CANMORE – When Canmore married couple Jason Hamilton and Amber Bell planned a stay-at-home date night, they made sure to have their video cameras and lights ready.
With candles lit, roses and lingerie laid out and the line “give it to me, daddy” memorized, the couple prepared to film something they’d never filmed before: a music video.
Hamilton and Bell, producers at short film company G13 Productions, are the architects behind the visual storytelling of Mike O’Phee’s song “One on One”; a date night uniquely told through stop motion, macro photography and speed ramping.
“Our thoughts were, if we’re going to do something we want to challenge ourselves and do something creative and try to tell a story,” Bell said.
Using a combination of lyric and traditional music video styles, the artistic duo made a scene where Scrabble tiles come alive, wine quickly disappears from glasses and pieces of clothing come flying off as the romantic evening heats up.
The idea for the music video took off when O'Phee, a childhood friend of Hamilton's, called the couple about his new EP Calligraphy. The rap rock musician gave Hamilton and Bell free rein to make the visual project their own.
“Mike gave us a call and said he’s got this new music coming out and we offered to help … he said ‘we could really use a lyric video,’ ” Hamilton said. “Amber and my brain went crazy on different ideas and doing something that’s not just a standard music video and that’s where it went.”
The couple wanted to create an entirely different experience for viewers, even if production styles looked familiar to what's out there. With a Scrabble board already in the house, the first segment of the video was set. As the date night progresses, it moves from the game and towards a bedroom scenario, with Bell appearing wearing an eye mask and chewing on a strawberry.
To make the visual effects more appealing, the two decided to use stop motion and closeup macro photography for the project and taught themselves how to apply the techniques using online tutorials.
There was a lot of trial and error, Hamilton said, but that’s when an artist’s vision wakes up.
From start to finish, creating the music video took around 50 hours to complete over a two and a half weeks period in April and May. It included a 16-hour shoot day where they experimented in three or four different ways of doing stop motion with the Scrabble pieces.
Artistically, the married couple feed off each other and said they complement each other well.
“She keeps me from thinking the whole thing’s going to be a huge failure,” Hamilton said with a laugh.
“When you’re doing something you’ve never done before in a really challenging concept, that’s where real creativity comes out. If there are no barriers, then you don’t end up making anything good.”
Instead, the biggest challenges came from the lack of crew and cast. However, the couple worked around the dilemma – highlighting what they could excel with and downplaying the limiting factors.
“With the pandemic, it drove us to come up with creative ways of shooting,” Hamilton said.
What was produced on screen was a hit among social groups, including with O’Phee who wants to work with Bell and Hamilton on another video.
The two are excited about the idea of making something to top “One on One.”
“We like that idea and just continuing to teach ourselves new skills and ways of doing it,” Bell said. “I would say, we’re more excited of one upping ourselves and making something better next time.”