Next up in our series of HTF Industry features is Rob Brandon. He studied video production at Bucks New University and has filmed various live music gigs and productions for TV and radio, alongside producing music videos for bands. He is currently working in Austria, editing for Red Bull. I caught up with Rob to talk about music videos specifically, to give you a bit of insight into the inner workings of a video producer.
HTF – Hit The Floor
RB – Rob Brandon
HTF – When did you start making music videos?
RB – My first music video was for a song that I’d made, less of a song and more of an electronic mess. My friend had a camera he had never used and I had just started a film production college course. It was me, Owain (the lad with the camera) and my friend Andy, who is still in a lot of the stuff I film, running around my town in the middle of winter at about 3 in the morning. Andy had his top off and we were throwing cold water on him to make him look more sweaty. I had no idea how to film or edit anything so it’s all a complete mess. It’s on youtube, I uploaded it a couple of years back, it only has about twelve views and im pretty sure those are all me.
HTF – What made you want to start producing videos?
RB – Michael jackson is what made me want to start. I watched Michael videotapes everyday after school, and everything he did was magic, no other artist really makes me go ‘how is that even possible?’ Like in Smooth Criminal, where Michael does the lean really close to the ground, or the moonwalk, or the end of Black or White when he turns into a panther. As a kid I just accepted that it was Michael Jackson, not a normal person, but something closer to being a God. After years of trying to turn into a panther I realised that it was all done on a computer and so that was the way to go.
HTF – What is the best thing about what you do?
RB – The best thing about what I do is like any creative job. You have an idea in your head, you work really hard and make lots of mistakes but eventually you create something you can touch or see or hear from just an idea. That satisfaction is the best feeling for me.
HTF – What has been your career highlight so far?
RB – I loved 120 minutes on MTV2 – it was one of my favorite shows. I would record it everynight as it was on really late. It’s all of those videos you see really late that are just exploding with ideas that motivate you to try and show people you can compete with those guys. I made a video for a band called ‘Glamour for Better’ whilst at uni. A week or so after completion I saw it on 120 minutes at 2 in the morning. It was my first video I saw on TV and seeing it on a show that I absolutely adored was amazing. The show has stopped now which breaks my heart.
HTF – What inspires your ideas for the videos you make?
RB – I’m not sure. Everything; friends, lovers, music, other films, accidents and compliments. I don’t know where else inspiration would come from?
HTF – Which bands have you done videos for?
RB – I haven’t done as many videos as I would like. I filmed lots of really great bands live, but getting to make a music video for those guys is a lot more difficult. I have done videos for Magistrates (XL), Glamour for Better (Ear Candy), Echelon (Poptones), Dresdon Dolls (Road Runner), Chromata (The Sound Of Everything) and some great unsigned bands, Stealing Signs and Cat House – those videos have been the most fun to do. I’m actually shooting a new video next week for Stealing Signs again. They are such a great little rock band and just so funny to hang around with. They’ve just finished a new song and I have got a few days spare to fly to the UK to get it done, I cant wait. We have no money or locations or props, just an idea – it will either be a mess or the best thing I’ve done.
HTF – What equipment do you use?
RB – Most of the stuff I’ve filmed has been on a sweet little camera called the Panasonic AGDVX100a. It’s been my love for years, but it’s old now – I’m actually just about to sell it. That’s gonna hurt. I’m looking forward to shooting on the new Canon 7D, its an SLR but it shoots insanely good video. It actually upsets me knowing how much time I’ve spent wasted on lens adaptors and things to make my Panasonic look as good as this tiny little thing. Kubrick would be turning.
HTF – What would your advice be to people who want to get into this field?
RB – I’m not sure im one to give advice, I would never consider myself successful. Maybe in another 10 years I might be successful, for now I’m just happy learning about music and film. So, my advice to people wanting to get into music videos is make sure you have some really REALLY good ideas because music videos are now huge! MTV is dying and the Internet is giving birth to a whole new breed of filmmakers, people that do everything themselves. amazing videos from kids that never have to leave the bedroom. So get on with it! chop chop!
Below is a Showreel of some of Rob’s previous work:
To watch Rob’s videos in full or read his blog – go to www.robbrandon.co.uk.