Category Archives: Music

Making Kidsmoke’s ‘Heartache’ music video.

kidsmoke heartache
Kidsmoke – Heartache artwork by Mike Payne.

A couple of years ago I went to see Satellite Stories at Soup Kitchen. The opening act blew me away and I just had to buy them a drink and offer to collaborate. Kidsmoke is an indie-pop band from Wrexham/Manchester, and we finally had the pleasure to work with them.

Originally, we were going to shoot the video for Cut Yourself Loose, but we had scheduling issues, so we planned to shoot Heartache instead. They are two very different songs, so we had to rethink the whole filmmaking approach. All the band wanted was to be featured playing the song and a similar aesthetic to Joy Division’s Love will tear us apart, so there was no need to include a narrative in the traditional sense.

Songs are constructed in a way that feels like a story, at level of composition, regardless of the lyrics, so it was easy to think of a visual narrative to complement each part of the song. The track itself kicks off in a sudden, with a strong bass line. The first thing I thought of when listening to this track was The Stroke’s Reptilia, which inspired the opening shots of the video. I love the slow reveal of the band and it fit Heartache perfectly. What resources could I use to achieve this? Featuring the instruments instead of the musicians and using extreme close-ups and very shallow field of depth.

I collaborated with Stefanos Aktipis and Angus Graham in the making of this video. Even though I knew exactly how we were going to shoot it, they helped polish those ideas for shots and improve them when needed. The process was very smooth and the video was shot in about 3 hours at Bonerooms rehearsal rooms in Brunswick Mill. We put a lot of effort into the planning stages, being the first time we worked with a band, with a deadline and in a rented location where time was of the essence. It was all extremely worth it.

Moving onto post-production, the editing went smoothly. I wanted to capture each member of the band individually when possible, as it would allow me to cut to them when a particular part of the song stood out, kind of like a visual equaliser. A good example would be the drum fill before the chorus, or the climactic bridge before the last chorus. The tempo of the editing also picks up the pace as it goes on and when hitting the chorus.

Graded footage comparative
Stills from flat profile footage on the left – Colour corrected and colour graded on the right.

Colour correction and grading were probably the most intense parts of post-production. We shot in a flat profile so we would have more room to move around, especially at the colour grading stage. This was the first time I worked with DaVinci Resolve for grading the video, and I am very happy with the results. It is such a powerful tool and very versatile. As you can see in the before and after images, we really had a lot of room for modification. After finishing the grading, we added a 35mm film filter and some vignetting.

You can watch the music video below:

This video was shot on a Canon 6D and GoPro for the mounted shots.