Lightning In A Bottle ArtClave 2018

Event recap films are always fun to do, CDMG has produced a LOT for a multitude of clients ranging from design, fashion, music, and for the most part they follow a very similar formula when it comes to principle and post production. For this event, you couldn’t approach it with a standardized formula if you really want to deliver an end product that captures all of the energy and spirit of this event.

Event recap films are always fun to do, CDMG has produced a LOT for a multitude of clients ranging from design, fashion, music, and for the most part they follow a very similar formula when it comes to principle and post production. For this event, you couldn’t approach it with a standardized formula if you really want to deliver an end product that captures all of the energy and spirit of this event.

Lightning In A Bottle is much more than a music festival. This event delivers a plethora of creative and soul-probing experiences that give attendees an opportunity to leave with a deeper sense of self-awareness, and artistic exploration. Existing as an oasis of all things art and craft, ArtClave presents a polychromatic platform gifting attendees with the ability to take imaginative dives into every possible realm of the making-creativity-happen process. From mask making, totem building, body painting, and interpretive illustration, to art therapy, abstract painting, architectural paper folding, and Shibari, ArtClave provided introductions to artistic experiences to stimulate the creative osity of just about every interested mind.


Going into every production project, it's imperative to work closely with the client to document as much detail as possible so there is a clear understanding of goals, and also so I can formulate a strategy and production plan to have a smooth interaction with all key stakeholders on set. The same goes for event recap films. There are often a lot of variables in place, both planned and unplanned, and it's great to know as much detail pertaining to a schedule of proceedings so I can ensure the right footage is captured at the right time. It's critical to have a comprehensive outline of the event agenda, this way it's easy to seamlessly move between sporadic events and still maintain a sense of timeframe to prioritize and be present for critical moments that need not be missed.

Technically, as is the case with all production projects, I armed myself with a variety of lenses to allow me to be flexible while shooting. Switching off between wide and prime lenses was vital for shaping the story visually. I also knew that I wanted to do a lot with slow-motion and timeshifting, so outside of the interview/testimonial segments, all of the footage was filmed at minimum sixty frames-per-second.

The Music

Approaching this project, I knew it would be key to communicate a story that accurately presented the depth of this four day experience, and would require capturing all of the intimate moments throughout each day's program of creative classes. The music was a vital element for making this successful. After a few meetings, brainstorming and information gathering sessions, I had a fairly clear mindset of the overall tone of the event. And with that, sound and harmonies were already beginning to gather in my mind. It’s interesting, often times when I approach a new visual project, I almost immediately begin crafting a soundscape, and on the contrary, audible/sonic projects are often driven by visual representations of what I see complimenting the sound.

A typical process I fall under when creating audio sees that a crescendo or climactic moment of the music is composed and developed almost immediately. Thus, the process of working backwards to craft a structure around this moment is the usual course that follows suit. In the case of the soundtrack produced for this film, a five-note rhode-based harmony felt instantly connected to the event itself, and drove the production of a disco-influenced, chord-layered sequence that felt simultaneously danceable and contemplative. This rhythm was the force that drove my mood going into the event, and would remain as the inspiration for certain shots and angles that I knew would compliment the sound in a positive, symbiotic fashion. I was half right.

While the colourful dancefloor-driven harmonies of the production were ideal for peak moments of the LIB event itself, it hadn't quite tailored itself to the steady progression of each day's scheduled course of activities as they began in the early morning hours while the air was still crisp, and all of the individual and collective participant energies were gently winding up into an ease of creative exploration. Along with the music produced for the film, I also programmed a soundscape to be played within the ArtClave throughout the day during the course of classes. This soundscape did well to compliment the steady progression of morning energy, and the film's soundtrack needed to reflect this as well. The production concept was now complete, I knew exactly how the composition needed to begin. It needed to ease in gently and communicate the wonder that each day had to offer, and present the welcoming sense of curiostiy awaiting within every creatively eager participant.

