The video for Leverage Models' new single, "Sweep", is a total heart-stopper. The slow-motion footage and shallow depth-of-field perfectly matches the song's billowy dance rhythm. It's absolutely gorgeous, and it might surprise you to learn that it was shot on the absolute cheap for less than $500. No fancy video cameras here — just a couple of iPhones an a snazzy lens adaptor.
The video was shot by director-producer, husband-wife team Rob Hatch-Miller and Puloma Basu. After producing about a dozen videos over the last few years, the duo were offered the opportunity to direct their own piece, but it came with the challenge of an unusually small budget — which didn't leave much wiggle room for much of anything, let alone, you know, equipment rental for a standard Canon 5D rig. After reading about a 35mm SLR lens adaptor from a company called Vid-Atlantic, Hatch-Miller and Basu wrote the company — and by a strike of good fortune, ended up with a kit to use.
The kit (pictured above with Hatch-Miller) is super compact and relatively easy to hide. Initially, the producers thought they'd be able to shoot on the sly in situations where a big rig would usually attract a lot of attention. iPhones are so tiny, right? It turns out that the weird gadget attracted more eyeballs than a DSLR would have. As Basu and Hatch-Miller told me by email:
It turned out that carrying around an iPhone in a weird metal case with a huge lens attachment on the front of it brought WAY more attention than shooting on a DSLR ever would. Everywhere we went people asked what the hell kind of camera we were using and wanted to look at it. Over the course of two shoot days (and one test shoot day) we must have been stopped by 50 people. Even at a deserted beach on a weekday in late September we were stopped by a group of teenagers who wanted to see what we were shooting with. And when we went to Adorama to rent lenses everyone wanted to play with our weird gadget. It seemed like everyone there was aware SLR adapters for iPhone existed, but almost no one had used one or even seen one in person. Everyone there said they were blown away by how cool the footage looked straight off the iPhone screen.
The resulting footage came out looking gauzy and film-like, but the Vid-Atlantic kit was hardly as easy as using a camcorder or a DSLR. The directors explain:
It's essentially like shooting with a toy camera. Some of the parts are flimsy, it doesn't always work perfectly and you have to play around quite a bit to find the ideal angles and lighting situations for it. That said, the look of the footage is totally unique.