Michael Ellis is a Cape Town-based videographer, photographer and co-owner of Cape Film Supply. His field of work is very broad and ranges from hanging off the back of motorcycles with a camera in one hand to racing around late at night in the back of ambulances to hiking long distances over mountains with a 20kg camera bag. For now, we will explore Michael’s story of filming the music video Alles Is Gecancel!!.

Michael Ellis on the ‘Alles Is Gecancel!!’ music video
Michael Ellis on the ‘Alles Is Gecancel!!’ music video

What was it like to work with Francois Van Coke, Hunter Kennedy & Middelvinger?

Working with the three of them was a huge pleasure. Their professionalism is on another level and makes everything easier. There was little explaining required to get them to pull off what I needed and they kept going all-out take after take after take. It’s clear why these guys have achieved the success they have.

How has this music video broadened your perspective on filming?

Producing. I took it upon myself to take on more of the production as it’s a role I usually leave to someone else. I think one must know what goes into each team member’s role and requirements to better understand how to achieve the best possible end result. As a director, you need to know what your producer needs from you. My wife, Sonja helped out a huge amount here with her experience, picking up the slack I couldn’t get around to.

We would love to hear a behind the scene story…

Convincing Heinrich to run naked was easy, but actually doing it on the day was a good laugh. It was freezing cold in the morning and the plan was to do it just once. We got the shot and left for the next location. While driving we spotted an empty field and the light was just amazing. Super keen, he stripped down and we just started running. A few meters in we realized the field was covered in thorn bushes. Getting thorns on your privates is not fun apparently. Watching him navigate back to safety was very entertaining.

Michael Ellis on the ‘Alles Is Gecancel!!’ music video
Michael Ellis on the ‘Alles Is Gecancel!!’ music video

What equipment did you use to edit and shoot?

The video was shot on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K on a mixture of Canon CN and Xeen prime lenses. Editing was done on my custom editing rig using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

What advice would you give videographers on incorporating unique angles?

Unique angles can be great to show the viewer an alternative or interesting picture, but they must be thought out properly and used sparingly. It’s good to think about how you would justify the use of the angle. I have found as a person that shoots and edits, it’s very important to not get attached to your shots. Sometimes your sequence of amazing wides doesn’t do the story justice. But by using them carefully they can have a much stronger impact

What mood did you go for in this music video?

The overall mood was energetic for the performance scenes. For the narrative, I wanted to keep things rather dark and cold.

From your experience, how does music affect video?

Music and sound are as important as the visual in a video. Bad music choice and poor sound can make a beautiful looking video unwatchable. It determines the emotion and the pace and when used well it can drive the story almost more than the visual.

How was it to shoot a video a bit different from your usual work?

It was a very welcomed challenge. I think if you’re not stressed out a bit you’re definitely not pushing yourself enough. It was great to work with a big team, plan every detail down to the second, edit it all together and watch the video unfold and at the end see all the hard work pay off.

Michael Ellis on the ‘Alles Is Gecancel!!’ music video
Michael Ellis on the ‘Alles Is Gecancel!!’ music video

See more of Michael Ellis’s work by having a look at his website and Instagram page.