Note: All artists photos belong to Cyberpresse.ca
Seriously, where to begin ? This year, Festival d’Été de Québec, which I will go ahead and say is now one of the biggest music festivals in the whole world, contacted Nova Film to produce a short video demonstrating the ambiance reigning in the city during the 10 days of shows. Let me start by saying that in terms of fun and wow-factor, this is hands-down the best contract we’ve worked on yet.
The people from the organization were very cooperative, giving us all-access passes and letting us do what we had in mind, as long as it didn’t interfere with the artists’ media restrictions. Right from the start, the objective was to produce to least footage possible, because in the end, this will be a 60-to-90 second video. Focusing on quality instead of quantity, we set up a list of various, original shots we could create for every show, every stage, and the city in general.
All shot with the office’s 7D and my T2i, we grabbed every lens available to us, and pretty much every piece of equipment we own and we went to work. Dollies, 80-foot cranes, sky-high rooftop shootings, steadycam, poles, timelapses, body-surfing shots, hand-held shots… there’s pretty much nothing we didn’t bring to our game for this project.
Dave and I when we were going up an 80-foot crane to film the 100 000 people attending Black Eyed Peas.
Not only did we produce amazing images, but we also had the best seats in the house for every show, and need I tell you that there were some amazing shows going on ! We were off for the first Friday, because the forecast predicted thunderstorms. So, I decided to go see Dream Theater and Iron Maiden under pouring rain. Dream Theater is band I wanted to see for so long, and they did not disappoint. They gave a solid performance and John Petrucci proved why he’s considered as one of the top guitarists in the world. Then the always entertaining Bruce Dickinson, who speaks good French, accompanied by the 5 other members of Iron Maiden, came on stage. Despite the fact that they left out a couple of classics, like Trooper, Aces High, Run To The Hills and The Clairvoyant, they delivered a solid performance and Dickinson had a unique connection with the crowd.
Bruce Dickinson singing like he’s still 35.
On Monday, it was time for some handheld shots in the crowd, and was there a crowd gathered to see Arcade Fire ! I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing that many people gathered for a band I believed to be underground. They gave one hell of a performance, way beyond anybody’s expectations. This was definitely one the shows I enjoyed the most during the Festival.
On Wednesday we went to do some steadycam shots at The Cat Empire, a band that, despite the fact they’ve been in Quebec a few times, I knew nothing about. Well, this is definitely my musical discovery at this year’s Festival. Rarely have I seen a band perform better on stage. They sounded great, they interacted with the crowd and they always pushed their songs a bit further to get the crowd into it.
The Cat Empire
Friday was definitely the night I anticipated the most, with K’naan opening for the Black Eyed Peas. K’naan gave a tremendous performance, and one of the highlights of the shooting was when we got up in the crane at sunset to film the crowd during Wavin’ Flag. This was really something special. Then the Black Eyed Peas got on stage, and media restrictions prohibited us from having video equipment on the site. So, we put our gear away and enjoyed a couple of songs. The crowd was going crazy for what is probably the biggest band on the planet right now. I would have went ahead and said that it was pretty much the biggest crowd I had ever seen in my entire life, but then there was Sunday…
The Black Eyed Peas, giving a show that will definitely be remembered in Quebec.
Sunday… what can I say ? The Festival decided that Rammstein would close the celebrations, and to be honest, I thought that was a bad decision. I thought Rammstein was an old metal band that nobody listened to anymore… Was I wrong ! Honestly, I had never witnessed anything like that. Die-hard metal fans came from around the world to see this show. There wasn’t a single inch left in all the plains of Abraham for someone to be there. The crowd must have been well over 100 000 people. We went on top of the Concorde, the highest view point for the plains of Abraham, to make a timelapse of the first 30 minutes of the show. Once again, this was definitely one of the most insane views I had ever seen. We saw the whole city to our left, with the ocean of red flashing pins that everyone wears during the festival to our right.
One frame of the 160-frame time-lapse we shot on top of the Concorde.
We then put our gear away and went to see the rest of the show. While I’m not a huge fan of their music, I must say that this show sounded probably better than any show I’ve been to. The sound was unbelievably clear. But what definitely made this show one of the best in this year’s Festival is the visual aspect, that included more fireworks than a 4th of July party. I can’t even start to describe how it was, but if you ever have the chance to see this band, you’ll understand !
Finally, I’d like to congratulate everyone who worked at bringing such a memorable event to Quebec City, and I’m anxious to see what you have in store for us next year !