Behind the Scenes of My First Music Video – Purity of Heart by Pearson

Posted by ryanjackson on Feb 7, 2011 in photos, portrait, Ryan's Life, video |

A heart-broken Robot tries to escape the clutches of his moonshine-making Hillbilly imprisoner.

“Slow, subtle and direct – a mesmerizing Canadian sound”, “stark, calming, and mildly trance inducing lullaby-makers”, “Pearson has carved out a niche as a slow-core band — playing intimate, slow and sparse folk music.”

Director & Editor: James Scott –
Director of Photography: Ryan Jackson –
AE Artist: Youlie Harikiopoulou
Colourist: Darren Mostyn –

This was my first music video and the most fun I have ever had shooting. I actually shot this back in August 2009 and it took over a year to get it edited, coloured and EFx’d.
I was the Director of Photography so I took James’ awesome script and made storyboards and then shot everything. It was really fun to work with a director as I could focus on getting the shots and he could focus on directing and organizing everything. We made a good team.

The entire thing was shot in a day and a half! I drove in to Manitou Beach on Saturday morning. We started filming at noon and did all the scenes with the hillbilly as he could only be there on Saturday. Then we got everything else on Sunday and shot right until sundown. It was a miracle we had the same weather two days in a row and got everything done.

I shot everything with the Canon 5D Mark-II. It was actually my first time using one. My friend Kenny lent me his for the weekend. I read the manual and researched as much as I could before the shoot.
I knew that if I wanted the video to have a “film look” that I would need to:
1. Shoot at 24fps
2. Keep the shutter speed at 1/50th (2x the frame rate. On film cameras you shoot at 1/48th)
3. Shoot wide-open to get a narrow depth of field.
4. Use Neutral Density filters so that I could do #2. and #3. in bright sunlight.

I used my heavy Libec LS-38 tripod and head as much as possible and used a shoulder-mounted stabilizer whenever I needed to move.

For lenses I used a 50mm f1.4, 24mm f1.4, 16mm f2.8, 16-35mm f2.8, 24-105mm f4 IS, 70-200mm f2.8 IS and a 300mm f2.8 IS.
I bought two Cokin Neutral Density filters for a combined light reduction of 8-stops. This let me shoot 1/50, f1.8, ISO100 in bright sunlight.

Here are some fun behind the scenes photos. Enjoy!

The sun setting behind me as a drive from Edmonton to Saskatoon, SK on the Friday night before the weekend shoot.

5:40 a.m. on my drive from Saskatoon to Manitou Beach on Saturday, the first day of the shoot.

You know you are in Saskatchewan when...


James the director had the final script for me Saturday morning. I quickly drew up story boards and made shot lists. We were going to start shooting at noon.

Early morning. Finishing the robot costumes. The paint was still drying!

Will is putting the finishing touches on his costume.



Duct taping antlers on the front of the Hillbilly's truck.

We rented a pontoon boat for the first water scene. The boat was perfect for shooting because it didn't wobble on the water.

I used a Hoodman LCD Loupe and rubber bands so that I could see my LCD screen in the sunlight and focus easier.

I used two Cokin ND filters together to get a total of 8 stops of light reduction. This allowed me to keep my shutter at 1/50th with a wide open f2.8 aperture. One of the secrets to the "film look".

Will had to get into the dingy and then get dressed after.

Our hillbilly was awesome. We only had him for the first day though so we had to be sure to get every shot in.

Will could hardly see while he drove the dingy. Of course our hillbilly had a fan boat!

Looks much cooler with digital explosions.

A family member was our chef for the weekend and prepared lots of yummy vegitarian dishes.

Here is Vera Debevc, the owner of the old abandoned shrimp factory that we used for the hillbilly hideout and robot prison.

Vera Debevc and our hero.

After lunch we filmed the scene where the hillbilly kidnaps the robot in a quarry.

It took forever to get dressed and undressed.

Robot Love

More Robot Love

Oh No! The hillbilly!

You're gonna squeal like a pig

Oh No!

The light was perfect that night.

God I love lens flare!

Perfect drunk

Me wearing hipwaiters.

This is the light we had in the old shrimp factory. A single hole in roof. The Canon 5D Mark-II held up amazing in low light.


Oh no you don't!

A shot we never used in the film of the robot getting away.

Vera with the robot again outside of the old shrimp factory. She was so cute!

Final shot of the first day of shooting. We were now done all the shots with the hillbilly.

Day two. We need some more romantic shots of robot and ladybot together. There is James the director on the left.

This is my desktop background. I love this picture. So weird!

Robot sex scene!

Here you see how I filmed the robot sex scene. I mounted a 5D Mark-II with a 16mm fisheye lens above the bed on a monopod.

We used a monitor to frame everything.

Getting some shots of the band. We were going to have the band pop in and out of the video but it didn't make the cut.

Beautiful day.

Getting dressed again for the final shots.

Filming the robot reunited with his long lost love.

We were soooo lucky to have the exact same sunset both nights. The weather was perfect!

Even more robot love.

Sun is setting fast. Running out of time.

Rushing to the junk yard for the final scene.

Only a few minutes left before the sun is down. Need to get those final shots.

The tragic surprise ending.

The final shot.

Group photo of almost everyone involved in making the film.

Heading back to the cabins after a very long perfect day!


Francis Vachon
Jan 4, 2011 at 8:01 am

I’m very impressed, Ryan. Congratulation, this look wonderfully good!

Jan 7, 2023 at 9:18 pm

I am so pleased that this video presentation can be shared on the internet.
It does ‘tell a story’. The video is very well done. It is particularly appealing to me
that it was filmed right here at Manitou Beach Saskatchewan. The historic buildings that
were part of the video no longer exist but remain part of history.
In particular: The Brine Shrimp processing plant at Manitou Beach (the Blue hotel).
Ike’s shed and junkyard on the North side of the lake deserve an honorable mention!




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