So, I bet you’ve already seen our first music video. No? Here you can fix it.
Alright, now let’s talk about how we made it. Spoiler alert: we made it ourselves, with no formal education or experience. Just with a passion to learn new things and to do justice to the song and the band itself.
To us, ‘Ignore Me’ tells a very personal story. It’s hidden in the lyrics as well as in the music. We knew from the start that we’d want to show its intimacy in the video; but not with choking it with depressing, confined locations. Instead, we decided to shoot at epic, open spaces, Rafael in the mountains and our actress in the biggest Czech city – Prague. Epic scenery is something Exit Empire deeply relates to, and it works great in contrast with the intimate premise of the song.
Because it doesn’t matter, who you are or where you are. What matters is what you’re gonna do about it.
We’ve come up with a concept of two separate storylines that come together at the end. One is simply following Rafael, walking and singing in a distant place, surrounded by mountains. The other one is a story of a woman who can’t bear where her life is heading anymore; she’s conflicted whether to listen to the ones she holds most dear or to her own heart. She storms out of a building, crying, then walks through a corporate surroundings she can’t stand anymore, rethinking her life choices. Can she still pursue her passion, while dissappointing her family?
Rafael portrays the freedom, the determination to do what you love in spite of everything else. That’s how Exit Empire came to be, and that’s what we want our listeners to understand: you are living your life, nobody else is. That’s why Rafael and our female character (we call her Nina from the Black Swan movie) encounters each other in the end – sort of a metaphoric statement that she has finally decided to really live.
By the way, that look directly into the camera from Nina (portrayed by the beautiful and talented Barbora Šebestíková) in the very end was unplanned. Rafael and Nina were just supposed to stare at each other, so we shot that version too. But I loved it so much that I kept it there. When editing, it was almost a scary moment for me, sort of a fourth wall break. I immediately felt Nina asking the viewer “And what about you? Are you living your life the way you want to?” And after watching Nina’s own story and her decision, that’s the question I want the viewers to ask themselves.
Rafael wrote the script in January 2017. But now we faced a new issue: How the hell are we supposed to shoot this?
We looked for some filmmakers in our area, but frankly we didn’t like their work that much. And if we did, they politely refused to work with us. We put our blood, sweat nad tears into our music and didn’t want it to be discredited by some sloppy video. So, once again – as with the audio production two years ago – we made the decision to do it ourselves. Hours of studying, here we go…
We’re so fortunate to have my girlfriend Barbora, since she is a very skilled photographer. Because video cameras are the same thing as normal cameras, they just shoot dozens of pictures per second instead of just one. (Check her Instagram here. She also makes ALL of our photos). She walked me through the basics of her DSLR camera, showed me this course she owns and was patient enough to answer all of my questions. Thank you.
So we spent next few weeks pumping technical knowledge and filmmaking basics into our heads. These are all great resources: DSLR Guide, Filmmaker IQ, Lessons from the Screenplay, this editing course from Larry Jordan. And I’ve surely forgotten some more gems I watched and learned from.
We knew we need better picture quality and Barbora’s DSLR isn’t gonna cut it. We researched some affordable video cameras for rent and after browsing a lot of YouTube videos, we went for Blackmagic URSA mini 4.6K. It’s not made for Hollywood movies – it’s not quite there yet – but it was a great leap in quality for us. We rented Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 ART lens with it and used it in combination with Barbora’s Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. I found it being slightly better, but it has narrow field of view, so we needed to compromise.
Before we rented the camera and started shooting, we wanted to make sure we’re ready. After all, we’ve never shot a professional music video before. That’s why we took the DSLR and shot entire music video with it, not on actual locations, just in the nearest city. And that’s the story I’m going to tell you next time in Part 2 of this blog post. Thanks for reading.
Meanwhile, check this short behind the scenes clip where we are testing the lighting in Rafael’s singing scenes:
Look at more photos in our Gallery.
We create music that moves people, both in heart and at a concert. Our goal is to achieve greatness no band from Czech Republic tried to before. Through sharing a complete dedication and passion within the band and with our fans, we believe it’s possible.
Our songs tell personal stories through the sound of modern alternative metal. It's full of heavy riffs and singable melodies, with electro background for epic atmosphere that feels bigger than life.