Lies Like These

I’m in Manchester at a music industry conference called Un-Convention. It’s one of those events where you know quite a few of the people involved, and the ones you don’t, you get to know quite quickly.

After the last band played last night, a bunch of us went across to the pizzeria / chip shop across the road for a bite to eat. My Belfast cousin Tracy, and Brad from Bolton band Merchandise were talking about Brad’s album and how that was coming along.

‘Nearly done – just have some mastering to do. Finished a video for the first single, but we’re not going to do any more. Don’t have the budget for it.’

‘Let’s make one right now,’ I said.

So, armed with my digital camera (a still camera, actually, but with a video setting) and with the song on Brad’s ipod, we just did a one-take shot. No rehearsal. Not even any discussion about what the two of them would do.

The only real shame was that it’s hard to see what Tracy wrote on the base of the pizza box at the end of the video. It reads ‘You suck.’

An hour later, I went to bed while this was uploading to Vimeo.

Music video budget? We don’t need no music video budget…

Find Merchandise on iTunes.

43 thoughts on “Lies Like These

  1. Darren says:

    Love it! Great idea… lovely track… :)

  2. karen says:

    i did something similar a while back – set up a camera on a tripod and recorded a track live in to Cuebase on my computer – then mixed the audio and video tracks together using some free software i found somewhere – it’s great!

    i still like fancy pants ones too though

  3. This is really rather beautiful isn’t it?

  4. Null says:

    F..k Madonnas $ 1m Video Budget. The Video is perfect. :)))))

  5. Matt says:

    he he

  6. ktb says:

    Brilliant! I love the fork moment…

  7. bruce says:

    please let me know when the track is available.. great song. good luck with the album! I went on to cityscaperecords and it takes too long to find links to the music. yikes..

  8. Alison says:

    Great videos! I think the key to an engaging video is a good-quality soundtrack (as the videos above have). I’ve seen tons of videos shot from the back of the room at a concert with a handi-cam, using the microphone on the camera to record it and they sound terrible. But–if you can take your pre-recorded studio track and use that with the video you shoot, you can use a not-so-great quality camera-(even a cell phone) and make a captivating video. For best results–I put the quality level at 80-90% audio/10-20% picture to make a video that works. Of course the content of both has to be appealing . But that’s easy!

    Here’s a good example. This video was shot on a treo cell phone. Granted, it was professionally edited-but I think It could have been edited more simply still be just as entertaining. The audio is good quality and the script is clever.

    BTW–Hey Andrew, nice shooting! Just a suggestion, but how about next time— pan around the room a little. I’ll bet there were some interesting folks standing around there that could add to the experience!!

    Thanks. (Sorry such a long post).

  9. James Pew says:

    Brilliant…and very touching. Will be spending the rest of the day talking about this.

    Made me think of Andrea Gauster, an artist I’m working with, who put together a video (slide show) of People & Pigeons in love for her song “Bye You.”

    Nice job Andrew.

  10. I love the “just do it” nature of this Andrew.
    Everyday I hear musicians say they don’t have the budget for photos, videos , etc…..
    Photos often DRIVE articles, press, etc. A good photo is NOT that difficult. A photo does not need to be complex or artsy.
    Simple is good.
    Last week one of my bands was bemoaning the lack of a proper press photo. I suggested they go outside, find a wall, stand against the wall and JUST TAKE A PHOTO with a digital camera.
    Worked great and it was cheap and effective.

  11. Martin says:

    That gives me another band to check out. What a great song. And I would never have known about Merchandise if you hadn’t filmed this ultra-cheap video. Who needs a video budget, eh?

  12. MATT says:

    Na, don’t pan (or read the post). The story is in the shot (and behind it too) he he, lovely.

  13. MATT says:

    And, what a great song. Giz!


  14. Kaushik says:

    Nice one! Out of curiosity, what camera did you use for the video? Any special settings on the camera? The picture quality is great.

  15. Gary says:

    Brilliant! Very well done.

  16. Andrew says:

    Genius. Simply genius.

    In the end, it always comes down to the people willing to ‘pick up the phone’ moving forward and those who don’t won’t. We’re all guilty of spending too much energy formulating excuses and thinking inside the lines. As you’ve just proved very emphatically, it’s entirely possible. And by “it” I mean everything.

