Video: Space Between Us – Production Notes

Takeaways from the process of directing, shooting, and editing the music video for Flora Falls.

I’m only now beginning to resurface from the obsessive amount of hours I put into grading and re-grading the flora falls music video. I threw myself into that project not only because I haven’t done any music video work in a year, but also to occupy myself while feeling lonely and angry. But I should also take this moment to reflect on the project itself: what I’ve learned, what I’m proud of, and what I’d like to take with me into future projects.

It had been a long time between projects, and it shows (though perhaps only to me?): i tried to cram way too many things into one project, and stretched myself a bit thin, at the expense of what should have been a more focused and refined end product. That said, looking at it for what it is:

‘Space Between Us’ Social Media teaser edit


  • This shoot was more ambitious than it perhaps should have been. i’m glad I went for everything I did, and I definitely confirmed certain instincts about storytelling and character-juggling. But perhaps this project wasn’t the most appropriate venue for all the things i attempted. I can see, in at the very least the lighting and performances, just how thin my resources and abilities were stretched; and perhaps next time, I shouldn’t spend 1/3 of the artist’s budget – my fee – on a location I don’t fully exploit; or spread myself over three shooting days when it really should’ve been one; or try to cram in a whole storyline where is simple abstract meditation would have made the artists just as happy.
  • I did my little one-man crew thing, which I’m now convinced I no longer want to do or should ever do again – at the very least I need a producer to handle logistics so that I can focus solely on creating.
  • Colour grading is HARD. And the more shots i have, the more exponential the increase in work. Ironically, i found myself cutting into long takes – after i discovered i’m good at handheld reframing and focus pulling. If i work with longer takes, in unchanging lighting, i can get better results for fewer shots, and i can save myself tons of work in post.
  • Despite my best efforts, including notes to self repeatedly reminding me, I still forgot / never found or made time to grab some truly abstract, experimental, and just pretty insert shots stop also, the actors had to remind me to use the glass in front of the lens to get the more dreamy shots of the angels – and I may be did this once in the entire video, and no one will even notice it. So maybe in future I need to practice on my own, and have more experiments in my bag of tricks ready to go on the spot – because so much of the shoot was me problem-solving in the moment, allowing a limited window to try for something I wasn’t sure of, and The rest of the time leaning on either what I had already prepared, or what I already knew would work. The “improvisation“, just like in music, depended on what I had already studied, attempted, and / or internalized, and only rarely if at all about inspiration or luck. From the way I evidently work in practice, if I want more experimental elements in my video, they to need to be as prepared as any other elements I want in my video: “experimental“ ≠ “improvised“.
  • Watching the edit now, I can see so many things in it which are amateur and which diminish the whole. So for my next project – and perhaps for all future projects – I want to narrow my focus down to only what i know I can accomplish well, and instead devote the same energy and focus to taking that “well“ to “outstanding“.
  • i’ve easily spent 100 hours colour grading this thing. yes, it’s been a deep end, on-the-job levelling-up, but it’s also been obsessive. i keep tinkering, then starting over, then finding tiny things, then repeating the process. i seem unable to let go of this one – and it’s not just about trying to match four completely different lighting situations.
  • I can see in the eyes – specifically, the blinking – of the actors how little support I have given them: no script, minimal and scattered direction. They lack confidence because they are uncertain, because I have not provided them with certainty.
‘Space Between Us’ BTS Reel


  • i was able to synthesise so many of the many, many references and ideas in the mix: multiple elements in the music video and film ideas we shared; visuals from their designers; and the film-making ideas i was personally thinking about in that moment.
  • Despite the cons (above), I absolutely fulfilled my own brief: I was able to craft a four-character narrative; I designed and told it in a montage style; and, pending viewer reactions of course, the end result straddles the line between literal and vague, didactic and open to interpretation, that I set out to explore.
  • I managed to create a short narrative, in which I explored my ideas about silent narrative, and conflict driven by empathy.
  • I got to collaborate with actors – four of them. They are recent graduates, which feels appropriate for my levels of experience and confidence. I wanted to foster a collaborative and safe environment: initially, I erred too much to the side of ceding the floor, and the actors didn’t feel supported enough; ultimately, the “toughest“ of the actors had her own personal breakthrough on my set – by asking for another take, something which clearly meant a lot to her, as evidenced by her getting emotional about her triumph, and which she felt safe enough with me to do.
  • I even got to squeeze in my ideas about motifs, setup and payoff, and imbuing objects with symbolism and significance, in a number of ways: through sequences i designed in pre, instincts i had on set, and non-linear cross-cuts and inserts i had to utilise in the edit to make things feel connected. i don’t know if this is me at the height of my powers so far, but i’m definitely in a zone.
  • I’ve got a chance to tell, and I think I succeeded in telling, a story that is open to interpretation, that requires piecing together, but where all the pieces are there. (Of course, this is subject to people actually seeing it, when I will learn if actually succeeded).
  • I got to work with my most expensive lighting kit to date (which i own), in which I’ve invested years researching and acquiring…
  • … in a combination of preplanned and improvised scenarios.I was able to think on my feet, move quickly, travel relatively lightly, accomplish certain things well, and clearly see things which could be better.
  • The story and the storytelling are uniquely products of this specific collaboration: my conversations with the musicians, Characters inspired by the actors, and where I personally happen to be at, in this moment, in the art and media to which I’m drawn and the ideas about it I’m keen to explore. This music video is absolutely a cross-section, a journal entry, of this place and time.
  • For all my technical limitations, I have good instincts and can balance certain disparate elements pretty well: choreography with the actors, pulling focus, framing, and now shaping my subjects with light – all while, I’m told, moving quickly and calmly, and being very open to input and collaboration.
‘Space Between Us’ (Official Music Video)


  • I’m starting to feel simultaneously more confident in my abilities to collaborate and achieve, more humbled by my shortcomings as they are brought into ever sharper focus, inspired by the possibilities, clearer on what I can and can’t do, and understanding deeply that this is always in change.
  • “experimental“ ≠ “improvised“