Music Video: Machine Gun Kelly — <I>Bloody Valentine</I> (acoustic)
Issue: July/August 2020

Music Video: Machine Gun Kelly — Bloody Valentine (acoustic)

Director Sam Cahill is a frequent collaborator with Machine Gun Kelly and has even toured with the artist (Colson Baker), documenting his life on the road. Cahill (@samcahill) directed Machine Gun Kelly’s Bullets With Names video, featuring Young Thug, RJMrLA and Lil Duke, and through these past collaborations, the artist and filmmaker have developed what Cahill calls a “fluent way to work together.”  

Recently, Cahill, who is based in LA, directed a music video for the acoustic version of Machine Gun Kelly’s Bloody Valentine track. Earlier this summer, a high-energy music video for Bloody Valentine was released, featuring the artist and actress Megan Fox. This new acoustic version finds Baker alone on his motorcycle, riding to the top of an LA-area hill, where he performs the track with just an acoustic guitar. The camera circles him, showing the horizon, the setting sun and his solitude.

To create the video’s realtime, slow-motion effect, Cahill first manipulated the soundtrack to play at double time. On set, he used a Bluetooth speaker to playback the quicker version of the song for Baker to sync to. Once slowed back down to the song’s normal speed in the edit, the visuals would take on the desired effect.

Cahill used his own Canon 1D X Mark II for the shoot, along with 24-70mm and 100mm lenses. After the small crew hiked up a hill in the Topanga Canyon area, they waited for the sun to position itself just right to create the golden look. The shoot took place rather quickly — Cahill estimates it spanned just 15 minutes. The motorcycle sequence was shot three times and the guitar performance quickly followed.

In addition to directing, Cahill (pictured, left) handled the duties of camera operator and editor, which he says is typical of the work he does. He shoots with editorial in mind, knowing how he wants the sequences to come together.

The project was shot in 4K at 60fps in Canon C-log and edited in Adobe Premiere. Cahill began the edit the night following the shoot, and after putting together a rough cut, sent a version to Baker for review. He would later bring his MacBook Pro to the artist’s home, where the two would fine tune the final cut, noting that Baker is a talented editor in his own right.

Lumetri and Magic Bullet Looks were used for the color grade. The final edit was delivered in 4K.