  17. Adrian Ellis says:

    Nice one! As they say in filmmaking – you can have lousy picture quality, but if the sound is good, you’ll have believability. The picture here is quite good, and song is stellar. It’s all about the concept. If you had a bunch of ‘couples’ at a pizza parlour, and each one with the guy ‘serenading’ his girl (or guy, or vice versa)… or if the whole pizza joint joined in for the chorus… you could have shot it on the crappiest camera and it would be watchable.

    Here’s another zero budget video shot with a consumer still camera on video mode and edited on Sony Vegas Pro:

  18. Derek Hall says:

    Fantastic idea for a video on a budget and yet its still very entertaining. Must now go and buy it on iTunes.

  19. John Velghe says:

    Gorgeous song, incredible video, and best of all, it’s sincere. I love the people behind them in the shop

  20. Tim Redford says:

    My friend Tim Der just sent me a link to his new video for Canadian band Paper Moon. He’s always been making videos on a 0$ budget, armed only with his venerable HD cam and Macbook.

    I’ve always enjoyed them to an extent, but this one is really good! I’m surprised. I’m excited at the fact that it doesn’t matter “how” you capture the energy you want to share, as long as the energy is there and its real.. there’s a chance for magic.

    After seeing this vid, I was immediately reminded of this NMS post and thought I would share with you all.

  21. OMG! How well this came out.

    As you know Andrew, I was standing to the right that night watching on and can’t believe how well it came out. You done a wonderful job with this, the song is excellent and Tracy is just so funny.

    Well done Brad for doing it, hope the hill walking went well.

    Chat soon,


  22. Brad B Wood says:

    The walking went well Johnny – thanks for asking – a little stiff now though!

    I’m really surprised how well this vid has gone down – I didn’t know Dubber was going to put it up while we were doing it! I’m now having to rush to make the track available!

    Cheers for all the lovely comments on the song and the vid everybody and a big thanks to Dubber for his “let’s do it” attitude


  23. justin brock says:

    That’s really funny. If they do a remake, she should definitely do the robot dance while eating.

  24. Brad B Wood says:

    Due to folk asking, I’ve hurriedly made the track available on the Cityscape Records site:



  25. Ha, thanks Justin! Everyone’s asked me why I was doing that – I was trying to convey the notion of ‘we don’t fit’ by clumsy movement, but it confused people. (It was 2am or so at the end of a rather liquid night out..!)

    Johnny, so you DO think I’m funny! Stop pretending my jokes are crap then. ;) Only coddin’…

    Brad, hope you get loads of sales off the back of this – off to pimp your link now!

    (You don’t suck…)

  26. Martin says:

    Bought the track last night. Thanks to Brad for rushing it out. Looking forward to the album now…

  27. Brad B Wood says:

    Cheers Martin – glad you like it! There’s more where that came from!

  28. You guys…funny as all get out. I’m just glad to say I know you. Wish I’d been there that night. Following it on blogs and Twitter was…annoying.


    The acting in this video is delightful, spontaneous and funny. I love the use of the earphone and only wonder…how long did the actual shooting and editing portions of this project take and did you have any help in this regard?

    I was reminded recently in posting my own video up – rather pathetically in a sense – as I was eager to share a live performance from a Canadian tour and banter between myself and one of my producers but wasn’t sure if I wanted to save this for a future DVD project, and I didn’t know how to technically get this pulled together fast, in the heat of the moment. I monkeyed about between Garageband and iMovies and put a few headers in, then pics, but left the audio silent.

    Received both praise for that (someone on my FBook thought it really quirky and interesting; someone was disappointed and wanted more imagery). In the end, I wouldn’t do this again, but the video did evoke such comments on a songwriter’s website I belong to as, “I could picture the whole room swaying” (it’s an Arabic instrumental track). The point is you have to just do it.

    I liked another blogger’s (above in this case) comments about not worrying about perfection. Indeed. It’ll be the death of us all. Ani Difranco of the U.S., the queen of independents with her Righteous Babe Records label, long ago set the bar for output: this year, at the age of 39, she’s putting out her 20th album.

    So, you’ve done good. Now, enjoy and do more!

  29. Excuse me. I meant: I left the most of the section of the song in the video I did…without imagery…so that the listener would actually focus in on what the audience was doing throughout the performance!

