Before Brave Baby’s show at The Royal American to close out the Charleston Arts Festival, I ran into Paul Chelmis, the creator of the band’s new “Soothsayer” video, at a mutual friend’s house party. I told him I thought the video was sweet, and he told me a little about the process and the work involved. The beers got flowing and we left the party for the concert, but first we decided to collaborate on an in-depth behind the scenes take on the video. In case you haven’t seen the new “Soothsayer” video, or you want to watch it again before peeling back the curtains, you can stream it below.
You might assume a video like that was carefully planned and executed, but according to Paul, that wasn’t the case at all. Basically, the guys in Brave Baby had this song, and knew they wanted to do a video for it, but that was about the extent of the idea. The gang was hanging around Wolfgang’s Rialto Row studio, tossing ideas around, but none of the ideas seemed strong enough to accompany “Soothsayer”, which was destined to start generating hype for the new album that the band has in the works.
The creative juices didn’t really start flowing until Aaron walked outside with his bass and sat down in the shipping container that just so happened to be chillin’ in the parking lot. He snapped a picture and threw it up on his Instagram, and then they realized that the perfect setting was literally sitting in their yard. Paul started filming each band member inide the shipping container one at a time, and amassed a few hours of footage that eventually turned into the “Soothsayer” music video.
|The photo that started it all.|
Most of the shots were taken with “Soothsayer” playing at half speed, and improvised antics followed on camera. According to Paul, these scenes were awkward to direct, but after returning the shots to normal speed in post-production he was more than happy with the decision, because the jerky motions it created gave the impression that you’re watching little Brave Babies hop around in boxes. These jerky motions are most noticeable when the camera is zoomed in on Keon’s face, but watching the video with the knowledge that it was mostly filmed at half speed adds another layer to that.
Of the improvised antics captured on camera, Paul’s favorite is the scene that starts around 2:50, when the basketball is tossed to Aaron in his cell, and then he proceeds to kick it off-camera. You wouldn’t know it from watching the music video, but after Aaron kicked the ball, it followed a perfect trajectory and swished into the basketball hoop at the other end of the parking lot. Unfortunately that basket wasn’t captured on camera, but in the b-side reel you can hear everyone’s surprise about the lucky kick, and part of Aaron’s reaction is included in the final cut of the music video.
After a long day of filming, Paul went home with a backpack full of footage and took on the daunting task of making something awesome out of it. One big inspiration when he was putting together the shots was the video Cyriak made for “Cirrus” by Bonobo. There weren’t a ton of intense visuals in the footage, but layering the shots took a ton of time, much of it spent waiting for previews to render. In fact, Paul says the last shot in the video, where the screen splits into more than one-hundred boxes, took over 36 hours to render out. Next time you see Paul, buy him a beer.
Watch an exclusive behind the scenes tape from the making of Brave Baby’s “Soothsayer” music video below.
Paul Chelmis can be found on the web at paulchelmis.com, on Instagram @mr.meeseeks, or via email at [email protected]. He’d be happy to hear your thoughts on this project, or any of his other projects, and if you have an idea for a video of your own, he’s certainly available for hire.