A final project often means several hours of study in the library. For a few students at Indiana University’s Media School, it was a music video shoot in Griffy Lake, with creative help from other music and dance students.
When Media School seniors Ellie Vanbuskirk and Zach Milnamow chose to create a music video as the final project for the MSCH-P362 cinematography class, they took to social media to find a band to star in. They loved the sound of Bloomington-based female pop rock duo GraceKellie, so they messaged and found a willing project partner.
âIt was kind of a double strike, because we were also trying to find guests for the show we’re working on together called ‘Not Too Late’,â Milnamow said. “They were both guests on the show, and then they did the audio performance for our clip.”
The duo, made up of audio engineering and sound production students from the Jacobs School of Music, Grace Leckey and Kellie McGrew, sent their album and an unreleased song to Milnamow and Vanbuskirk to choose from.
âWe said, ‘You can choose whatever you want, we’d be up for anything you have a vision for,'” said Leckey. “And they really liked ‘Vanity’.”
After Leckey and McGrew explained the meaning of the song, which describes how the female portrayal of confidence is seen as futile or superficial through the male lens, Milnamow and Vanbuskirk came up with the idea of ââadding dancers. to the video.
âThe colors that the dancers are wearing in the video are purposely to mimic the colors that Kellie put into the unique art,â Leckey said. “It’s a dark pink and a yellow, and we tried to wear those colors too to match the dancers.”
The unique art of “Vanity”, created by McGrew, features a quote from English art critic John Berger. He describes how an artist painted a picture of a naked woman, but then labeled it “Vanity”, thus “morally condemning the woman whose nudity you depicted for your own pleasure”. It was inspired by the story of a suffragist, Mary Richardson, who slashed a painting with a meat cleaver while it was hanging in the National Gallery in London in 1914. The painting, “The Rokeby Venus” by Diego VelÃ¡zquez, shows a naked woman lying on a bed, looking at her reflection in a mirror held by Cupid.
âThat’s the first thing I thought of when Grace introduced me to the lyrics,â said McGrew. “So it’s all connected. I think it’s such an interesting story.”
After spending a total of four hours filming the video, Milnamow and Vanbuskirk spent an entire day uploading and coloring the footage, then editing the clips in Adobe Premiere. Although they encountered technical difficulties uploading the images, the biggest challenge was finding their creative direction.
âNeither of us have a lot of dance experience, so trying to coordinate the dance with the song was difficult,â Vanbuskirk said. âThere was a track they had pre-choreographed for the chore, so we had them do it a few times from different angles. But somehow all the other filler moments were tough when we were filming them, because you’re trying to pre-edit in your head.
“In fact, trying to film it, and not knowing much about dancing, we were like, ‘Is there anything that would be really cool that I don’t know how to articulate with dancer terminology? ? ‘ But it was really cool and fun to do. “
The dancers featured in the video are Picabo Saunders and Caroline Moeller, students from the Department of Theater, Drama and Contemporary Dance. Moeller and Saunders performed the song with choreography, which gave Milnamow and Vanbuskirk the opportunity to capture their movements in a captivating way that expressed the song’s powerful meaning.
âI was so grateful that they were willing to do it, but I was hoping it wasn’t too big a request for what we were asking them to do with creating movements,â Vanbuskirk said.
A highlight for Milnamow and Vanbuskirk was seeing Leckey and McGrew’s passion for performance shine through during the filming process.
âAfter a few times where we went through the song a bit, we would see Grace and Kellie come into it,â Milnamow said. âOur goal was to kind of act like we weren’t there. Sometimes we had people on the side watching this band playing in the middle of the woods, and just seeing them lock themselves in and play was really cool. . “
For all parties involved, seeing the other students become creative and passionate was the most memorable for them.
âOne of my favorite moments was when I got to see the footage of the dancers,â Leckey said. “They were recorded earlier today, and we had no idea what they were doing or who they really were. It was really cool and fun to use them in the video.”
Leckey and McGrew are planning to release an eight-song album this summer, which they are currently recording. McGrew, who will graduate in May, plans to move to Los Angeles and find a job in a recording studio. On a related note, Vanbuskirk and Milnamow, also graduating in May, hope to move to Los Angeles and continue working in media.
âI want to work on productions, including music videos on the camera crew, so it was a perfect experience for me,â Milnamow said. “With the sets and the team being a lot bigger and more extravagant, it’s something to expect, but understanding a little more of the process has been really helpful.”