New Zealand band Ghost Wave blew us away with their hypnotic set of moody psych-rock songs at our CMJ broadcast last year, so we’re especially thrilled to debut the band’s music video for the track “Orb.” The closing track off their debut Flying Nun Records release, Ages, “Orb” finds the group of Auckland youngsters evoking the driving sound of bands like The Jesus & Mary Chain. The driving tension of the feedback-laden song definitely fuels the action on screen.
New York-based directors Noah Conopask and Robert Smyth shared their experience making the video with KEXP. Read on to find out how Ghost Wave almost landed the film crew in jail:
- They say necessity is the mother of all invention. Nothing truer can be said about this shoot. We’ve done a lot of “run n’ gun” shoots in New York City but this was the most difficult to execute. From the first listen, we felt that the driving pace of “Orb” dictated an epic chase sequence and we wanted to capture it with chaotic, dynamic body cam shots. It had to be at night and have a sci-fi aesthetic so in order to support a heavy RED CAM, our producer and his team designed and built a homemade body cam which we rigged to our actors from sunset to sunrise. While this allowed us to shoot without a permit in any public space in NYC, something which was central to the concept, it also took a tremendous physical toll on our actors. Essentially, they were actors, stuntmen, and camera operators all in one. We had them running full speed with this rig strapped to their bodies through Times Square, Chinatown, Midtown, into shops and markets, over rooftops, up and down stairwells and fire escapes, through parking structures, and finally onto a footbridge for the final escape moment at 5AM on the final night of shooting. On the footbridge we were approached by a Port Authority representative, told that we were on their property, and must cease and desist or he would call in the police and confiscate our camera and our footage. After some debate, he agreed to give us fifteen minutes to get off the bridge. We had to complete coverage of a sequence which required filming the final action from five different camera angles; two subjective camera positions and three body cam mountings. During the final takes, he radioed for backup. While the cavalry was heading our way, we got the final shot, sent our DIT off running with the memory cards, jumped into a passenger van with our cast and crew and hightailed it out of there at sunrise.