Behind ‘Shades of Cool’: How to Make a One-Take Music Video

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Carry a bunch of heavy stuff.

At least, that will get you most of the way there. A couple weeks ago we made a submission for ReverbNation’s #1TakeCovers contest, which is basically a contest to see who can put on the most interesting performance in one take, both audio and video-wise.

Since Evan and I are usually the cinematographers for our own video projects, we were down a camera op and had to use a tripod. But we opted for a more interesting location, and filmed on a concrete foundation where an old saw mill used to be.

So here’s how we pulled it off:

  1. We rehearsed our butts off. We also made a couple sample recordings so that we could set our levels on the Tascam DR-680 before heading out to shoot.
  2. We hauled all the gear—drums, mic stands, amps, everything—out to the site that you see in the video. The location was about 100-200 yards away from car access, so we got our upper-body routine in for the day, too. Two birds, one video.
  3. We hauled more gear. I’m sure the pressing question about this video is how we got electricity in the middle of nowhere, but fortunately for us one of my pals has access to a small generator we were allowed to use. A heavy but welcome stroke of luck. This involved getting gasoline and bringing a multitude of extension cords to make sure it didn’t interfere with the recording.
  4. Recording time! We did about 7 takes total until it was too dark to do any more. There even a take with a train running in the background, which was pretty cool. Fighting wind interference was a little tough, and my cravat ended up on the drum overhead mic as a wind sock. But like everything else, you can always fix it in…
  5. Post. Just kidding. You can’t fix everything in post-production. Ever. But you can mix and master the tracks, which is what I did next. I worked within Ableton Live 9, and Evan handled color correction and video/audio sync within Adobe Premiere.

So why 'Shades of Cool'?
I think Lana Del Rey has grown as an artist the more she’s stirred up controversy. Not some trite celebrity buzz, but basically everything that Ultraviolence stands for. Whether or not she got off to something of a populist start, she’s had some pretty profound things to say in the face of a critical, misogynic press. And the best part is that she doesn’t really seem to care about what they think anymore. Ultraviolence embodies what Lana Del Rey does best: being dour, scathing, and sincere all at once in a seemingly effortless manner. She’s got gusto, and that merits respect.
Additionally, none of the other songs we had the option to cover hold a candle to Lana Del Rey. Except ‘Latch,’ which we couldn’t do in a million years.

Catch our cover of 'Shades of Cool' below.

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  • #1takecovers #reverbnation #shades of cool #lana del rey #ultraviolence #cover #recording #music video #how to #tutorial #contest #ableton #adobe #premiere #highland habits #wearethehits
  • 1 month ago
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Highland Habits cover Lana Del Rey’s ‘Shades of Cool’

Watch, share, and like to help us win $1000 for our touring fund in Reverbnation’s #1TakeCovers contest!

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doin’ that warmup thing. #1takecovers

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wrote a new song.

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  • 2 months ago

The King of Farbs // Music Video OUT NOW

FREE DOWNLOAD - https://soundcloud.com/highlandhabits/the-king-of-farbs

Music by Highland Habits
Produced & directed by Daniel Cespedes
Additional cinematography by Mari Zee
© Highland Habits, 2014

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