Vincent Pelina – One-Take Music Video for Josh Child

The Project

 For my senior project I decided to work with Josh Child who is a singer/songwriter I’ve been networking with. He has been producing music for an upcoming album and had a few songs ready for doing a music video. He wanted to do a music video for his song “Leave Me Here”. Doing this song for a senior project I decided I wanted to push myself and do something that pushes me a little out of my comfort zone in filming. So, I decided to produce a one-take video for his piece.


The pre-production process is the most important part in order to create a one-take music video successful. This is where I spend the majority of my hours with a total of 36 hours in the pre-production process. At the start of the production I had a meeting with Josh about his vision and feel for the song. After brainstorming ideas and watching other music videos we came across Justin Timberlake’s music video “Say Something” which was a one take. After analyzing that music video it inspired me to produce a one take for Josh’s song and after pitching the idea to him he was 100% on board.

In order for this one take production to work we needed to find a location that can best occupy the need for a one take. Working with my producer Kenzie Oliver. She was able to get in contact with the owners of Labelle Lake which is a wedding venue and Airbnb in Rigby Idaho. What was nice was the owners let us use the facility for free only if it didn’t conflict with other guess bookings so we scheduled 4 two hour rehearsal days at the venue then planned a 2 hour equipment training at my house and a 2 hour rehearsal with a 2 hour production night at the venue. After the schedule has been made I then put a crew together of people that I can trust and who are available during the time slots.

Looking at the photos that the venue has on the website we then starting figuring out what type of lighting gear and equipment we needed for the shoot. Also with my Story Board Artist Aidan we planned out a few pre-visualization on what we want it to look like on set so we have an initial idea before arriving at the location. I then got in contact with Borrow and got me a deal with the equipment needed for the shoot.



  • Black Magic Pocket cinema camera 4k

  • Rokinon 24mm

  • Steadicam arm + Vest

  • Glidecam HD 2000

  • 2 Satima LED Light Panels

  • 160 LED Neweer mini light

  • Fog Machine

  • Black Pro Mist Filter 1/4 stop

  • Color Temperature Orange & Blue Gels

  • Elvid 4k Monitor

  • Aputure Light Storm 120D (Rented)

  • Paralinx Triton 1:1 Wireless Video HDMI (Rented)

  • DJI Wireless follow Focus (Rented)

  • 2x Aputure Light Storm 300D (Rented)

  • 2x Aputure Spotlight Mount 26 Degree Lens (Rented)

  • 3x C Stands (Rented)

Rehearsal 1

At the first rehearsal I had the artist Josh Child and my assistant director Jeff Bennett came to help me plan out the route and timing for Josh. Also we planned out each individual crew members route and where they are going throughout the song. The reason why I have a assistant director is I will be operating the steadicam and since there is a lot of moving pieces in the one take it is good to have a second person to look over the production making sure I don’t miss any details.

Rehearsal 2

With the one take route and timing finalized I then went out to the location for the second rehearsal to practice steadicam movements with my 1st assistant to camera Zhiyang Tsai who was my spotter and focus puller. I have been using steadicam for 6 years but with this shoot there is a lot of stairways I had to navigate through and I needed to practice keeping the frame while going up and down the stairs.

Rehearsal 3

This was our first rehearsal with the whole lighting and grip crew. The rental equipment hasn’t came yet so I decided to make this practice a blocking Rehearsal and making sure the whole crew knows where to go throughout the song. I made sure my Assistant Director and Assistant to camera knew the routes of everyone before this practice so the practice could run smoother. I broke the song up into 3 different segments so we can all practice repetition and memorization on when to turn on lights and where to move certain light fixtures.

Equipment training

The day after the rental equipment arrived I wanted to make sure that the crew was comfortable on using the rental equipment. Especially they will be moving around the house with the lighting gear and they need to be very careful mounting it on C-Stands and also knowing how to carefully operate the lights. The equipment training went really well and I could tell the crew was ready to take what they learn on to set.

Rehearsal 4

With the crew already familiar with their routes and the song this was our technical rehearsal day were we plan out the brightness of the lights on what percentage the lights have to be at a certain scene. We also practice getting comfortable and being careful moving around the house with the equipment and still trying to make lighting cues. I added sticky notes on everyones lighting control so they can write down the percentage of brightness they need to set the light at a certain scene so it will be easier to dial in and remember.

Production Day

6:30pm – 8:30pm

The first 2 hours I decided to do a rehearsal just to clean up some sections during the music videos that deals with lighting cues and also to get peoples mind mentally ready for the actual production shoot. Towards the end of that block we had a dinner break while waiting for the sun to set.

