5 Minutes with Videographer Doug Bedard on Digging Roots’ new video AK-47
Doug Bedard, Ojibway (from Pequis First Nation), is a multi-disciplinary artist. For the past twenty years he has achieved critical acclaim as a hip hop artist, under the stage name Plex. In 2010, Doug, a self-taught videographer, joined Redcloud Studios Inc., and has since worked as photographer, videographer, director, editor and graphic designer for video projects across all genres and platforms. Above all else, Doug is a storyteller who is dedicated to strengthening Indigenous narrative from all perspectives. Mojo Junction spoke with Doug about his latest project, Digging Roots’ video ‘AK-47′.
1) When crafting a film clip for an artist, where does the inspiration to create a storyboard first arise?
Most of the music videos I’ve made were kind of done on a whim. We usually blurt out ideas and things that we think might be cool, but the only music video that I have directed, that included storyboarding, was ‘I’ve Got It Bad’ by Digging Roots. The whole intention was just to have fun with it, but we had a specific goal, and much to my surprise, that goal was reflected in that specific video.
2) You just made the fantastic new Digging Roots AK47 Clip, could you explain a little about the process?
I received a call from Digging Roots about making a video for a song that I hadn’t heard yet. On the scheduled day of shooting, Raven called me to tell me the hard drive with all of the audio files had stopped working. Complete hard drive failure. Every artist’s nightmare. And no back-up whatsoever. About three weeks later, I received another call from Raven, saying they had re-recorded the song and that they were leaving for 8 weeks to Australia the following day. He asked if there was any way we could shoot the video for AK-47 before they left. I don’t think any of them had slept. I spent three-and-a-half hours setting up and lighting the green screen, another five hours shooting and about a hundred plus hours editing.
3) AK 47 is a fabulous example of what is possible with green-screen. Why did you choose this methodology for the clip?
From the start, Raven and Shoshona asked me if I was capable of shooting a video like Wild Belle’s ‘It’s Too Late’. I said yes, without even considering the amount of work it would take or even having any experience shooting a video like that. Everything was all theory as far as I was concerned. However, I’m stubborn and I was determined to make it work. The closer I was to making it look like ‘It’s Too Late’, the more I wanted to make it our own and add an Indigenous touch to it. The only real request I had from Raven and Sho was to make a rifle with flowers coming out of the barrel. Those was the first two graphics I created that didn’t include the band in it. To be honest, I was in waaaay over my head from the start. I didn’t even think of the amount of work that this video would require, but once it was done, it felt SOOOO GOOD. While I’ve made some videos that I wouldn’t exactly brag about, AK-47 couldn’t be further from that. It’s definitely my favorite of the videos I’ve made and favourite song from Digging Roots. Such an important piece and message.
4) What inspired you to become a videographer/film-maker?
I became interested in filming after being denied funding on some of my own music videos. I’ve been a hip hop artist for over twenty years, and I started to feel discouraged by the process of having a music video made. I was able to connect with experienced directors, but could never secure funding to produce a video. I purchased a Canon T2i and shot some amazing footage of a family trip to Jamaica. That snowballed into me getting hired to shoot corporate videos for some non-profit organizations, as well as other shady companies I don’t feel comfortable mentioning. Let’s just say, as a socially-conscious artist, there was conflict of interest. But as my friend Elaina Martin always says, ‘GOTTA PAY THE BILLS, FOLKS!’
5) What’s next from your lens?
I’m hoping to shoot a few more videos for Digging Roots. As stressed out as I can get in the editing process, it’s been so rewarding to have a finished product with them. I think we complement each others’ styles. I’m planning to work on new videos with Edmonton hip hop artist Rellik, and country singer, Nathan Cunningham. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get a chance to work with A Tribe Called Red or Buffy St Marie. I guess anything is possible.
Music Video Filmography
Rellik -Soldier (2010)
Plex – Better Days (2010)
Rellik – Thank You (2012)
Rellik – Idle No More feat. Nathan Cunningham (2012)
Plex – I Can’t Breathe (2012)
Won-18 – Dope Man (2013)
Digging Roots – I’ve Got It Bad (2015)
Rellik -My Voice (2016)
Plex – Lucky Stars (2016)
Digging Roots – AK-47 (2016)