I just wrapped my second music video for golden guitar winning artist Amber Lawrence, this time it’s for her new song Hell to Hallelujah, the third single from her No.1 Album Spark.
‘Hell to Hallelujah’ is a super fun, tongue-in-cheek song, written by Amber when she was in Nashville and dedicated to her husband Marty, whom she met on a popular dating app. The song paints a picture of a fairytale wedding and thanks God she “finally found a good man.” Both Marty and her son Ike make a cameo at the end of the music video.
Amber wanted a fun take on a wedding and the director and I chatted about deconstructing a wedding, rather than going with anything too literal, so we decided to mix it with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme, with Amber and her bridesmaids meeting up in a fairytale garden. Luckily Wayne had access to a beautiful property in Glenorie, about an hour out of Sydney and we were able to create a lovely secret garden feel for the music video.
Nothing creates the look of a classic fairytale like a crisp, sunny winter’s day, especially here in Australia because our winter sun is the closest we get to an English summer, and boy was I thankful to get a beautiful day. So lots of sun means lots of sun flares and lots of back-lit shots, it also allowed me to shoot brighter midtones and shadows, creating a bit of a retro look. The other great thing about shooting in winter is the sun sits low on the horizon throughout the day, which means you don’t have to deal with a couple of hours of horrible toppy midday sun casting shadows over everyones eye sockets, instead with a little bit of planning I was able to backlight almost every scene with the sun.
We started the day with our gorgeous outside tea party, with Amber and the Bridesmaids sitting around a table covered in cupcakes and tea pots. The lovely Tasha O’Brian played one of the Bridesmaids and also choreographed their dance moves, the idea being that they would frame Amber for most of the shots. Tasha had just come off the very successful show Playlist, which was nominated for a Helpman award and of course the Helpmans were held in Melbourne the night before our shoot. So Tasha had to catch the first flight of the day and then drive an hour out to location, where she went straight into make-up and costume, before being rushed onto set and then had to choreograph and perform in the first scene of the day. It’s also my favourite scene, with Amber climbing up onto the table to dance with her bridesmaids.
When filming in winter you get the highs of perfect sunny days but you also get the lows of freezing cold nights. And so it was on day two as we arrived late in the afternoon feeling the last of the warmth fade with the setting sun. We were filming the last verse and chorus of the song, all set at night with Amber singing surrounded by bridesmaids and wedding guests. We lit the entire scene with festoon and fairy lights, creating a lovely soft look for the final shots. It was a cold night but well worth it in the end, the shots looked great.
Hell to Hallelujah was filmed on the Red Monstro with Schneider Xenon FF lenses and Rhodium FSND.
Writer | Director | Wayne Tunks
DOP | Nicholas Price
Focus Puller | Soumya Lakmé Iyengar
AC | Cayla Blanch
Editor | Samuel Fitzpatrick
DOP | Cinematographer
P. (02) 9427 4444
Nicholas Price is a Sydney based DOP | Producer who has made commercials, video clips, TV, documentary and short films. Nick is a Masters graduate of AFTRS and is always striving to bring a unique visual style to any project he works on. He recently shot the award winning web series After Nightfall and feature film According to Otto.