Bleeding Kness Club On DIY Videos

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Shooting a music video can literally bankrupt a band. On the other hand, some real crackers have been pulled together for buttons. So if you lack the liquidity for professional help, is it feasible to create something slick with just a smartphone and a big spoonful of imagination? To investigate, Clash caught up with Bleeding Knees Club, the hot Aussie duo that have a reputation for videos rocking a low-rent DIY vibe and asked for their expert insight.

Once put on the spot, the pair quickly fess up to having paid help on their own videos, albeit not as much as you’d expect. “They were all just shot on an SLR camera,” says guitarist Alex Wall, who insists “it was nothing fancy.” He does admit to having created earlier ones from mashing together chunks of random footage that attracted his magpie eye on YouTube. Naughty.

Far more important than all the technical aspects is capturing the right vibe, says Alex, “something that encapsulates what the band is about”. To try and achieve this, the guys religiously watch videos by outfits with a similar feel to their own, such as Blink 182, and attempt to recreate this vibe. “The first film was us just hanging out, that’s what we usually do on a day,” says Alex, though he says he now concocts proper treatments and mood boards.

When it comes to grabbing spontaneous footage nothing, surely, beats ripping a smartphone out of your pocket? This is an idea that fires up Alex’s imagination. “You can take [a phone] anywhere,” he ponders aloud, “and it’s easy to upload,” he adds, warming to his theme, before adding, somewhat mawkishly: “the cons are that it looks shit really easily.” At this point, bassist Jordan Malane chips in with practical tips to avoid faecal footage on a phone: “Do it outside during the day and hold it straight.” He’s not wrong. The crux is to make the best use of available light, ideally natural, and ensure the phone is stable, if possible on a tripod. Nothing says ‘amateur’ more than wobbly handheld clips shot in sepulchral gloom or, worse, where the phone was held in a portrait orientation (i.e. vertically) rather than landscape.

To be fair, most current smartphones boast a surprisingly competent camera. The good news for iPhone owners is, however, the vast wealth of apps or accessories that, literally, transform it from a mere toy into a sexy little video tool that you can, at a push, edit or upload with (see box-out). If you are shooting with a Jesus Phone, be sure to double-tap the screen to see the true shape of whatever you are filming - you should then have black bars at the top and bottom. Otherwise, it’s all-too-easy to chop off your protagonist’s head. Never a good look.

As for Bleeding Knees Club, they were so enthused by the premise of shooting on a phone they threw down the gauntlet with an impromptu invitation to Clash readers...

Words by Alex Pell

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