A Camera, a Ukulele, and a day in a forest

Ukulele video Michael Shepherd

‘on set’ filming Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd is a talented instrumentalist, taking Ukulele playing to a new level.

We recently had the pleasure of working in the studio with Michael on his debut album, Ukulele Fever.  The album is a mix of solo Ukulele tracks and ensemble pieces bringing in cajon, percussion, and bass to pick up the tempo where needed.  It was one of the later mentioned arrangements that Michael chose as his lead single.

The track, Loop, starts with a relaxed, free flowing solo section that builds to an upbeat ensemble. Backed up with cajon and bass guitar, Michael delivers catchy melodies and lead playing to showcase everything that is good about his playing in one track.

As with most music releases, we decided a video was a great way to showcase Michael’s new recorded material and share his brand online.

After several meetings we came up with a simple concept for the video.  The recording of Michaels album includes natural instruments and tones. No synths, no extensive processing, just instruments made of wood played well.  We decided to take Michael right to the centre of Langsett forrest, where he would perform his track.  The cut away scenes would follow the journey of a female character, finding Michael and the Ukulele in the forest.

This simple idea allows us to focus on Michaels playing and performance, whilst displaying beautiful scenery and projecting the natural sound of his music visually.

The forest provided us with great locations and opportunities to captures amazing shots.  A short walk around to map the area provided us with a long list of extra shots to add to our prepared list.  A favourite shot of mine was achieved using a slider along a fallen log with the female character in the background out of focus.  We stumbled into this whilst looking for an opening to cross a dry stone wall. The lesson here, explore your ‘set’ fully before starting to shoot. Although we always turn up with a list of planned scenes, there are always opportunities to add great new parts that you may have not thought of yet.

Check out the video below:

We tend to avoid outdoor shoots due to the unpredictability of British weather and several other factors out of your control.  On this particular day everything went in our favour.  The weather worked out, we had no power issues (something to consider before walking into a forrest away from the nearest wall socket!) and we didn’t accidentally interrupt an annual cross country running meeting…

You can find Michael online here.

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