"Four Horsemen" by Whiskey Gentry || Director's Cut.
Five years ago, in 2009, I got my hands on my first Canon 5DIII and solo shot this music video for The Whiskey Gentry. While I'd been shooting commercial and editorial stills for many years prior, this was my first true opportunity to solo shoot and edit a music video.** We shot on location in the mountains of North Georgia at an abandoned home property, in an actual mine, and later finished the shoot at The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta.
At the time, I was pretty pumped with the result. A few years ago however, I quietly retired the video from my reel because it no longer reflected my best work, mostly due to rooking choices in the both the edit, and edit styling.
As 2014 closed out, while cleaning off hard drives and reorganizing media, I came across my original Final Cut Pro project. For kicks, I opened it up and started noodling with it. As someone who has been editing full-time now for five years, I got a real laugh out of my editing technique and project structure. In spite of that, I had two more realizations.
First, I still love "Four Horsemen" by The Whiskey Gentry. I love it so much in fact, it still pains me to not have a version of the video worth sharing. In my opinion, it may be one of the greatest undiscovered country ballads of our time. It's haunting, beautiful, forlorn at times, and refreshingly honest. I remember thinking back in 2009 that this was the perfect song to introduce Lauren Staley's voice and song writing to the world. I maintain that position.
Second, I realized I could bring new life to this video with some restructuring of the original content. I ported the project to Premiere Pro CC 2014 and cut a new edit using an anamorphic canvas to reinforce the cinematic locales we shot at. I also slowed down the pacing a bit, to better to get out of the way the slow-burn quality of the performance and story being told.
Once the cut was locked, I used SpeedGrade CC 2014 to punch up a more filmic look. If I could go back in time I probably would have set up a few shots a little different, used better lenses, etc. but hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. That said, I'm still really pleased that this footage holds up five years down the road.
I hope you enjoy the video. More importantly, I hope more music lovers around the world will find and appreciate this song. It's a country / blue-grass ballad classic.
** My first music video was actually "Tanya Harding" by The Coathangers in 2008 but that was shot entirely with photos on a 5DII and was edited in Flash (the only tool I had to use at the time...), and exercise I hope never to repeat.