a little nervous. After all – we were filming without an official permit, and even though we were in a public open space, I still didn’t know what to expect. I was waiting for him get out of the car and to start asking questions about what we were doing, why we were there, and so on. I’ve heard some horror stories about independent filmmakers being charged insurmountable fines for filming without a permit, so worst-case scenarios started running through my head. But my fears were quickly alleviated when the friendly Sheriff simply and politely asked if we could move some of our cars, because they were blocking a driveway into the nearby electrical power station. He obviously saw that we were filming something, but he didn’t seem concerned about it at all. He simply thanked us for moving our cars and left. Whew!

Later on, a park ranger stopped by our second location in the field and actually inquired about what we were doing. We explained that we are filming a music video and even asked if he would like to be in it. He just laughed and politely declined, citing that he was on duty and still had a lot of work to do. He thanked us and left without bothering us anymore, so overall it was a fantastic experience with the local law enforcement officials.

Spinphony at Spruce Mountain

Spinphony and I

As I mentioned, Diego and I shot the video with two cameras – my new Panasonic GH4 and the older Canon EOS 7D. It was invaluable to have him on set. If I was filming alone, as I did on the previous Spinphony videos, it would have taken us at least twice as long to get all of the needed takes. And besides the obvious differences in image detail, the two cameras were actually surprisingly easy to match in the edit. Only minor color correction was done, mainly to tweak the white balance and boost saturation a little bit on some of the shots. The set-up itself was pretty bare bones – just the cameras on tripods and my Konova K2 slider. Because we were shooting in a relatively remote location, I wanted to keep the gear to a minimum. We had a few portable reflectors and diffusers on hand, but ended up not using them – the clouds provided natural sun diffusion!


It was a fun day and I’m pretty happy with the way the video turned out. Of course, if we had more time, I would have loved to get a wider variety of angles and camera motion, but time is always our biggest obstacle on these shoots. They’re very much run-n-gun, which I’m now used to!

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