  30. Brad B Wood says:

    Thanks for the kind comments Lorelei! Although we are ‘acting’ there really was very little preparation – Tracy wouldn’t have been doing the robot if it was planned! What were you doing Tracy?! That’s why I couldn’t help laughing when she did it.

    It really was a matter of Dubber saying ‘let’s do it’ and me quickly choosing which song to do on my ipod and quickly telling Tracy the gist and off we went.

    Dubber can probably say more about the editing but as far as I know there wasn’t any! It’s just one shot which he synched (sp?) soon after – the vid took very little longer to make than it took to shoot. And the spontaneity was Dubber’s – when I saw him next day it was already up here getting hits.

    Since, I’ve been contacted by the Salford Advertiser (newspaper) and been back to the pizza shop in question for a photoshoot – all very weird! I had to explain to the guys in the shop (Hi Ali) why the hell I was there and why Eddy from the Advertiser was taking shots of me inside and outside their shop. They played along well and I’ll post the shots/ article when it’s up. The oddest bit was holding an ipod and a pizza box outside the shop, in front of a static row of rush hour traffic, looking for all the world like a fat Jesus selling the twin virtues of fast food and modern music technology . . .

    The week’s getting weirder ;0)

  31. The robot moves were for the ‘realising that we just don’t fit’ line – it was supposed to be clunky, inflexible movements that stopped us from fitting together… Look, it made sense at the time! After a long day broken up by many pints in the Kings Arms, and cans in Sacred Trinity at the gigs… Good times, good times. :)

    But yes Lorelei, I think we originally thought (or I did) that I could learn the tune and sing along, then Dubber pointed out I didn’t actually have to. So I got on with eating. Voraciously. As my flatmate said: like a seagull.

  32. Steve Belkin says:

    Great Job Andrew. This video had the right ingredients… catchy song and authentic “acting” and humor. Real love is always nice to see!

  33. You’ve got me laughing. I loved it. Bravo to you, too, and to Dubber for suggesting you just get on with it. It’s the overlay of your actual song and you singing to it with the earphone in your ear that I would never have thought of. Loved the rawness of this. And the quirkier anything is, the more cult-like its status will be. Congrats.

  34. Stephen Coen says:

    Genuine Talent, the song and singer pure quality, and well done for the spontaneous filming, loved all of it.
    Was the Pizza good?

  35. Darren Riley says:

    Very entertaining. I come from Bolton and am a regular (ish) visitor to this site. However, Brad hasn’t made any mention of this on Bolton’s main music forum – an indication of the apathy towards original music in Bolton? Probably.

    It’s good though, I’ll probably mention it myself.

  36. warren love says:

    I am too mean to watch the video. Instead I have to watch my bandwidth use this month here in a truck on an expensive VodafoneNZ wireless plan.

    The point made is a good one. I have posted a homemade video – I am guessing of an even cruder sort than this one. It’s a trial for the new site It may be crude and rough as guts, but it adds something.

    Good to hear low fi suggestions. These days that doesn’t have to mean lesser. Good to back at newmusic to see the site looking good.

  37. MartinT says:

    Like it – really cool video and a great track. Off to to find out a bit more about Merchandise. Also I’m pretty sure I recognise the pizza place from my time up in Manchester / Salford while at Uni!

  38. Nathan says:

    Great song! That’s the most important part in my book…but there is something rather honest about a blushing musician baring their soul to the girlfriend they were telling to take a hike in the song…I wonder if either of them realized that’s what the song was about before they shot that. Ha Ha Ha.

  39. Ha, not sure whether to spoil the illusion that seems to be spreading here… Brad, your call! :)

  40. Joe Holt says:

    I love this. I love seeing ideas go to creation go to sharing so quickly.

  41. Ry Pilla says:

    Very cool….I did a similar thing with The Last Broadcast here on the streets of NYC…a live instrument hip-hop groove group….I taped the camcorder to my bicycle seat for the moving shots…The song is called Get Ya Handz Up….we asked random people on the street to get their hands up…good fun…and it cost us $0….here’s the link if you are interested! (**some cursing at the end**)

  42. Apell says:

    I also created a low/no budget video by simply filming 2 takes of the song in a rehearsal studio. One on a tripod and another with a friend running around the the room for a hand held style. I then overlapped both versions added some video effects/filters while synching it up to the original track.