Greg Watermann and The Struts
ZEISS Camera Lens Ambassador Greg Watermann about his experiences shooting a tour video for UK band “The Struts”.
by Greg Watermann
I spent the month of December with the Struts – a new band from the U.K. who have been getting a lot of attention lately. They wanted me to shoot a tour video for their new single – “Kiss This”, and they wanted it to have a full-on backstage, all access vibe. So it made it much easier that they were quite gracious in letting me hang with them 15 hours a day and literally stand anywhere there was a great shot! We did a number of shows, everything from small clubs to opening for Motley Crue on New Year’s Eve. They also did Seth Myers in NYC which was cool (at one point we went outside and shot some quick footage in Times Square). I also shot them in their rehearsal space, hanging with fans, drinking all night in bars, and doing their next album cover photo shoot.
Needless to say, all of this included countless hours on the road, driving and flying and traveling all over the country (it was awesome). But in a situation like this, 100% of my gear is on my back most of the time. There are no assistants or rolling equipment cases. Size, weight, and handling all matter (the Batis lenses are wonderful in this regard). The Batis 2/25 gives a beautifully wide view while the Batis 1.8/85 is great at isolating a subject. I also used the Sony/ZEISS Distagon T* FE 1,4/35 and of course the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZE, but I found myself grabbing for the 25 most often. It was especially great for keeping all four band members in frame no matter where we were. And it looks beautiful in the 16:9 format. The Batis lenses are quick to use (for photos or video) and very easy to handle. Everything was shot in full-frame 4K on a Sony a7S2 at 1/50 sec and 24fps. ISO’s used were 100 – 51,200. The IBIS on that camera body is amazing. Even handheld video can now be shot with a 135mm lens.
When we did the edit, we wanted to keep as much of the live vibe as possible, even though we were cutting to the album track. So my editor, Ben Darling, built a one minute intro from some live guitar audio I had from one of their concerts, then we segue into the official song. Also we included real crowd noise of them singing back to the band. I know the fans love being famous 😉 And I see online the fans are already pausing the YouTube video and making photographs to post on their own social media pages! I love that.
Find out more about The Struts here: www.thestruts.com