The Film

Capturing the energy, emotion, collective village-like essence, and shared primal overtone of this event is a daunting challenge at the least. From the moment camp is caressed by the luminance of sunrise, the crowds of excited art explorers begin to fold into the ArtClave while setup is well underway, and documenting this process was the perfect statement to visually and emotionally introduce the film. This initiation and progressive constant into the creative activity to follow is presented from the start of the film into roughly the 00:01m:45s portion of the presentation. The music does well to guide the viewer throughout this transition.

With relative geographical positioning in mind, the ArtClave is stationed in a perfect location. Close enough to some of the main stages to absorb much of the sound energy spilling from every possible angle, yet remote enough to exist as a haven for those seeking to experience a bit of creative respite. It was important to capture this, and give the viewer a sense of the scope of everything that was happening within the immediate and remote surroundings. Transitioning on from the 00:01m:45s mark, we move out of ArtClave and begin to see some of the other activities taking place in parallel. The music was composed to aid in this transition as we hear bell and subtle woodwind instruments introduced to give semblance of the soundbath area depicted on screen.

It was imperative for me to tell a multilinear story with this recap film. The LIB event has so many energy points and activations present, and this reprise moment in the film was a perfect opportunity to incorporate personal testimonials, visuals from the surrounding event activity, and transition into an elevated state of energy to depict this also-present elated sense of euphoric jubilation within the event as a whole. Now we start the steady ascend into the original sonic composition which was inspired by and produced for this project. At the 00:03m:10s mark, which is just about the halfway point of the film, the music transitions tempo and the editing style begins to incorporate faster cuts and transitions to match. This is an event that stimulates on so many levels, and people come here to experience pure, unrestricted joy. It is a festival afterall, and I wanted to make sure that the festival atmosphere was incorporated. Using an enhanced iteration of the diamond-patterned motion-graphics used to introduce the film, we create an on-screen climax that undoubtedly positions us visually and emotionally exactly where we're supposed to be. Using some simple split-screen and mirroring effects, we build to this climax by using the event activity to support the journey.

Following this energetic shift in the film, we fade into footage of the sunset on the final day of the festival. Incorporating this scene into the film was a perfect way to transition towards the end of the story. There’s an interesting constant that we all feel, as I was composing the music, I knew I needed to present chord layers that would resonate with this sunset moment. I needed everyone viewing to try to feel what we were all feeling in the moment due to everything that had preceded leading up to that point in time. So the chord structure and crescendo here takes all of that into account. In line with that constant, if you listen closely at the 00:05m:17s mark, you can hear the music from the DJ in the background (Beau Sebastian) who had the privilege to start his set right at this beautiful sunset moment (one of my absolute favourite moments to DJ for a crowd), but if you listen carefully, the music he was playing is on a chord very similar to the music composed for this film. It actually threw me off while I was editing, I went back to my music composition a couple of times checking to see if I left a layer active… Funny…

People had a blast in ArtClave and at the LIB festival as a whole. My goal was to tell that story with this film, thus any traditional approach to event recap films was not going to do. The layout of the festival was so vast and inspiring, and I think everyone who attended came away with a similar feeling. The footage of the “inspire” sign at the end was an apt reminder to everyone that attended as well as those viewing it for the first time through this film.

There’s an interesting psychology with regard to remaining present, and in the moment in all aspects of life. And I didn’t want the story to end without one last reminder of the overall climate of fun and happiness present throughout the entire event week. Thus the unexpected clip of hilarity thrown in at the end. This piece of footage was just a chance happening, as we were setting up our homestead, I see this cavalcade of lake-happy party-goers frolicking by us with just the most jovial and cartoonish mood, and it really sums up a huge portion of this event. In the moment, I just loved watching it happen, then I thought, “I NEED to capture this, it too much!” they had already walked pass us as I had this thought, so I quickly grabbed my camera and ran up the hill ahead of them so I could capture them walking by to try to give the audience a chance to see it how we did. This was the punctuation, and the final takeaway for us and I’m sure everyone who was there.