Dead Chic – Good God. Directed by Rowan Biddiscombe and Andy Balcon.

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Hi everyone! Today we are happy to host our friend and FilmmakersWorld contributor, Rowan Biddiscombe.

We met Rowan some time ago and can say that, in addition to his extraordinary human qualities and his high-profile cinematography skills, he is one of the few who always maintains an impeccable attitude and a constant pursuit of excellence, even under bizarre conditions like those of this fantastic music video!

He recently shot the ‘Dead Chic – Good God’ music video, which received a fantastic response from the entire community. There are several noteworthy aspects to discuss, particularly the custom-made rig they built for several sequences.

So let’s dive into this new magazine piece with him! Sit back and grab some popcorn 🍿

Hi Rowan! Firstly, congratulations on your last project, Good God! You have created some incredible work, and the community loved it on Instagram, so it is worth asking you a few more questions! 
How did you come up with this creative idea?

Hey friends! Thanks so much, I’m really happy people enjoyed it so much. It means a lot to me and Andy, (the singer in the coffin)! We’ve been friends ever since I met him snowboarding about 10 years ago.

Over the years he’s progressed loads with his music, just as (I think) I’ve progressed with my cinematography. We went out for dinner one night and just started chatting about how he needed to make a music video for his new song “Good God”, and after a bit of back and forth we got to an idea featuring a church, maybe he could be dead, and maybe it could be his funeral…

If anyone has followed me from the Filmmakersworld Instagram page, they will know I love rigging cameras to things…(to be honest, it’s becoming a bit of an addiction!) and so after chatting a bit more, I was just thinking about how I could rig the camera to something, which eventually became the coffin rig.

It was cool because sometimes creative shots are tough to visualize in your head, but the coffin rig was so crystal clear that I just knew we had to figure out a way to do it. 

What was the biggest challenge in this specific work? Why did you choose this kind of rig and what was the kind of feeling you wanted to transfer to the audience?

I would say the number one biggest challenge on this shoot was just the overall ambition far outweighing the size/budget of the production.

That is obviously pretty standard these days, but on this project in particular I really wanted to try something a bit different, that would catch people’s attention and ultimately get more people to hear Andy’s music and maybe create some new fans for him and the band.

Rowan Biddiscombe

Not to mention the fact that since I was doing it for free, it needed to be worth my time and effort. Lastly, in terms of feeling, I think we just wanted the visuals on screen to match up with the actual “sound” of the song.

It’s corny but that is I think, just an organic thing that comes together when you’re throwing ideas around in the early stages of something like this.

You end up saying something along the lines of, “You know when I listen to this song, I can really imagine you being in a church environment…” etc.

How many resources, days, and people were involved in this work?

Hmmm, that is a tricky one to answer, but it was a lot smaller/less than you think! Andy and I did the bulk of it, which included finding/buying the coffin, finding/sweet-talking the location, buying the materials for the coffin rig/building it in his parents’ garage 😅 Oh and we dug the grave…twice!

But Damien (Andy’s main partner in the band) helped with that a lot.

Andy, Damien, Andy’s Parents, Alex Colborne (1st AC), Joe Atkinson, two guys to help carry the coffin, and that’s about it.

The video was shot with a Red Komodo and Canon 8-64mm S16 “Hurt Locker” lenses. How did you organize to ensure the safety of the equipment used?

Yes, well, first of all, we decided to go with that setup since I had used the Komodo+Canon 8-64mm on a few shoots before that and I was quite impressed with how it worked with the old S16 lenses, it works pretty well in its 4k mode, apart from some fairly obvious vignetting, however, that wasn’t a huge problem since I decided pretty early on to shoot 4:3 aspect ratio which ended up cropping that vignette almost completely out.

In terms of safety, I can’t say I used any “industry standard” safety measures, but just a healthy dose of common sense and double/triple strengthening/securing where necessary. I think if you take your time and think about all the ways something can go wrong beforehand, it’s possible to make anything safe.

Naturally, when you’ve got the money for a proper grip just use that! However, on this shoot, I personally think even if we had the money to go that route, I’m not sure if it would have actually made things particularly easier/safer. 

Do you have any funny anecdotes from this project? I’m sure everyone is curious about the grave and the pit that was dug for one of the scenes, and particularly about the locals’ reactions.

🤣 Do you want a list?! This shoot was full of funny moments…

Please do it! 🙂

Here are the top ones:

(My favorite) If you watch the final shot of Andy being lowered down into the grave, you can see the feet of the people carrying the coffin. Fun fact, Joe Atkinson (one of the world’s best freestyle rollerbladers, look it up!) and I are those feet, but we realized it looked weird that we were wearing trainers, so at the last minute we stole Andy’s black shoes/boots and we are wearing one each 🥴

We dug the grave on public overgrown land up North (England) near Andy’s hometown, and when we were taking the coffin out of the car and carrying it into the bushes we got some very strange looks from people passing by!

The woman at the end of the film is Andy’s mum. She still finds it weird to watch the video because she says it’s like she’s burying her own son. On top of that, Andy’s dad was one of the other people helping us lower the coffin into the grave… What committed parents! 😅

And then?

On the morning of the second shoot day where we shot the coffin being lowered into the grave, Andy decided to take his dad’s motorbike out for a spin and managed to crash it into a ditch… So in that final shot of him being lowered down, his arm is completely torn up and bleeding all over his suit/shirt. Safety first kids…

Fun fact: The side-by-side confession booth scene is actually just two individual shots of each Andy and Damien sitting in the same spot, just duplicated and horizontally flipped, to make it look like they are sitting next to each other. The “screen” between them is a radiator cover propped up on a chair.

What’s the next project/challenge mate?

Just to keep learning and keep evolving really… In 2024 I’m going to try and live by the mantra, “Done is better than perfect”. And by that I mean I want to try and let go of the idea that everything needs to be totally polished and groundbreaking to be worthwhile, I just want to get out there and shoot as much as possible and push myself to try new things, which in turn will hopefully provide me with tonnes of opportunities to learn and grow. That means more passion projects, more crazy ideas, and crazy rigs!

Bottom line, no matter what size projects you’re working on in your day-to-day, try to always make time to go out and shoot stuff for fun/with your mates! It’s so easy as you progress in your career to get trapped in the idea that film is just a job and a way to make money.

Projects like this one really help to remind me why I started working in this industry in the first place and help me to be more creative in all of my other (paid) projects.

Lastly, I’d just like to say that Filmmakersworld (Specifically Emanuele) is amazing and I appreciate every time they/you have ever shared one of my posts.
The continued support means so much to me. 🙏

So, guys, we hope you loved this incredible story. We want to give one more shout-out to Rowan, because he embodies the values we cherish, the love for the process, and motivates us to do more and better for this crazy and wild independent project! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you want to learn more about this project, check Rowan’s official Instagram profile and website and show him some love, and don’t miss check the official music video, now that you know all these behind the scenes.

Stay tuned for the next and in the meantime, if you missed our latest article, go check it out.

Much love <3
FilmmakersWorld Team

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