Jon Beattie, Steadicam Operator for Pharrell's, “24 Hours of Happy”

Creating the World's First 24-Hour Music Video

Published on in Miscellaneous

What does it take to create the world’s first 24-hour music video? A kick-ass crew of creatives and no time for second takes, that’s what. Pharrell’s “24 Hours of Happy” music video has been shared, watched and danced to all across the web, and the fact that it was shot in just 10 days deserves a bit of a happy dance all on its own. Catch up with Jon Beattie, Steadicam Operator of the music video and learn his tips, tricks and advice on being part of such an unforgettable project. 

* Where did the idea of a 24-Hour music video come from, and what was it like working with Pharrell?

The directing duo 'we are from la' are the ones who came up with the idea of a 24hr music video. Pharrell was the most natural pro former and improviser I've had the privilege of working with. He can take any random thing and make it a charming, playful & entertaining act. 

* What camera did you use to shoot the video and why was it chosen for this project?
We shot the video on a panavized Alexa Plus camera with a Panavision C Series anamorphic lens. The image quality & workflow made it the best choice. DP, Alexis Zabe, went with the anamorphic for its scope of vision. You get a really pleasing esthetic in anamorphic.  

* What was your favorite memory from working on this project, and how did you land the gig? 
The sequence in union station with Pharrell was an unbelievable moment for all if us on the show. Starting with an empty tunnel with pretty much just Pharrell then finding ourselves surrounded by hundreds of people getting off trains and filling the tunnel.  The people gave us space to work. They interacted with Pharrell. It was a completely unplanned organic experience. Lastly, I landed the gig from having worked with a producer before & because of other work of mine they'd seen. 


* What piece of advice were you given when you first started your career, which you still follow to this day?
Never give up. Never stop learning. 

* Can you tell us about the process of creating this 24-Hour music video and why you feel it is such a hit?
It was a small guerrilla band of talented, passionate people coming together collaborating in the insane. I believe it's a simple expression of pure joy that resonates with people. It just oozes positivity and fun. It's a simple piece that shows the commonality of all of these people on their day. That joy is why I think it may be a hit. 

* What was one of the challenges in shooting a 24-hour music video within just 10 days?
The amount of content we had to capture with the scale of locations used in the allotted time was the biggest challenge. Fighting to not make it about data collection, but trying to make every setup the best I could. Fighting to find the best frame I could to capture the performer & the world around them. To show the joyous expression of the song & the people giving us everything they had for their 4 minutes with us.

* What is one of your go-to pieces of equipment, and why?

I have a number of items that are key, but in the end I need a comfortable pair of shoes.
Oh & pickle juice. Though I guess that's not really equipment but essential none-the-less. 

* What client would you love to one day help create/shoot for, and why?
 I'd love to shoot at an Olympics. My opportunity to go as an athlete never was. So filming is the only way to get a crack at the gold. I've always loved watching it. '92 Barcelona was the first games I really watched & have loved ever since. 

* Anything else you would like to add?
Truly humbled and thankful for the opportunity to have been asked to operate on this show.  

Image credits: Google, Cinema5D 

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