Drive: Stills from The Music Video

As many of you know, my friend, Robert Payne recorded an album called “Sunlight.”  I shot the cover photos and the promo photos for the album as well as some other photos for his Kickstarter campaign.  After the album was released, Robert asked me to shoot his music video for the single, “Drive”.  To say I was hesitant would be an understatement but how could I say no?!  Armed with only the bare necessities of video equipment and an old El Camino, Robert and I set out to make a music video.

If you haven’t downloaded your copy of Drive, you can get it on iTunes here.  Drive is Robert’s take on the story of the Prodigal Son from the Son’s perspective. (Luke 15:11).

Our first stop was Apache Junction for the desert / day sequences.  We found the perfect location on a dirt road just off of Apache Trail and north of the Superstition Mountains.  This place is a text-book, i’m lost in the Arizona desert location.

drive_1 drive_2 drive_3 Robert Payne - Drive Music Video Stills

We had a great time shooting the outside shots and we were thankful we didn’t decide to shoot out here in July.  As you can see in the shots below, used an older vehicle to match the engine sound heard on the recording at the very beginning of Drive.


I’m a big fan of super close up shots.  As Robert was tracking to Drive playing on his iPhone, I wanted to get a really tight shot.drive_8

Jesus Saves… my favorite guitar pick.  As Robert is stuck in the desert contemplating his direction, it seems fitting that he would be twirling the pick he found in his pocket from the show the night before.


I think this is one of my favorite sequences of the entire video.  I’m walking backwards with my D600 on a Glidecam (that wasn’t balanced very well) as Robert tracks to Drive on his iphone and walks forward.  Degree of difficulty? About 8.2. drive_11

Night shooting was more difficult than I had imagined. In fact, we had to do it twice.  Even though the Nikon D600 handles low-light very well…I was still very unhappy with the “noise” factor on the first night shoot.  The second attempt was much better.  I brought along a friends “VIDLED” bank and it gave me just enough light to fix the noise problem yet still keep these sequences moody.  I also found an amazing plugin for Adobe Premiere called DeNoiser 2 from Red Giant Software.  This plugin is amazing.  It applies a complex noise reduction algorithm to each frame.  At 24 frames per second, it definitely adds a lot more time to the rendering process but the outcome is absolutely worth the wait.

drive_12 drive_13

The shot below was filmed on the Mill Avenue bridge. I love the ambient light from the string lights and the passing cars.  The VIDLED bank was on a light stand and the light stand was strapped to my back so that the light shined down from just above my head.  More of this scene includes me walking backwards…again.drive_18

You may recognize the sunglasses from the day sequences but Robert also wore them in the first photo shoot I did with him as he was getting this project kicked off.


Robert had a brilliant idea for a scene where he rolls up on a Bible lying in the middle of the street.  When he picks it up, it opens right to the book of Luke, Chapter 15.

drive_15 drive_16 drive_17

I am so grateful that Robert asked me to shoot this music video with him.   It’s been a lot of fun but its also really challenged me in the space of cinematography.  Look for the full video to be released on or around the first week of April.

This project was shot and edited using:

A single Nikon D600 DSLR @ 1080p  (ISO’s as high as 6400)

A VIDLED Light Bank

A Glidecam 1000

A Gitzo tripod with a Manfrotto Fluid Head

A MacBook Pro

Adobe Premiere CS6

Red Giant Software’s DeNoiser 2

Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Looks 2


2 comments on “Drive: Stills from The Music Video

  1. Pingback: Drive Music Video behind the scenes Tony | The Official Site of Robert Payne Music

  2. Monna
    March 9, 2013

    Tony – I love these shots! I realize you have a FABULOUS subject but I can’t wait to see the finished product.

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