Ollie Stephens Music Project
I'm currently having a great time working with Ollie Stephens, in preparation for the upcoming launch of his debut album - Together We Belong. Ollie is a talented singer songwriter based in Devon, and having worked for many years on the local live music scene as lead singer in various popular covers bands, he decided to pursue his own music.
I've known Ollie for a number of years and was very excited when he approached me for help with videography, album art and general promotional marketing. So far the project has involved a video shoot of his live acoustic gig at The Stable Bar in Exeter, and two other location shoots to make a start on his very first music video. The album is due to be launched very soon so we are currently working flat out to get as much done as we can - snippets of his live performances for social media, a full music video, photos, and I've also been coming up with some concepts for artwork and potential album covers.
The general concept of Ollie's first video is of a man that has been through a seriously rough time, but comes out the other side. This week, in and around my wedding work, we spent a couple of hours in Holden Forest just outside of Exeter. Holden is on high ground and on a wet and windy day, it's the perfect location for conveying a bleak and miserable visual experience. It was wet, windy and extremely muddy. Ollie displayed some serious dedication. I arrived dressed in waterproofs, boots and a parka. I also borrowed his large umbrella to keep my cameras and equipment dry. Well, at least try. Ollie however put on a shirt and took of his shoes. He walked, ran and jumped through the forest in various scenes - all completely bare foot. After a couple of hours the poor chap was drenched through and absolutely freezing, but still as keen as ever to get the job done. He was up for anything. The result was some seriously cool footage of a man that is genuinely lost and in a very bad place.
Due to the pretty severe weather conditions and the wilderness like nature of the location, I had to keep gear to a minimum. I took two cameras - a Canon 5D with 50mm lens for stills, and a Canon 80D on a steadycam for the film work. We had no option but to approach the shoot in a run and gun fashion, but it worked out well, as the footage has a very raw feeling to it, which is exactly what we wanted.
We then kept an eye on the weather forecast and returned a couple of days letter to obtain contrasting shots in the same location - bright sunshine and a 'light at the end of the tunnel'. We also managed to get the drone up to obtain some breathtaking aerials. We have another shoot booked in for early this week to shoot a sunrise, and a whole new scene which I'm very excited about.
One of the things I've enjoyed most about this project so far has been trying my hand at photography and graphic design for the first time in a while. It's been great fun working in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop again - it's been a while! But my heart and expertise are in video, so it goes without saying that I'm extremely excited about the video production. If you fancy a little taster, check out the little teaser below. I put this together for Ollie to use on Social Media, using snips of footage from our shoots so far. Obviously I'm not giving too much away!
Here's a teaser from Ollie's live show at The Stable, Exeter:
So I'm really enjoying this project so far. We have many more ideas and lots of great content to come. If Ollie decides to run with a different track on the album for his first single - we could have a second video on our hands pretty soon. As primarily a wedding videographer, these projects are extremely helpful to me. It's always important to take a break from wedding films and focus on something else for a few hours. Often when you go back to a wedding film where you left off, you spot things that you didn't before. From a creative perspective, it also provides you with new ideas that you could adapt and incorporate into filming weddings, and of course more experience filming in different locations and different weather conditions. It's all helpful stuff!
No doubt Ollie and I will be working closely together going forward. I've listened to his album many times over (I currently have it on in my car!) and it's genuinely awesome stuff. From heartfelt and epic tracks, to feel good pop songs, you really can't put it in a box. He's an extremely talented guy, and a true pleasure to work with, and I look forward to the work ahead. Please go and check out his website to find out more about him, his journey, and of course keep up to date with live shows and that all important album launch!
More updates to follow soon!