9:30pm – 11:30pm

You might be thinking why is the actual shooting 2 hours long? Even though we had rehearsal days that are used for learning the equipment and help prevent human error sometimes on sets we get technical errors that happen along the way. The first 6 takes were small mistakes during the beginning of the music video after the 360 dance segment happens we had a bit of a timing issue of the blue light panels turning on. Then we had more issues arising with the two aputure 300d striking at the same time with the remote control from takes 7-10. The lights are suppose to turn on at a certain beat in the song but the trigger was getting glitchy. We even switched batteries to see if we are able to solve the problem. With time being the essence since we only had a certain amount of allocated time to use the venue I made the call and decided to do the triggers manually. Since everyone heard the song many times and knows the beat of the music it turned out to be easy to learn. We then did a clean full run on take 11 then took a 10 min break for Josh and I to regain energy since Josh is moving around and dancing a lot on set while I’m operating a 35lb camera while going up and down the stairs.

After doing take 12 as a safety I felt really good about it and we all went back into the house to review the footage. After seeing the footage and how my crew reacted to it I felt like this was the take to use and call it a wrap for the production day. I’ve spent a total of 9 hours on the production day in totally including prepping the equipment and moving furniture around before the rehearsal on that day.

Post – Production

For the post production process no cutting or heavy editing was required since it was a one take music video. The program that I had the main cut on was on Avid Media composer. The only thing I edit on the main cut through media composer was doing a bit of reframing using key frames and also adding a bit of image stabilization to take out any micro bumps that I accidentally did while filming. All of the color grading was done in Davinci Resolve where I implemented key frames to change the exposure and contrast since when walking around the house the lighting changes over time and making these minor adjustments makes the image pop more and looks more appealing to the viewers eyes. I had spent a total of 7 hours in the post production phase which also included sending the music video to Josh for review, doing small final touches, and also helping him post the video to his Youtube channel and making sure to get the right format for better play back quality on the Youtube Platform.

The Crew

With a one take music video it required a lot of team work from everyone and I needed people that I can trust and I know who can fully put 100% into this. So I put together my dream team of those who I worked in class doing video projects and outside of class related work. Right below is the crew list and their different roles in the production. Something that I’ve found very important is making sure everyone is cared for and appreciated for during the production and even after the production. When I took the time and treated my crew members with respect and acknowledging them for their hard work.I felt like doing that kept atmosphere on set was positive and very productive.

  • Vincent Pelina – Director/Steadicam Operator

  • Jeff Bennett – Assistant Director & Key Grip

  • Zhiyang Tsai – 1st AC (Assistant to Camera) / Gaffer

  • Aidan Griener – Story Board/Script Supervisor/Best Boy/ Fog Machine Operator

  • Kenzie Gully – Producer / 300D Operator

  • Xela Smith – Choreographer / Actor

  • Connor Taylor – 120D Operator

  • Sydney Jolley – 120D Grip

  • Mario Bambo – 300D Operator

  • Edwin McCrory – 300D Grip

  • Eliza Stone- 300D Grip

  • Perla Child – Ambience lighting

  • Chelsey Urich – Behind The Scenes/Ambience Lighting

Final Draft of Music Video

What I’ve Learned

From this experience one of the main things I’ve learned is being organized and doing things in a step by step manor and not jumping the gun. The pre-production portion of the music video shoot took the longest since being a one take I needed to make sure everyone is on the same page and not lost through the process. In the past I’ve directed many other shoots but it was only with a small crew with 3-5 people. With a crew of 12 people and many moving parts on set it was a good stretch in using my communication skills I’ve learned through my career being a student in the communication department. It was very important that everyone understood the information that I was portraying since we all had to move together as a team. When one person falls behind then the whole production falls behind too.

Something that is very important too is making sure that your client is having a good experience and if you are stress you do not portray that to the client. I noticed that if I was starting to get stress and started to show it a bit then the client starts getting stress and then it starts reflecting on the crew. Being in a directors role I had to make sure to stay calm when things aren’t going as plan and calmly think of a solution. I was glad I broke up the work and had a assistant director with me on set which help out with the loads of question I was having from individual crew members and also being a second eye on set while I was operating the camera. If I would of done something different I would of make sure that we had more time with the equipment and practicing with it and also working with the artist a bit more on the acting and performance aspect. Since this music video was very technical heavy my mind was more on the technical aspect. As a director I should of also implemented the acting aspect. But overall keeping on track with the schedule and plan that was made in the pre-production phase will help keep the whole production on track and together we can all produce a viable product.