Malham Cove - Music Video Shoot

Climbing Malham with a Drone and Drum Kit


Ben Illingsworth

6/9/20233 min read

When producing video or photographic content it can be difficult to think of a creative or a new idea which has yet to be done. I was on Social Media one day and came across a post from one of my favourite bands Sum 41, which showed imagery of their Drummer Frank Zummo.

I thought the idea of filming a music video on the top of a mountain was an exciting idea, especially with a drone to show the stunning landscape. I initially considered Snowdon but when looking at the logistics and the current climate the idea was quickly dismissed but who knows for the future.

I had previously visited Malham Cove and thought the area could look very cinematic. One of the biggest film productions to happen there was Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was partly filmed there at the top of Malham Cove. Who knows how all of the actors got to the top of the mountain, most likely by helicopter as climbing the 400 irregular stone steps or 260 foot can be tiring (Let alone with a drum kit and the filming and lighting kit). 

Filming Kit -

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k with Sigma Art Lenses

  • DJI Mavic Air

  • The GoPro MAX

  • Lighting - Aputure 300dii with a softbox and a 5 in One Reflector

One of the exciting aspects about the video was the opportunity to use the GoPro Max. It is a 360° camera which records in 5.6k. The field of view and high resolution allows you to select multiple angles of the action which is useful for all kinds of filming particularly action sport, music videos and travel videos.

For the video I desired a very clean look which was the main factor to use the Sigma Art Lenses, The ending time-lapse was filmed on the Vivitar 70-210mm F3.5 Canon EF. This is a very cheap vintage lens which can be found in eBay but be sure to check the condition and that the optics are clear. It becomes a f2.8 with the Metabones Speedbooster. 

I have since upgraded to the Mavic 2 Pro as my drone of choice due to 10 bit image and 14 stops of dynamic range but the Mavic Air 1 used is a great cheap drone to get started with which shoots in 4k and has quick shot modes like the Mavic 2 Pro. 

I have been a big fan of Aputure's lights for a number of years with COB design allowing a variety of modifiers to be used to get quick soft light. The new 600d looks very exciting.

Post Production - The post production of the video was fairly straight forward, one of the key factors to the video's look was the use of sky replacements. In my BTS and breakdown of the video I go into how this was achieved. It's a fairly simple and effective way to up the production value of a production and in most cases it can be done straight in Adobe Premiere and if the scene is more complex using the motion tracking tools in Adobe After Effects.

Waking up early and getting on set for 7am was well worth it when looking back as it allowed for amazing sunrise shots and shooting in Blackmagic RAW enabled the shadow and highlight information to be captured.

I want to say thank you for everybody who helped in the production and got involved in the project in particular Neil Taylor, who kindly assisted and lent his GoPro MAX. 

Malham Cove Top
Malham Cove Top
Harry Potter Malham Cove
Harry Potter Malham Cove
BTS Video
Final Video