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We are born with our father's names
and we, too, inherit their sins.

Black Violin 'One Step' Music Video

Black Violin is a classically trained violin duo with a versatile musical range that blends hip-hop with triumphant instrumentals and lyrics.

 

Violinist Kevin Sylvester (Kev Marcus) and violist Wilner Baptiste (Wil B) use their talents to reach beyond the stage. Their art, music, and activism benefit young students across the U.S., advocating freedom of expression, pride, identity, and unity.

 

We first worked with Black Violin when collaborating with the Kennedy Center on their Turnaround Arts Program. Our perspectives on society and our vision for the future were similar and, ultimately, became the building blocks to our relationship. So, when Kev and Wil asked us to conceptualize and produce the music video for their new single ‘One Step,’ we were all in.

 

‘One Step’ is the headline track for their latest album, Take The Stairs, which released November 1st, 2019. When we first listened to the single, we immediately felt a connection to the song and the message therein. We knew that we wanted to create a music video that was equally powerful. To do that, we had to stoke controversy and take a stance. Black Violin’s song is an anthem. The video we produced together is a war cry.

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The Inspiration

The chorus, which chants ‘one step to the future’ had us questioning what that future looks like.

When we look at the state of America today, it’s impossible to avoid scenes and stories of violence and oppression. Yet, despite these disturbing circumstances, most of us are able to ignore them and carry on with our lives. Society has tuned out. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing and consuming aggression on a daily basis. It has lost is affect. What were once conflicts that would inspire progressive action have become entertainment components wielded by the news media. This digression is being passed from one generation to the next. That is how we are stepping into the future. And we fear for our kids and their kids (should humanity even survive that long).

 

Understand that we, nor Black Violin, are making a political stance. We are spotlighting reality. That may disturb some people. It may anger others. But the truth is a hard pill to swallow, and that truth is that most people don’t care to stand up against oppression anymore because they are complacent. And god forbid we risk our comfort. The world we live in today is not a safe place for our children. That is the message. If we are going to step into the future to create a brigher tomorrow then we must address these issues hurting us today. And in doing so, we must identify them and talk about them first. That is what this video is about.

Black Violin One Step Music Video
Black Violin One Step Music Video
Black Violin One Step Music Video

The Gear

Scouting locations for Black Violin’s music video was quite the task.

We had less than two weeks to find talent and secure locations and permits in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale. One of the leading settings in “One Step” is the rooftop sequence featuring Will and Kev. They’re overlooking downtown Los Angeles, using the rooftop as a platform to address the world. To make these scenes possible, we had to figure out a way to get a grand piano on a roof! As you can see, we got the job done.

 

The equipment we used (mainly when shooting on the rooftop) also made a great impact on the quality of the video. We used the Orion anamorphic lens for these scenes. Whereas some lenses flare red, the Orion lens flares blue, which really played to color palette we developed. Similarly, these blue sun flares add to the message communicated in the lyrics, adding a somewhat heavenly voice to the language.

Shooting with RED Digital Cameras

One of the best parts of working with RED Digital Cinema cameras is the quality of the frame grabs. No other camera in the industry can generate such crisp, flawless stills. One of our favorite cameras in our arsenal is the 8k RED Monstro VV. It’s capable of pulling 8k stills at over 60 frames per second. These screen grabs are a result of RED’s masterwork engineering.

Black Violin One Step Music Video
Black Violin One Step Music Video
Black Violin One Step Music Video
Our children are our greatest treasure.
They are our future.
Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.
- Nelson Mandela
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Finetuning The Story

Check out Dailies 0056 for BTS of the production! 

We are a turnkey agency, in that we take each project from concept to delivery. Because of this, we house a full creative suite of editing and post-production software. One of our most powerful editing software, which we used to put the final touches on Black Violin’s “One Step” music video, is DaVinci Resolve. This is the best color correction and non-linear video editing application for macOS by Blackmagic Design.

 

Since editing is one of the most critical steps in our process, nothing is overlooked. DaVinci Resolve helps us zone-in on key points of interest to create maximum clarity and outstanding color harmony. In this phase, we take all the footage, audio, and additional assets and lay them on a timeline to arrange the absolute best narrative flow. This process is extremely time-consuming. According to the industry standard, every minute of shooting translates to an hour of editing, which makes sense since this is where true storytelling comes together.

 

After editing, the project moves to color correction and audio mixing. This is where we balance the footage for proper exposure and grade the footage to give it a look that improves the overall story. Audio mixing is similar to video editing. While video editing pertains to video only, audio mixing has to take all of the audio sources and blend them to broadcast quality sound. All of this is done by our very strong and talented post-production team, who work around the clock to meet our client’s deadlines.

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