EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes with Collisions at their “Believe In This” video shoot
Behind the scenes with Collisions at the video shoot for the song “Believe In This” – Black Hangar Studios – 13 February 2012.
These days it’s not just about the music. In a world dominated by visual media it’s as important for a band to be seen as well as heard. If you’ve watched Scuzz TV lately, you may have noticed a new band called ‘Collisions’ making an appearance or two. This Brighton based electro-metal four-piece (Olly Simmons – vocals, Andrew Trewin – guitars, Spud – bass, Will Chapman – drums) have had a busy time of it these last few months what with high profile gigs supporting Senser and Idiom, the recording of their upcoming EP, and a new drummer taking over the sticks.
They have been playing across the UK with London based metallers ‘Bloodloss’ and have recently announced a European tour as support to the legendary Hed P.E. Life in the Collisions camp looks set to be a busy one for a while and the opportunity arose to find out just how busy it can get with an invitation to see the recording of their music video for soon to be released track “Believe In This”.
The location for the shoot was Black Hangar Studios which is based on an airfield in rural Hampshire. It’s facilities include a large raised 180 degree horizon water tank for filming sea based scenes, production offices and a cavernous ‘stage’ – an aircraft hangar painted (you’ve guessed it…) black. The studio has an impressive award winning creative department made up of Simon Lamont (Production & Art) and Digby Milner (Special FX) who between them have worked on many blockbusters including two Star Wars films, three Batman films, three James Bond films and four Harry Potter films among others. For this video shoot, the band was located in the hangar and Digby was on hand making sure the look of the set met with the requirements of the video producers – Metal Wasp Media. This meant dry ice… and lots of it! “But not so that it rises too high … just so that it mostly covers the floor”.
The way to do this would be to roll out what appeared to be a long plastic tube-like bag, measured to the length of the performance area, and to inflate it with the dry ice mixture. Holes all along one side of the inflated tube allowed the dry ice to escape evenly across the whole performance area at once. The weight of the ice was controlled by careful adjustments of the pressurised gas tanks feeding into the tube. It created an eerie effect with the area washed in a bright white light. The lighting also caused harsh shadows from the metal hangar framework to form on the corrugated walls. It was a scene that got mobile phones from pockets for that must have Facebook photo update.
While technical issues were being ironed out and the performance area readied for filming, thoughts quickly turned to food. This being a debut video for a band early in their career the production budget naturally didn’t extend to luxuries such as catering so food for the day was provided in the form of a large bag of munchies – mostly crisps and chocolate! Bags of bacon crunchies have never been savoured so much. It is true to say that Collisions are a hungry bunch! The production budget didn’t cover heating a huge and very cold hangar either (an almost impossible task anyway in February), but general larking about whilst waiting to perform staved off the freeze and also provided plenty of footage for their own behind the scenes ‘making of’ video.
Eventually, and with a PA system set up for the song playback, the crew were ready to shoot. After a quick briefing Collisions got into their positions and dry ice began to curl around their feet. As the music kicked in the band blasted into action causing the mist to swirl with every movement. The track, Believe In This, is a catchy up-tempo drum and bass infused slice of power metal. With the rapped lead vocal giving an undeniably British edge to their urban industrial sound the warehouse-like setting seemed perfect. The haunting backing vocals that run throughout the song were highlighted by the ethereal atmosphere that all this dry ice had created. The rest of the day was spent playing the track over and over, take after take, wide shots, close ups, high viewpoints to low, panning around and moving through the band, individual performances, much jumping, stamping, hair flailing and drumstick twirling. The energy levels were not allowed to drop for a second. This is certainly no job for the unfit.
The same principles of performing on a big stage also seemed to apply to video making. Every movement needed to be very expressive in order to come across confidently on screen. Jumps had to be BIG, punches needed to be full blown ‘haymakers’ and if you’re going to ‘throw a look’ to the camera it had better be Zoolander’s ‘Blue Steel’ or nothing at all! Joking aside (and by necessity there is a lot of this – especially when being filmed individually for solo shots), it is easy to forget that an energy packed three to four minutes of footage actually requires several hours of incredibly hard effort. What is striking is that this effort doesn’t just come only from the band.
Everyone involved has a desire to make sure their work is the best it can be. In such a competitive arena as the music industry people can’t afford to slack off for a second. It is a business that costs a lot of money, full of incredibly expensive equipment and used by people with the kind of experience and talent that money alone just can’t buy. Having seen what is involved it is actually astonishing to think that there are still so many people who feel that music should be free and are quite happy to illegally download or copy. Can this really be sustainable for the industry in the long run? Time will tell but, of course, that is for a different article.
What is clear is that in the early days of a band’s career, when there’s not exactly fistfuls of cash being earned, a huge amount of dedication and self belief is needed. It is therefore quite fitting that Collisions’ first video should be for a song called “Believe In This”.
Find out more and keep updated about the band at www.facebook.com/collisionsuk. All pictures and words by Greig Clifford.