Daniels and Brown

Zach Daniels, left, records Josh Brown and the Hard Livin’ Legends for a music video.

The age of technology has made videos as common — in fact, perhaps more common — than telephone calls. Cellphones are everywhere, and everyone captures pieces of their lives on them in video form to share with friends, family and on the ever-growing number of social media platforms. Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook are alive with birthday parties, concerts and basketball games all courtesy of iPhone, Android and other manufacturers’ cameras. And though many of these cameras are quite good, sometimes things require a professional touch.

Local videographer Zach Daniels (Zach Daniels Films) isn’t a fan of cellphone videos, not because they are bad, but because they fail to capture the depth and nuances needed to produce what he considers good content. Daniels is a Boyd County native, and said that he has always been interested in the finished product being of the best possible quality.

“I’m a local content creator, and a full-time pastor at CentrePointe Church. I’ve done video for a long time, and have worked for other churches as a creative arts pastor,” Daniels said.

Daniels said he has always enjoyed experimenting with cameras. The passion has grown over the last few years.

Daniels has worked on a wide variety of videos, some of which he has shared on his Facebook page.

“I have done different video pieces for political campaigns for different candidates in 2018. I really enjoy good content,” Daniels said, and confessed to being a little obsessed with “gear.” Along with that, he said, came discovering the best way to capture and present the desired content. “And because of all that, I have some of the best gear around.” His preference for video, Daniels said, is a Red Camera, which is a Hollywood grade video camera.

“When Josh Brown called me to do the video for ‘Where I Went Bad,’ I used the Red Camera,” Daniels said. “It allows me to capture in the most cinematic form. If Josh’s video were shot on anything less, I don’t believe you would have been able to see the emotion.”

Daniels said he pulled out all of the stops, so to speak, when recording the video. This included some parts of the video being filmed with the camera being fixed upon a tripod, but other parts were filmed with a hand-held camera to catch a perspective for the viewer which would not have otherwise been possible.

“When I listened to the song, and talked with Josh about the meaning of the song, and his connection to the song, I knew we were going to have to do something special,” Daniels said. “This song was special to him, and he wanted it to be the first song people heard off of this record.

“When I truly understood the intensity of what we were working with, I knew we were going to have to match the gravity of it,” he added.

The video shoot was a long day for everyone involved — Daniels estimated about 12 hours beginning at 7 a.m.

“Telling the story was an adventure,” Daniels said. “In part of the video, you can tell it was more still where the camera was on a tripod, but then the movement came in as the character is going through more intense situations.”  

The narrative aspect of the video presented its own challenges as well, Daniels said. It required actually filming the action backwards chronologically to achieve the effect of time passage within the 12-hour filming span. The actor, Brandon Whitt of Ironton (himself a local singer/songwriter), showed up disheveled with a full-growth beard. Then, as filming progressed, he trimmed his beard and rearranged his hair until finally, at the end of the day, shaving the beard to film the first scenes of the video.

The script for the video, Daniels said, was something of a group effort with Daniels, Josh Brown and Eden Roach working together to bring Brown’s song to visual life.

“It was originally about a guy who had lived with a lot of regret in his life,” Brown said. “He was one of those guys who regretted just about every decision he had made. It turned into what it is after Eden listened to it and came up with this idea that fit the narrative perfectly.”

“What stood out for me initially was the line, ‘her picture’s on the wall,’” Roach said. “And I was trying to work that into the story as a way to show the fall of this character. This first time I heard it, I really felt it, and the ideas came in just a few moments.”

Roach’s idea was essentially seeing the parallel between the song and what many military personnel feel upon returning to a home that is no longer really their home. The video reveals portions of that struggle with loneliness, desperation and hopelessness. And at the end of the video, there is contact information for those who are struggling with these issues.

“It was a very cool experience to see an interpretation of my song come to life,” Josh Brown said. “It was an amazing process. And Brandon did a great job.” Whitt will be performing, as well as Josh Brown and the Hard Livin’ Legends March 7, at the Ro-Na Theater.

“There were several moments when one of us would have inspiration, and of course Josh had the final say, but we made those things happen,” Daniels said. “And the final product is better for the collaboration.”  

Visit YouTube to find the video for “Where I Went Bad.”

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