Music video directors Ian McFarland and Mike Pecci (above) have built a reputation for using the cinematic arts and sciences to translate the darkest moments of humanity into a visual experience. Their style is gritty, raw, sometimes controversial, and always compelling. Their most recent project is the video for “Anodyne Sea,” the latest single from metal band As I Lay Dying’s new album The Powerless Rise.
The “Anodyne Sea” video tackles the issue of free speech and the entire video is shot from the POV perspective of drummer Jordan Mancino as the band is kidnapped from a radio station by an oppressive local militia. Technology played a crucial role in McFarland & Pecci achieving their vision. The video is shot using a custom designed helmet-cam rig with a Nikon D7000 HD-SLR camera (below) and Teradek Cube for wireless video monitoring.
McFarland & Pecci chose the Nikon D7000 because its small size, large sensor with 1080p recording, wide range of lenses, user adjustable video output over HDMI, excellent image quality in low light (with an ISO range of up to 6400), autofocus while recording video, and reliability. “The camera took quite a beating,” says director Mike Pecci. “We had it mounted to the face of our camera operator [and co-director Ian McFarland] as he was pulled down hallways, thrown into vans, and dragged through the San Diego desert. The Nikon stayed with us with no crashes from impact.”
The cornerstone of the on-set workflow was the use of the Teradek Cube Encoder and Decoder for wireless video monitoring. The Teradek Cube — which earned a DV Black Diamond Award at Digital Video Expo 2010 — is small (about the size of a deck of cards) and weighs only 6 ounces, meaning the encoder could be mounted directly to the helmet-cam rig. The Cube Encoder streamed HD video over WiFi to a Cube Decoder mounted on a handheld, battery-powered 7” Marshall monitor. This allowed complete freedom of movement for both the cameraman and the director.
“When we came up with the concept for this video I knew that we were going to have trouble finding some sort of wireless monitor set-up that would work with a DSLR,” says Pecci “I called rental companies all over the country, and spent time on the phone talking about UHF transmitters, HDMI to standard-def converters, and awkward battery belts. Working with Teradek was a relief because we didn’t need all of that heavy gear. A tiny transmitter, a wi-fi hub, and we had a HD signal being broadcast to either our laptop or handheld monitor. We used it both on set and out in the middle of a San Diego desert and it allowed me to see what was happening while it was happening.”
The use of the Teradek Cube Encoder and Decoders combined with the Nikon D7000 allowed McFarland & Pecci to create a highly stylized and compelling rock video in a time-frame and on a budget that would have been impossible just two years ago.
“We’re always looking for new and exciting technology that will help us translate our crazy ideas to film,” says director Ian McFarland. “It’s extremely reassuring as independent filmmakers to have the opportunity to work with companies like Teradek and Nikon, who not only believe in us, and supporting new filmmakers, but also are working on technology that is making our workflow easier.”