Well there's one for the bucket list: Collaborating with none other than the infamous Brian May to create this branded content film for his beastly Signature Series with Vox Amplification. Joining forces with this dream duo, we set out to make Brian May’s recognisable tone accessible to the next generation of musicians, all for the launch of the ‘Brian May Signature Series’. This collection includes both the ‘MV50 Brian May’ and ‘amPlug Brian May’ which was also released as a limited edition Special collector's set that includes cabinet, keychain, and postcard. Our brief was to create 1 x 60 second spotlights on each product plus 15 second social cut downs as well as product photography with Brian May. Oh and we only had 1.5hrs with the legend to do this… so no small feat!
As avid music players and lovers, creating a launch video for the release of these two amps was right up our street. We were honoured to get to know Brian May, through his personal stories, questioning where his tone came from, the reason for the new products, and why they’re useful… He also took us through some of his recognisable riffs all whilst he showed off the capacity of the products.
From the get-go, we knew it was important for us to see the products as stand alone items, whilst also seeing Brian May himself interacting with both products to truly showcase why he chose to put his backing behind the collection. Because, when it came down to it we knew who Brian May was, but not why he wanted to back this line of products, so we set about planning the film with as much of a personal and creative touch as we could. This meant a location personal to Brian May, a small crew, and the main focus being on the love of the products and the music they helped to create.
Brian kindly suggested filming in his home in London - the very one he raised his children in during the Queen days, and it really set the scene for the personal film we had envisioned. The whole place was filled with memorabilia for him, and full of inspiration for us!
With Tom Staniford directing, and a lightweight team of DP and Sound technician, we were excited for our own personal and intimate gig with the Queen legend. We initially mapped out 4 hours to shoot everything, but due to Brian May’s previous commitments we ended up having 1.5hrs to fit in everything we wanted from him. But, with Brian being the true performer he is, he needed almost no rehearsal to completely nail it.
Brian was incredibly warm and inviting to his space, and Vox fully put their trust in Tom or Director to take complete control of the shoot. But, being in Brian’s home meant that we were shooting in a 4 metre squared space so we had to adapt our approach, ending up with three separate lighting set ups in 90 minutes. After Brian had to go, we finished with a final set up for product photography, and seeing as we had such minimal time it made sense to make the most of the 2 camera set up and shoot the products on the RED 8K Raptor.
Both visuals and audio were crucial to showcase the products. Complimenting the brand colour red of the products, with deep red LED RGB strip lights to really set the tone for the shoot. Paired with the analogue mixing desk backdrop, it really allowed us to get a premium end result.
Audio was the next consideration, as we simultaneously needed to hear Brian May talking and playing his guitar, but he also needed to hear himself play, in the end a lot of cables were needed to make it work. Once the cables were packed away, we had our final longing looks at the instruments on display, and the edit began - superbly put together by our own Mitch Hall, then graded by our friends at The Mill and bringing their colour skills into the mix.
We decided to exclusively use audio from the day to give it an inherently Queen feel. As Brian played his iconic riffs, we got to see the true extent of the products, and just how much fun Brian had using them.
Just as the colour red featured heavily during production, we opted for a bold, bright red in the edit to accentuate the colour of the products, and Brian’s infamous red guitar, of course. Everyone always wants things in red, right?
Not only did Vox love the end result, but we were thrilled to hear that Brian May did as well. And with a combined total of nearly 400,000 views on YouTube, we had “Don’t stop me now!” playing on repeat in our heads.