David Knight - 10th Aug 2008

Caswell Coggins has directed five videos for The Feeling and his latest, for Join With Us, is probably the best of the lot. It's certainly the most interesting in terms of how it was made - and potentially most significant.

The band are a set of quintessentially English gentlemen, wearing natty Edwardian suits, acting up in an English park through rain and shine - until they discover a hidden funfair from a more modern era in a secret garden - and then break out their instruments for a climactic rock-out.

The band look relaxed - it's probably the best, most appropriate vehicle they've ever had - and with a song with a killer chorus that has already been exposed via a car commercial it's going to be a big success. Certainly you wouldn't guess, without prior knowledge, that it was subject to a very particular, and on the face of it highly unlikely set of restrictions. But the fact is the video is the result of a special challenge to shoot, edit and deliver the video within 24 hours.

On the morning of July 16th, London's Capital Radio breakfast show hosts Johnny Vaughan and Denise van Outen sent The Feeling on their way to the location in West London; exactly a day later the video was complete, and was delivered to Capital and Sky TV, where it was broadcast for the first time.

Last Sunday (Aug 3rd) the story of that 24 hours making the video was told on Channel 4's T4. But it's doubtful that the show dwelled on the most significant element of this project. Despite the involvement of Capital Radio and its owners GCap and several broadcasters, the most interesting (and lucrative) contribution came from Intel Computers, who sponsored it.

That sponsorship meant Caswell Coggins and his team at Crossroads Films had the budget to achieve something remotely watchable under those restrictions. They may have been lucky with the weather, but the most important fact was the budget was in the region of £80K. They brought in the funfair to the location at Osterley Park in West London. There was enough money for the essential pre-production, which made the "24 hour challenge" achievable.

But it also brought a challenge in itself. "We had to devise a system that would involve Intel's technology as an integral part of the technology used in the transfer and edit process," reveals Caswell. "The only way to achieve the video would be to shoot on a HD format in order to be able to transfer scenes as we shot - an editor was on set to be able to piece the video together as we went. Nevertheless I wanted to have a very cinematic look for the video so Richard Mott, my DoP, recommended the Red camera, with Cook 35mm prime lenses to achieve that look."

The production indeed devised a system, with the help of camera supplier Sonic Films, to transfer footage from the Red camera using Intel technology (the usual transfer system for Red footage is Mac-based). Editor Owen Oppenheimer was therefore able to cut the video as they went - with the help of an animatic made in pre-production.

Caswell was similarly obliged to shoot the board. "Barry Wasserman [1st AD on the shoot] asked if we could afford to lose any shots. I told him that would just leave holes in the video," he recalls. "But we decided to shoot the whole thing on a Steadicam which turned out to be a very good move."

He adds that the whole English gentleman concept had come from the band's love of the Beatles films - and the Monkees - with their inherent sense of fun. "On the day, they were brilliant," says Caswell. And the band even allowed him to do a sound edit on the track, so the guitar break near the end is lengthened.

When the shoot wrapped at 10pm, Owen and Caswell completed the edit until the early hours. Then they headed back into central London, to Rushes, where colourist Simone Grattarola executed a mastergrade on the edited video.

Simone has worked on each of Caswell Coggins' videos for The Feeling and he has revealed that, apart from having to start work at 4am, it was probably the easiest of the lot - due to the level of preparation and Richard Mott's gorgeous cinematography.

The video was actually completed at around 6.30am - a full hour before it was due to be delivered at Capital. Mission impossible was accomplished - and Caswell is aware he may be setting some kind of unholy precedent in the process. But he stresses the obvious point that the sheer quality of the clip - that wonderful film quality that Richard Mott's photography achieved for example - was because it was a video that was properly resourced.

"What a pleasure to have a sizeable crew," says Caswell. "What a difference it makes." So any future 'challenges' sponsored by major corporations are hugely welcome.

Ideas on a postcard...

Watch 'The Feeling’s Join With Us by Caswell Coggins' here


Production CompanyCrossroads Films
DirectorCaswell Coggins
ProducerKwok Yau
Director of PhotographyRichard Mott
Art DirectorBen Ansell
EditorOwen Oppenheimer
ColouristSimone Grattarola
CommissionerCarmen Montanez

David Knight - 10th Aug 2008

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