Behind the Scenes: The Heist

The 2016 Jameson INDIE Channel Music Video Grant is in full effect right now, with the teams behind both winners currently hard at work in the editing suite. It’s only a matter of time now until we launch two of the most fearless music videos of the year.

Following on our behind-the-scenes coverage of the Desmond and the Tutus ‘Boogieman’ video, we jumped on set a couple days later to see how Paul Yates and BETR Gang were getting along with bringing their vision for ‘The Heist’ to life. To refresh your memory, the co-winning concept that cemented their victory in the INDIE Channel MVG centred on “the idea of authenticity as an artist, and the consequences we deal with when we lose that authenticity,” in the director’s words.

Starting before sunrise and ending deep into the evening, the cast and crew certainly demonstrated commitment to the project, with a Herculean effort in difficult circumstances. The shoot was split across two locations – a dusty street in Pimville, Soweto, and a boxing gym in Hillbrow – on an unusually hot winter’s day. Both presented challenges in terms of being public spaces, but the crew kept cool heads and managed to pull off some incredible shots with the limited time they had. Cinematographer Devin Tosselli (clearly a very in-demand DOP seeing as he was also chosen to shoot the ‘Boogieman’ video) was key in this regard, remarkably composed despite the urgency and sheer physicality demanded of him at all times. Camera geeks, look out for the difference that using anamorphic lenses makes to the production quality – definitely a worthwhile investment with the R100 000 grant, taking things to a new level.

The energy and passion that BETR Gang – comprising rappers Solo and Buks – brought to set was invigorating and inspiring. Well aware of what a massive opportunity this shoot presented them as an emerging hip-hop outfit, they gave 110% in every single shot. Even when they were being beat down and stripped of their clothing by an angry mob (don’t worry, you’ll see…), they maintained a level of focus and excitement that radiated throughout the entire set. It was either that or the semi-clad ‘golden girls’ in their iridescent bikinis, gyrating to the insanely catchy track for most of the morning. If motivation and hard work are any barometer of imminent success (and I suspect they are), BETR Gang are going places in a hurry.

There’s a truism in filmmaking that the outcome of the shoot is directly proportional to the amount of fun had on set. Which means you have something exceptional to look forward to in the next few weeks. Look out for the full behind-the-scenes video, coming soon to the Jameson INDIE Channel.

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