Tombstone Crow: Road to Bloodstock Festival 2015
We teamed up with Geordie metal band Tombstone Crow to document their experience at one of Europe’s best metal festivals. Blank Slate Documentary is proud to present a brand new featurette. Compiled of footage shot by the band on location, with post production and interview footage by Blank Slate. The band take us behind the scenes and give us a full lowdown on their experience at Bloodstock Festival 2015 \m/
We’re also very proud to announce that their full Bloodstock performance will be released on DVD. Produced and edited by Blank Slate Creative, it will be available soon via the band.
As a tasty teaser; here is one of our favourite songs from the set…
Sound mixed by Andy Bright. Sound recorded and footage by festival crew – The Dark Box
Our head videographer directed and produced the music video which helped to win them a slot of the prestigious festival. David Hall tells us a little bit about that video.
“I had directed a few music videos before I came to know Tombstone Crow.
Some had achieved a certain degree of success, such as premiering through Metal Hammer magazine’s web site. Pretty rewarding, as I had never intended to make them with any sort of business model, mostly I pursued them as content for a potential demo reel to gain more production work.
As I looked to beef up said demo reel, I was recommended many local bands that would benefit from a music video. For me, the prime candidate needed to be a band with a unique aspect to it, something that would make it a worthwhile shoot.
I needed the band to meet me in the middle and understand that as long as they put the effort in when it came to shooting, I would also redouble that effort during the production. We would mutually benefit from our artistic alliance, no fees would be charged and no money would change hands.
With Tombstone Crow I got all that and more; an original metal band that had risen like a phoenix from the ashes of two other noted local bands, made a name for themselves while gigging relentlessly, and possessed a unique female vocal talent.
Creating the video as content for myself, and with most bands usually being strapped for cash meant that there was no budget for the production.
Instead, we all brought something to the table to get the video made. Tombstone Crow secured noted rock bar Trillians as the location, and I used what kit I had available to shoot and eventually, edit the video.
As well as directing the video, I was also the sole crewmember.
My preferred shooting kit involved the use of two Panasonic DSLR’s, eBay bought vintage lenses, and cheap speed boosters. The speed boosters acted as a lens adapter, letting me use fast old Canon lenses while also gaining an extra stop of light, important when shooting in a dark club. Another bonus was that it adjusted the field of view on my crop-sensor DSLRs to that of a full-frame camera.
I also employed the use of a cheap skater dolly, allowing a DSLR to be mounted upon it and make tracking shots across a smooth surface, in this case I utilised a rather glamorous collapsible pasting table!
The eventual shoot went well, and lasted about five hours, the chosen song ‘Soul of a Sinner’ now permanently seared into our brains.
Upon reviewing the footage, I was very pleased with how things turned out. My lens choices had worked well, and coupled with the gelled lighting from Trillians lighting rig, meant that we had a good looking vid.
No grading was applied to the video. 2.35:1 mattes were added, but the shots were legitimately composed for this ratio during shooting. The edit was completed using Final Cut Pro 7.
Following the release of the video, members of Tombstone Crow contacted me to say that they had used the video to represent the band in the Bloodstock Hobgoblin Metal 2 the Masses Video Competition.
People from around the world were invited to upload a music video or live performance of their respective band. Fans worldwide could vote for their favourite video, with the winning band eventually playing the New Blood Stage at the Bloodstock Festival.
The end date seemed so far away at this point, it was easy to forget when the winner would be revealed.
All along I was hoping that the video would at the very least get some positive feedback, but with competition worldwide, this was maybe too great a task to actually win.
Then one morning, not too far from the actual festival itself, I received a semi-cryptic message from Andy Bright, Tombstone Crows guitar maestro.
I followed a web link included in the message and was immediately dumbstruck, I couldn’t make sense of the words I was reading! Lo and behold, our efforts had paid off: Tombstone Crow had received an overwhelming majority of votes, from all over the world. They were going to Bloodstock!
It was a great feeling, knowing that our humble video had achieved some success, and that our hard work had seen some reward.
This was the ideal outcome for us working together towards a similar goal. We had collectively brought our skills to the table and really achieved something.
While I may have worked on larger scale projects prior to this, the experience I had in making ‘Soul of a Sinner’ was most definitely the most rewarding.
Speculatively producing a music video to promote my own skills, is one aspect in the genesis of the production, but the video transcended this and achieved its ultimate true goal of successfully promoting the featured band.
I want to thank everyone involved along the way: Tombstone Crow, Trillians, and particularly Hobgoblin and Bloodstock for running such a great competition. While the end result usually provides the greatest reward to the band, I’m personally extremely grateful to have had a platform to display my work to a receptive audience.
As a childhood fan of the ‘A-Team’, I think one particular catchphrase springs to mind that sums up my experience: … I love it when a plan comes together!”
Behind the scenes gallery: Making the documentary & Bloodstock rehearsals