How I made Eric John kaiser’s « Terre Brulée » Music video

Posted on mardi, janvier 3rd, 2017 at 8:14

Here is an article to inaugurate the new section of my website called “Blog”. The concept is to explain how I work.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a certain Eric John Kaiser, a French musician who lives in the USA since 2006. He’s an independent musician and makes a living playing music. His income comes mainly from his shows and not from selling records… just like my friend Forest Pooky. To make ends meet he constantly needs to be on the road.

A video presenting Eric John Kaiser is available on his website:

I’m really excited to start working with someone new, Eric is also the first artist I’m going to work with who lives in the US. Who knows maybe we’ll exchange new perspective on things and it will lead to future collaborations ?

How to work with an artist who is not in France? Unfortunately he’s doesn’t have the budget to have me go to Portland to shoot the video. Too bad. Therefore we are going to use 2.0 tools to make it work: Facebook messenger to talk, Pinterest for the mood board and emails for all the rest!

The song is called “Terre Brûlée” (burnt earth). Here’s it’s story:  Eric was in Gaspésie (a region of Québec) and one night, he sees this girl who was bored in her hotel room and to kill time was playing on her phone, on Tinder, checking out local guys.

– “Here’s what the song is about, now your turn “David” to make a video out of it”

– “Ok”

The Made in Gaspésie album


We ended up deciding to do a fictional music video, shot in France. A woman will be the main actress. Eric told me he was able to film himself and send me the videos afterwards. The concept was taking shape. She could be browsing on her phone and at the same time watch of video of Eric, in order to create that connection. I have to admit I’m pretty meticulous about my filming and mixing up, in the same video, my footage with someone else’s makes me a bit worried. On top of that, Eric does not necessarily want to appear in the video. It might be surprising since a music video is a promotional tool for an artist, for people to discover his work and what he does. It helps the general public to identify who he is. Instead, we ended up doing a fictional music video without the typical shots of the singer songwriter with his guitar. The challenge there is to keep the viewers attention. I hope I will be able to do that!

Out of the 47 music videos I have shot, 2 have been created without the bands doing any playback playback (Bubblies & Guerilla Poubelle), however the musicians are still comedians in the video. The video for “Terre Brûlée” will be the first video I will be doing without having the artist being an actor. A first!

I needed an actress that could carry the weight of the music video on her own. Deadlines were approaching and I had neither the actress nor the script ready. In those type of situations I prefer to write according to who the actress is going to be and I listen to what she can bring to the character. I try to find several actresses over email but finally decide to go with Aurélie Cheneau. We have never worked together but we have met several times at shows. Aurélie is a singer in the band “l’Opium du peuple” but also a styliste, a fashion designer and a performer. She immediately accepts to be part of the project. It’s perfect! I can finally start writing.

Here is a video of her with her band “L’Opium du Peuple” where she appears but also that she co directed with her friend Agnès Ronzel.



Aurélie in the music video “Terre Brûlée”

Aurélie website

To share with Eric what I had in mind about Aurélie’s character, I used Pinterest. We have been using that tool for years with the “Citron Bien” agency. We create a “moonboard” with existing pictures and short movies that are close to what I’m looking to achieve with this music video.


Here I share fashion short movies and sensual pictures (because the music video also has to be sensual) where you see models looking out a window, hanging out on a bed or playing around with dust.


Since we are not shooting in Quebec, we are going to try and not do any outside shots where you could see a French post office, stop signs or lavender farms. We are also not going to try and make it look like it was shot in Quebec. We are just going to film inside and tell the story of a girl who lives in a modern way and who understand perfectly how”2.0 relationships” work on tinder.


No lights, no reflectors, natural sunlight backlight

The music video’s style must be simple. Hand held camera with natural light. We have a lot of sequences to shoot and I can’t waste any time with setting up lights. For this video I film on my own, without an assistant, with a Sony FS700 camera, a 50 mm lens, and a 16/35 wide angle. That’s all! I also have an orange light shining on the ceiling, it helps add a little light to the room and two natural lights for the scene in the bedroom.

capture-decran-2016-12-10-a-00-33-00Scenes filmed with the 50mm, 1.4 opening, natural light

capture-decran-2016-12-10-a-00-33-19Scenes filmed with the 16/35mm, 2.8 opening, natural light also.
Different lighting to give the impression we are at a different time of day


Scenes shot with the 50mm lens, it’s 7pm, I’m outside, she is inside, it’s pitch black! 

We mainly shoot the video in Gigors in a bed and breakfast called Charousse located in the Drôme region of France. The scenery is beautiful for inside shots. It adds a lot to the music video. The outside shots are filmed at some friends’ house. The entire music video was mainly filmed in one day (day time and evening shots). We also did a few shots at 9am the next morning to capture that early light.



The editing was also super fast to do; mainly one day. On top of that it took me a few more hours for details and to make sure the rhythm of the video was working. Thibault Pétrissans also helped me out with a technique called composting (which are the little inserts of pictures in the music video where she is playing on Tinder and receives notifications on her phone). A huge thank you to him. Here is his website:


One of the scenes of the music video where the character looks at profiles on the Tinder app

Here we are the music video is done! Don’t hesitate to share, Eric and I are very pleased with the final result. Thanks so much for reading this article until the end.