Here’s the latest video release we put out this morning of the Elder’s “Devil’s Tongue”. I’ve been friends with the band for a long time, shooting their publicity photos over the years. So I was excited when the singer Ian’s wife, Kansas City news personality Kathy Quinn, approached me last spring about filming a special performance of the band as a gift for her family this Christmas. This performance was to be at this fall’s 14th Annual Kansas City Irish Fest, which has sort of become one of the premiere, iconic events in Kansas City through the years. But it wasn’t going to be an ordinary performance; during one of their songs, “Devil’s Tongue”, Kathy and Ian’s grandson, Olan, was going to join his granddad and his own dad, Kian (who is the band’s drummer) on stage for drum line in the middle of the song.
Having been the official KC Irish Fest photographer for many years, I was able to arrange for access for my assistants to help me out. I’m not sure Kathy expected me to go to the lengths I did to produce a quality video; I remember her being a bit taken aback when I told her how many cameras I was going to set up, and that I’d have some people helping me. But I wanted to do it right, and was fortunate to get an audio recording from the front of house to use in the clip, which is always key because no matter how you cut it, using a mic mounted to your camera just isn’t going to sound good.
I think we used no less than four different cameras, setting a couple up on tripods that one of my assistants, Andrew, monitored, while my other assistant Patrick (who I do a lot of work with for Drone on Demand) filmed with his Osmo device that acts as a stabilizer for smooth filming. I was in the pit at the front of the stage filming with my camera mounted on a monopod. There was a bit of a moment where I lost track of the set list and didn’t realize the actual song had started until I heard the chorus and had to kick it in overdrive to make sure everybody was filming, although I think the others noticed little Olan and his mom were waiting at the edge of the stage and had begun filming. But that actually turned out okay, because it’s a long version, and since it was all about Olan, we didn’t really need the beginning; only the part where he actually comes out on stage. So that’s why the video starts during what I think is the song’s second chorus.
(Bonus trivia: the two shots directly behind Kian and his drum kit at the end of the song were shot by me during a different song at the very end of the show. And of course the tag at the end with Olan’s aunt Kaitlin was shot earlier in the night, before he went on stage.)
So we got the footage and audio, which was great, but the hard part has been waiting to release it—I finished the edit in October—until after Kathy was able to give them as gifts for Christmas. Which was another aspect of the project, making the CDs presentable as gifts. So I designed and printed a cover for the jewel cases and the CD itself—printed thanks to my colleague Robbie who had a printer that could print directly on to CDs—for a terrific memento. And it was a painstaking process, printing each CD (nearly a dozen), as well as printing and cutting each jewel case cover side by side, one by one. I didn’t send the files off to be printed and cut for me; I did them myself with the help of my colleague Robbie.
These days, it’s kind of quaint delivering something on CD; most of what I deliver is via online transfer of zip files. But I’ll tell you, there’s just something about a printed, finished product that you can hold in your hand that just adds something tangible that I’m not sure you can ever quite achieve otherwise. That actual video itself, copied onto each CD, was almost tangential when it can easily be accessed online. And again, I’m not sure Kathy was expecting such a carefully crafted product, but I felt something to be given as a gift demanded quality.
So thanks again to Kathy for asking me to produce this video for her; my assistants Patrick and Andrew for helping out; Steve (Elders guitarist) for providing the audio; and the band themselves for this great opportunity.