Added by on 2012-01-05

The following blog post is by “guest writer” Miriam Ani:

It all started with a trip to the emergency room.

Soldier and singer/songwriter Hayim Ani (eZra) was washing dishes one evening and sliced through the fourth finger on his right hand, severing nerve and tendon.

Knowing he would be on medical leave from the army for several months before and after surgery, Hayim realized he needed a project.

Recording his first scratch of “Subtle Notes” with one hand on the guitar, Hayim took the song into the studio where engineer and musician extraordinaire Mitch Clyman of Muso Productions Ltd. enthusiastically laid down the track.

Sister and fellow artist Miriam Ani flew in from the states to keep Hayim company and, with friend and Shoot East filmmaker Micah Smith, it seemed only right to take another song to the next level: music video.

The siblings developed the story of the music video: following a single male character confronting similar patterns and challenges in past and present, while a young musician also follows “the subtle notes that lead [him] on.”

Hayim and Micah had collaborated on many past projects, and wanted to challenge their artistry by filming the music video in a sweeping single take, speeding up and slowing down at particular moments to heighten the emotional tension.

Below is Micah’s speed test fight here! If only Micah and Miriam Smith could have been the actors in the final video!

The team designed a circular set of six stages: three locations in the past and present of the male lead character separated by three performance spaces for the singer. The camera would rotate from the set’s epicenter, following the characters through time and space, reversing directions as the song reached its crisis point.

See Hayim’s first drawing of the set:

The only question now was where to shoot. The project’s scope had outgrown the Smith living room, the set of the last music video collaboration. With timing that smacked of divine intervention, Micah received an email from an emerging studio, Pie Productions of Kiryat Sefer, Israel, garnering for future projects. Perfect.

To put the rest of the team together:  NYU trained designer Eli Kaplan-Wildmann came on board and seamlessly designed and dressed the complicated set which had been built and lit earlier in the week by the Pie Production team. Shoot East line producer, Renana Levine, abundantly gave of her time and competently resolved all the organizational details for the shoot from meals to transportation to budgeting concerns.

Early in the week of the shoot, Hayim and Miriam trekked to Kiryat Sefer to fine-tune the actions of the characters in the studio space.

On Wednesday, the creative team and essential crew completed readying the set and practiced the complicated timing for the journey the camera and actors would make around the set. Hayim, along with actor Ilan Jaffe who played the male lead, rehearsed their mad dashes and costumes changes from scene to scene. With sometimes only a few seconds between locations, this proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of the shoot!

The day of the shoot a vibrant cast of volunteer actors and extras/ crew members rounded out the team of over 30 people that ultimately brought this music video to life. Scene directors Tehilla Zeff and Raphael Margules along with Miriam rehearsed the actors while Micah reviewed the camera’s moves with talented steadicam operator Josh Gold.

We took over 20 takes, and only Josh’s arm finally giving out after 7 hours of shooting reminded us we had to stop!

Here’s the final video:

And the Behind the Scenes:

Buy the song and eZra’s EP on iTunes here:


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