A few weeks ago, rapper Joey Bada$$ and I collaborated on a music video for the single “No. 99”, an uptempo Hip Hop anthem reminiscent of a 1990’s classic. Our goal was to create a voyeuristic, gritty street video with many scenes of chaos sprinkled throughout. Realizing this would require two shoot days and multiple locations, I came up with a simple gear list that would get us through our many setups.
Dual GH4’s with Metabones Canon FD Speedboosters were used. B Cam was mounted with a Canon FD 35-105mm f3.5 for mediums and closeups while A Cam used the Canon FD 20mm f2.8 with the ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light rigged to a custom shoulder mount. To power the ring light we used a Switronix XP-L90S Lithium Battery with a Fiilex D-Tap Cable.
P&C Shoulder Rig Handles and a Honu GH4 Cage with a top handle were used to mount the ring light across three points with velcro straps. Since the camera had to sit in the middle of the ring, this was the most efficient way to rig it. From there we ran the Fiilex D-Tap cable to the Switronix battery inside of our Camera Operator’s jacket, giving us a power source that would last all day. And since we were going for a voyeuristic, run and gun feel, this would be our main camera setup for every scene.
To shoot Joey and a mob full of his crew performing, we utilized the Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis Camera Gimbal with a Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye for our C Cam while shooting from the back of a cargo van. Since the road at our main location was littered with potholes, the Birdycam eliminated almost 95% of the shakiness.
We also incorporated the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter mounted with the GoPro HERO4 for a few scenes that would simulate footage from a news helicopter. Our location in Willets Point, NY also known as the Iron Triangle has a very post-apocalyptic appearance and is filled with auto repair shops and scrap yards – a feast for aerial shooting.
Occasionally we would require some fill or backlight so we used the F&V K4000 LED Light Panel. This worked great with the ring light and helped to enhance all the background action. Any additional fill on Joey came from the prop torches he was wielding. A run and gun yet highly organized effort made this a great shoot to work on. By minimizing our gear list, we were able to get more setups and candid moments. Check out the full video below and let me know what you think!