Music Video: Mushroomhead — <I>The Heresy</I>
Issue: July/August 2020

Music Video: Mushroomhead — The Heresy

Napalm Records’ Mushroomhead pooled its creative resources to produce The Heresy, a new video released on June 5th, just prior to the launch of its eighth album, “A Wonderful Life”, on June 19th.

The Heresy is both melodic and haunting. The song’s vocals — performed by Ms. Jackie — were recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, and the video continues the band’s tradition of releasing high-quality, cinematic imagery.

Mushroomhead drummer, percussionist and visionary Steve “Skinny” Felton says the band has its own soundstage and equipment in Cleveland, allowing them to work at their own pace without the budget pressures often associated with music-video shoots. In addition, the band and crew are adept at prop making, costume design and makeup, all of which play a part in The Heresy.

Shot in 6K using a Red camera, The Heresy is set on an abandon nuclear submarine, where band members use welding torches to repair the failing vessel. As sparks fly around her, Ms. Jackie is preparing a torpedo that’s loaded with imagery and items that reflect the chaos taking place in today’s society. At the bomb's center is a newborn baby.

According to Skinny, the video was shot over approximately seven days, with the first two being used for trials and camera tests to establish the project’s slow-motion pace. Josh Apple has worked with the band on music-video projects in the past and served as director of photography this time around.

The Heresy was shot at 48fps, with the band performing along with the soundtrack at twice realtime speed. Once slowed down to 24fps, their movement would take on a slow-motion feel, while still syncing with the soundtrack at its normal speed. Both 35mm and 100mm lenses were used for the shoot. 

“I really enjoy how deep you can go with the focus pull,” says Skinny of the 100mm lens choice, “and keep the person right up front and still pull back and see quite a bit of detail.”

Skinny was able to see dailies early on, which helped plan for the next day’s shoot. He ended up extending the song’s four-minute run time to well beyond six minutes in order to allow more time for storytelling. 

“I edited entire thing here at the shop,” he recalls. “I tend to over film and have a lot of ideas, but there was more story to tell than there was need for the song. The song had its own tempo and pacing, and if you tried to throw too much story in it, it ruined the vibe.”

The video was edited in Adobe Premiere in its native Red file format using a Mac Pro workstation.

“We would bring in Red files, and as long as I don’t have too many lines of video going, it was playing back in 6K,” says Skinny. “The machine we have is pretty fast.”

Almost all of the visual effects are practical, including the sparks from the grinders and welders that shower Ms. Jackie as she sings. Josh Apple inserted radar displays in some shots and provided additional post services using Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve and Red Giant’s Magic Bullet.

“The last two days were a marathon of how to tie that intro together,” says Skinny of the edit. “I was here for like 18 hours a day...working on that intro and I think it came out wonderful.”