Miss Dumbreck – Maxwell Quartet

December 15th, 2018

The Maxwell Quartet are widely celebrated as one of Britain’s finest chamber ensembles; with a catalogue of awards and a host of glowing reviews, their emerging talent is reflected in the rising success of their music. In Autumn of last year, Flux had the opportunity to collaborate with them on a music video ahead of the release of their album this month.

Formed of four close friends, the quartet grew up playing folk and classical music together in youth orchestras across Scotland, so when scouting a location, there seemed no better place to capture their performance than in the heart of the Perthshire countryside. A woodland scene to serve as a romantic reminder of the origins of both the musicians and their instruments. The vision was to situate them in the bucolic grounds of a Scottish estate, edited in a contemporary style to communicate their fresh take on classical string music.

As we had hoped, nature functioned as the perfect framing for the instruments. Rooting the cello in a carpet of tobacco and auburn leaves, illuminated the antiquity of its beauty. Wood smoke billowing around the violins provided a perfect textural contrast in the close ups of their gleaming mahogany.

As always with outdoor shoots, the temperamental Scottish weather threatened to obstruct the production, but alongside the dips of grey, also came intermittent sunshine, on several occasions sharpening satisfyingly to the crescendo of the song. The changeability of the conditions provided us with a variety of shots that in their dissonance would reflect the varied pace and mood of the music.

A couple of elements meant that this music video production would be particularly challenging. Normally we would hire multiple camera operators to capture several angles and then build an edit from one take, but with no budget, we shot with one Sony A7sii with a variety of Canon lenses and filmed seven takes. String music must be filmed live as no two renditions are audibly the same, so we had to choose one best wide-angled take to synchronise with our live sound recording. Using this as our master track, we selected some handheld static and roaming shots captured using a Redrock rig, and edited them to fit.

Wistful and serene, the music echoed the peaceful Scottish landscape and the team were thrilled with the outcome. We relish any opportunity to work with musicians of any genre and look forward to collaborating with the Maxwell Quartet on future projects.