I met up with Carl Allison one of Melbourne's most prolific Music Video producers. He has made quite a number of music videos over the years thought i'd take some time to get some info on creative process, past and future plans.
I learnt to shoot on a direct to VHS camera then I would edit with the VCR player by recording directly off the camera.
I remember making videos from as young as six, I'd cut out slab boxes to make costumes to recreate scenes from Robocop and have my sister lie in the driveway so we could create chalk outlines of bodies. We would sit on the garage roof and throw tomatoes to set the scene.
My first music video was in 2010 for Eloquor. It was around the time DSLR's hit the market and for the first time the average punter could produce nice looking images with better dynamic range and depth of field. I got a bit distracted by the technology and made a clip that was less than average hoping the nice images would save me... they didn't. So I ended up re-shooting the whole project with more of a plan. I just shot my 100th music video this week and it's with Eloquor.
I've been making music videos ever since; although majority are hip-hop I've worked with a variety of genres; pop, country, folk, rock and metal. My professional work is as a director of photography or camera operator. I work on everything from commercials to web content and feature films. I've always like making clips the most because you get to play with a range of visual styles. It's the only video content I don't see any rules for, you can do whatever you want and shoot with whatever equipment you have available to you. I've shot clips with cameras that costs more than a new car and I've shot them on an iPhone; it's about making the most with what's at hand.
It makes it easy when you're already mates and although each clip is definitely work, theres no way we wouldn't have done so many if they weren't fun. We use simple formulas, we don't overshoot, which makes the edit process really efficient and we avoid taking on huge projects that slow us down. They're shot in a few hours and edited a couple days later. I think a reason why we're a successful team is because he understands the process of creative collaboration really well. The briefs are really basic and focus more on tone or colour palette, rather than trying to think of conceptual pieces with lots of moving parts; we focus on visuals that compliment the song.
Each project has its own constraints; budget, time, location & accessibility to the artist. So I usually start with that then try and reverse engineer some visuals that work to the song. However, budgets for music videos are pretty minimal compared to narrative and commercial work, so I find myself trying all the cheap effects and trick photography to try and make the projects look bigger than what they are. It actually makes the projects a lot more fun to execute with more of a guerrilla approach.
I'm always thinking of new imagery or ways to do things differently, as I don't want to just run the same tricks and looks too long; there'll always be room for development.
I think you're going to see artists producing more content, 15 years ago it was lot more expensive to produce a music video. Some of my favourite artists from the time would have 5 music videos to their name from their whole career, now it's not uncommon for an artist to have that many released within a year. I like to stay busy and usually have a few projects on the boil, theres a few feature films in development I'm attached to shoot and theres always clips being shot.