A Blackmagic RAW workflow through acquisition to post was used to film and deliver Ed Sheeran’s headline performance for virtual music festivals. Discover how it was done.
Virtual festivals, which became regular venues due to the pandemic, have a clear advantage over normal festivals: the same performance can be used multiple times. A good example is Ed Sheeran’s recent 10 track performance, which was filmed by London based production agency Electric Light Studio (ELS), using a Blackmagic RAW workflow through acquisition to post, to be used in Summer virtual music festivals iHeartRadio KIIS FM Wango Tango and Pandora LIVE: Ed Sheeran.
The performance included the debut single Bad Habits from Sheeran’s latest album. With more than 3.6 million views already, “Bad Habits” is the first performance from the recordings to go live and is available to watch on YouTube.
Working to a creative plan set by lighting and production designer Mark Cuniffe and agreed by the US radio platforms with Ed Sheeran, it was left to Electric Light Studio to get all of the required coverage in a single day. Talking about the agency, Stuart Camp, Ed Sheeran Manager, said “ELS are a pleasure to work with and always bring a fine tuned, creative team to the project.”
URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 for handheld work
“We were asked to take care of filming ten performances but with two very distinct looks,“ begins Dan Massie, director, producer and ELS MD and cofounder. “Each track had a different setup, and for some tracks, we didn’t get to see the lighting state until we were shooting it, so there was a lot of flying by the seat of our pants.“
“The challenge with multicam work is always how to get enough great shots without the master camera ruining everyone else’s shot,“ says Massie. “I wanted to use the jib camera as our A cam and worked the camera plan around this.”
Massie, with DP Ben Coughlan, subsequently opted for an acquisition package based on four URSA Mini Pro 12Ks variously rigged on jibs, Steadicam, dollies and tripods, and supplemented that with a URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 for handheld work.
“We used a Pocket Cinema Camera 6K as an additional camera rigged to the jib, effectively getting us two different sized shots from the jib,“ explains Massie.
Blackmagic RAW is awesome to work with in post
Since multicam is typically shot with spherical lenses, ELS wanted to mix it up slightly and embraced the softer anamorphic look by pairing the URSA Mini Pro 12K with Angenieux Optimo zooms and Cooke anamorphic primes.
The tracks were for different HD outputs, so ELS shot in 4K at 25fps with a 16:9 aspect ratio for one set and 23.97fps and 2:39 for the other.
“I love the image we get from the URSA Mini Pro 12K, and shooting Blackmagic RAW is perfect for our workflow,“ Massie says. “We chose Blackmagic RAW Q5 constant quality as its conservative with the data without compromising on image quality, which for a multicam shoot with ten tracks was very useful.“ Andy Morgan edited and graded at ELS on DaVinci Resolve.
“Blackmagic RAW is awesome to work with in post and keeps our DIT, and IT teams happy too, with file sizes that don’t kill loads of hard drives. All the information is there to give us flexibility in the grade.“
“There was a pre light the evening before, and the shoot day was 8am till 8pm with a crew of 35, but the setup and schedule were intense,“ Massie says. “It was great rising to the challenge of shooting so many tracks in such a short space of time.“