Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Music Videos

November 2, 2023
The Haze with “Smiley” Riley RIP

Do it for free whilst helping others…

It’s not always a good idea to work for free regardless of your experience. However, it some instances it is so worth doing. I loved this small project and happily did it for free.

Watch the video and then read on for the full story of how lockdown helped Llewan go from solo singer/songwriter to forming a 5-piece rock band.


I hate to say it as I know it was a bad time for a lot of people but I had a great lockdown if that’s possible. I tried to make the most of a bad situation whilst keeping myself sane. The weather just happened to be glorious so lots of early morning walks with my camera were in order.

One of the best things to come out of lockdown was the young lad in the image above.

He is Llewan, one of my son’s best friends. They went to school together and at the time, were both at music college together. Llewan is a singer/songwriter and my son was studying music production.

Llewan and Dillon in the Early Days

During lockdown, we allowed Llewan to come to our house so that he could record a couple of his songs with my son helping on the production side. It was a great experience to see this young lad putting so much into his music and of course, I am proud of my son for the effort he put in too.

Llewan recording with Dillon
Llewan List of To Dos

Music video

Having heard the song a number of times, I suggested that we make a music video for fun, and to kill time during this period. So we did (see video above).

We kept it simple and just went out walking around Weymouth for a few hours. Llewan would carry his guitar and it worked out pretty well as the streets were mostly empty which suited some ideas I had thought of. Basically the song was about a young lad feeling rejected by a would-be girlfriend.

Llewan with Guitar

Anyway, all I took was my Panasonic GH5, a couple of lenses, a monopod and a Ronin M stabiliser.

Getting creative

Every now and again, we would stop and set up a shot where it looked good. We all know the area well so this was a piece of cake and Llewan had some locations in mind. We ended up with a whole range of different clips.

I already knew black and white was the way to go for the final look so filmed with that in mind.


I wanted to throw in a couple of ideas that would get people’s attention and my mind went back a couple of decades to the year 2000 and Coldplay’s superb “Yellow” single and video.

We edited Llewan’s song and re-mastered it to 2x speed. We then played it back as Llewan walked along the street whilst miming to the song double time. I shot in 4k 50fps. This meant that when we played back the song, Llewan would be walking 2x slow motion but with the words being sung at normal speed.

Something worth practising yourself but again, this sort of thing should be used sparingly for best effect.

Dolly zoom

There was another point in the song where Llewan is telling himself to “stop with this excuse” that I wanted to emphasise in the video. I got Llewan to stand still whilst I slowly walked towards him whilst filming.

Now, using a stabiliser, I wasn’t able to zoom the lens whilst walking so the dolly zoom effect was done in post production. Similar to how I do it with a drone in this drone lesson. Filming in 4k meant I could zoom into the frames and then output to 1080p without losing resolution in the final edit.

Back at home

Once we got back to the house, I got Llewan to sit in front of a black backdrop and sing the song a few times, Using harsh, single lighting, I filmed a headshot two times from different angles giving a dark mood to the shot. I also shot a half length clip of Llewan playing guitar and then we filmed a headshot once with a white background for a lighter mood at the end to finish.

Llewan Black Backdrop and Single Light

The idea was to get as much footage in different locations and set ups in as short a time as possible. One camera, two lenses, Ronin stabiliser, backdrop, two stands and one studio light was all we needed.

The Edit

The fun part was, and always is for me, the edit. This is where I put all of Llewan’s and my (and Dillon’s) ideas together. It worked so well we shot another video a few weeks later which was 90% Llewan’s ideas with a bit of input from me with regards to drone shots, angles and lighting.

Firing Range

Firing Range 1

Onwards and upwards

Since then, in a couple of short years, Llewan has put a 5 piece band together called The Haze. They are incredibly popular in Weymouth, have a small but growing fan base and are booked regularly for pub gigs and the occasional local festival.

The Haze have just professionally recorded their first EP with all original songs and it is excellent. All songs include their original guitarist Riley who sadly took his own life in 2022. It hit the community hard and the band, right now, finish their sets with a cover of “Killing in the Name Of” which is a way of letting off steam in his memory.

Start small with the DJI Pocket 3

So as soon as I bought this amazing little camera, I wanted to put it through its paces, especially in relatively low light. The Haze had a gig coming up so I thought I would film a few clips from their performance. I have to say this camera blew me away in all regards. Battery life, useability, image quality, features, low light…

I shot multiple clips of the band and then put some together alongside their first official single “The Game”.

Now I wasn’t there in a professional capacity and only used one Pocket 3 throughout. I did place the incredible DJI Mic 2 on the stage to record the overall ambient sound which came out great. However, as I wanted to put this on YouTube, I thought I’d give the bands new song a bit of a plug. 

I hope this basic video shot with one Pocket 3 inspires you to think about shooting small, local gigs. The money will differ depending on the size of the gig and popularity of the band but it is a great start to what could potentially be a superb career. Maybe one day touring the world with a band you love. Imagine that!

Anyway, to see young Llewan go from those first recordings in my office, our living room and my son’s room to having a fully booked 5 piece rock back is amazing and a privilege to be a part of in some small way. Keep it up guys.

In loving memory

In loving memory of “smiley” Riley, one of the nicest and most talented young guitarists I’ve met. This is from the Haze’s first pub gig and first Weymouth music festival (and Riley’s last performance at the end)


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