Violin concert in the Montreal Metro

Tell me about your latest video: The concept for this film was an impromptu concert at a Montreal metro station. It was the idea of one of Canada's most promising violinists, Timothy Chooi. What we didn't realise was that metro passengers would be playing their role - by throwing money in his violin case as he played and I filmed. This is the first of four videos I'm currently working on with Timothy and I've learned that if you go anywhere with him -  a crowd will gather.

Who is in the video? Canadian Timothy Chooi has performed with most major Canadian orchestras, has won many prestigious music competitions and currently plays on a 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts. He was famously described as "the miracle" by La Presse newspaper.

Why did you make it? Timothy commissioned me to make this film because he is a bit of a film geek and loves the idea of making films in non-traditional locations and using them to promote his music on social media.  I filmed the whole thing in 4K with my Panasonic GH4 Lumix camera - mostly handheld. The idea was that of a multi camera shoot which meant I filmed him playing the track multiple times from different angles - including one where a fight almost broke out between two travellers as you can see on the video. I used the multicam function on Final Cut Pro X software to edit the film so that we could see the same point in the music from all angles at the same time and select our favourite shots.

What was it like? Lionel Groulx metro station was a perfect natural theatre in which to film - as Timothy was surrounded by passengers making their journeys . At one point I was almost knocked down by one as I filmed. But for the most part his playing stopped them in their tracks and most could not resist watching his performance, even filming it themselves with cellphones (while I filmed with my camera). It was typical of Timothy that when he counted up his money at the end (a total of $40) he insisted on putting it towards lunch for his team.

What tips would you give to others wanting to make a music video? 
1. Keep the concept simple - don't overcomplicate it. Timothy has a simple storyline about waiting for a train (and eating a banana).
2. Choose a good spot with plenty of visual interest - for us the commuters and trains made a great backdrop for Timothy's playing.
3. Be prepared to shoot from all different angles so that the viewer has plenty to keep them interested.

This is one of two blogs I write (the other is Dear England, Love Canada about life as a Brit in the True North). Don't miss any new videos, stories and filming tips by subscribing to this blog at the top of the page.

Comedy banana featured in the video.
Read more:
Making a documentary in 24 hours.


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