May 1, 2022 at 9:00 AM
by Black Box Productions

Here beginneth the story of the singer, the sword, and the music video.

Our tale starts with a call from Cadence Music Group looking to shoot a music video for singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright’s new single, "Love Will Be Reborn." Martha Wainwright has released several singles and albums over the past few years, including her most recent single "Wolves". The newly released single precedes her highly anticipated first album in over four years.

While brainstorming concepts for the music video, director Josh Usheroff felt that "Love Will Be Reborn" reminded him of moving from the darkness of night into the light of a new day. According to Josh, "The song lyrics reminded me of the dark winter ending and the brightness and joy of springtime around the corner." In the context of Covid-19, these lyrics can also be interpreted as a reopening after being in lockdown for so long. Therefore, the vision for this concept was to take place outdoors in nature, moving from the darkness of the forest at night towards the sunrise and the birth of a new day.

After pitching our idea, Martha mentioned that her son Arcangelo was interested in stories about King Arthur and wanted to participate in the music video. We found inspiration in this and incorporated medieval themes into the music video, with both of her sons participating. We melded both ideas together, moving from the darkness of the forest at night to the daylight, while Martha’s children re-enacted scenes from King Arthur tales such as pulling a sword from a stone, riding hobby horses through the forest, dueling as medieval knights, and teaming up to fight a dragon.

To imbue our music video with Middle Ages magic, our art director Gabrielle Mulholland created hobby horses for the knights to ride, swords for the knights to battle with, medieval-themed wardrobes for Martha’s two sons, and a kerosene torch for Martha to carry through the forest. Our goal for this music video was not to recreate the story of King Arthur but to use crafty, handmade props to represent the wild and creative imagination of children.

We filmed the music video in a forest just outside Wentworth, Quebec. We gathered a crew of around ten people, adhering to Covid-19 protocols. The shoot lasted twelve hours, from noon until midnight, to capture shots during the day and into the night. We used two Black Magic Pocket Cinema 6K cameras, one on a Ronin 2 gimbal and the other mostly handheld or on a tripod. The look was completed with vintage Leica R lenses and Black Pro-Mist filters to further soften the image. One challenge of filming in a remote location at night was figuring out how to light it. During the night scene of Martha holding the torch, we used an Aputure 600d LED light with a blue gel, powered by a generator, to capture the essence of stylized blue moonlight shining through the forest. In production, we always manage to come up with a creative vision and find the technical solutions to make it possible.

During the editing process, we approached our scenes with our vision for the edit in mind, knowing the order of shots and how they would be used. Our editor Rouzbeh Heydari reviewed the footage and selected the best takes. Additionally, we worked iteratively with our color artist to refine the music video’s look. As for our VFX, the concept for the dragon came quite late in our production process. Director Josh was inspired by his son’s love of dragons and the dragon mythology within King Arthur tales. We then worked with VFX artist Noah Wohl from Handmade Creative, who customized a pre-existing dragon model to be red to match Martha’s cape. Using a Hollywood VFX-style dragon added an element of surprise towards the end of the video, contrasting with the playful homemade crafts seen earlier. This sequence of events, continuously upping the stakes and ending with the dragon, was crucial to maintaining the audience’s interest throughout the music video.

Now that the video is complete and live, we are working to release an NFT of the dragon, which will be available for purchase at a later date. We will post a link below when it becomes available.

We hope this gives you an insight into how we started with the seed of an idea—to create a music video inspired by medieval times with Martha and her children—developed the storyline, overcame technical challenges, and brought the team together to execute and deliver a gratifying music video. Get in touch to find out how we can bring creativity to your brand’s story.