10 Music videos in 8 days
I guess one of the unique aspects of this production is that we are filming in a normal working Irish college that has four courses over the three summer months. This means that we cannot shoot all the episodes back to back and have to spread the filming over the entire summer months. It meant we had 4 different shooting periods, 4 different studio shoots, and 4 separate rental periods for lighting and camera. In total we had 35 shoot days, only 12 of which were spent filming music performances. We filmed 10 music videos in 8 days and 10 other as live performances on location in a warehouse across 4 separate days.
The rest of our time was spent with students. We filmed a series of 10 inserts that profiled an individual student. These generally either told the story of a life changing event in their life, or highlighted something that might have inspired how they try to live their life. We also filmed 10 more inserts across 4 more days, that were a series of short interviews with a large variety of students on the different courses, answering the same thought provoking questions. In total we interviewed over 70 students across these additional 4 days.
Another unusual aspects of the production is that in general pre-production does not begin before a course starts. This means that we need to find the student talent, research the stories, pick the music and produce music videos for those episodes all in the 3 week window. This can lead to late nights and last minute decisions so we have always be ready to change direction at the drop of a hat.
The project takes 4 months to complete, beginning at the end of May with pre-production, production runs until the end of August and final online is completed in mid October with Outer Limits in Dublin.
Inspiring, Thought Provoking, Young Adults
The original aim of TG Lurgan was to create a music channel with high production values, similar to that of popular music artist but for Irish language content, and an extension of this was to create a more mature approach to content for a teenage demographic. For a long time content for this age group, always felt very childish and always made teenagers out to be quite uninspiring or thought provoking, and from my time working in the gaeltacht, I knew this wasn’t true.
I felt like there was room for a programme that could showcase the musical talent of these young adults who came to the gaeltacht each year, and at the same time give an insight into the variety of personalities and interests of this teenagers from across the country.
I feel like we were able to strike a nice balance between giving a serious platform to the voices of some of the students that make the decision to go to the gaeltacht each year, while also giving space to the entertainment value of the music that has been popular since TG Lurgan began.
Large Diffusion & Cooke s4 Lenses
One of the channels with filming music videos in a working Irish College, is actually getting the time and space to film the music videos. Every day almost every inch is used for classes and activities so as a production, we need to be quite nimble and work around all of the daily activities.
Most of the big musical performances are filmed in the evening in a blacked-out marquee on site at the college. The marquee is rigged to allow for a lighting crew to come in on the days we are filming, and then de-rig quickly after our two days of filming on each course. We worked with our lighting designer David Kilkenny to give the marquee a live concert feel, but with some additional lighting to make filming more consistent and easier than traditional concert lighting.
In 2017 we made the decision to film a more acoustic segment of the show off site in a warehouse in Carraroe, firstly to allow us to work around the normal college schedule but also to allow use to create a very visually different segment to the show. The large warehouse gave us more scope to control the lighting design, where we went with a more traditional music video lighting setup, using large soft sources with 12 x 12 diffusion frames and HMIs. We also used Arri skypanels and LED tubes fixtures for background and colour which was something I felt was more in line with content we were seeing from music artists online.
In 2017 we also chose to start renting cooke mini s4 lenses for the project. We felt this would help give us an image more in line with music video content that teenagers we used to seeing online. It would also help to give a distinctly different look to the music video segments of the programme from the documentary segments.