Videos for your ears

About This Project

“TV Show Producer” has to be one of the coolest job titles that Colin has earned. Live from the Upstairs Basement is the third TV series he has made for the Bell TV1 network. The Live from the Upstairs Basement sessions at Kops Records showcase the past, present and future of music in Oshawa. In each episode host Will McGuirk chats with the artist about being fans of vinyl and key cool corners in the city.


We filmed the series over about 8 months due to Covid so there are three episodes before and three episodes during. We were a crew of 5 this time around: Will McGuirk was the host, Dave Dunlap was our sound guy, Ryan Beaton, Carla Sinclair and Colin Burwell were all camera ops. Colin was the main shooter and director for each episode and it was the first time he worked with a professional sound guy. It is such a load off a videographer’s chest when they don’t have to worry about sound. And since this is a TV show about Oshawa music, the sound needs to be perfect. Dave was ready for everything the bands could throw at him and delivered a sweet and consistent audio package.

We filmed the show with 3x GH5 cameras and an array of lenses. Ryan was usually on the gimbal, Carla was usually on the wide zoom (24-105mm f/4.0) and Colin was usually tight (70-200mm f/2.8). These cameras continue to blow our minds considering the cost for them. These bodies will stay with Empty Cup for years.

The shoot days were fairly relaxed. We shot at two external locations around Oshawa first (the Dungeon, Mustache Club, Rossland Square, Atria, residential areas, etc) and then finished filming at Kops Records in downtown Oshawa. We often ordered pizza from Pizzamunno who is also in downtown Oshawa.

You can find each of the 6 episodes on the Bell TV1 network. They range from 16-19 minutes in length and feature 3 songs and a handful of interviews. Here is the list of bands we filmed and the synopsis of each episode.

Reign Ghost:
It’s been 50 years since they played together. Their albums are highly sought after. Members of Oshawa’s 60s era prog rock band Christmas and Reign Ghost return to their home town for one more show at Kops Records.

Cuff the Duke:
The factory and the farm meet in the punk-country of Cuff The Duke. Two of the original members revisit the plazas and playing fields as they prepare for their session at Kops Records in Oshawa.

Rooks aka Sonny Hendrixx:
The righteous rap of hip hop artist Rooks McCoy aka Sonny Hendrixx brings hope to a city struggling with change. He parlays adversity into verse for his show at Kops Records in Oshawa.

Lindsay Schoolcraft:
How did Oshawa’s queen of metal go from the Dungeon to the heights of a Juno nomination. Metal angel Lindsay Schoolcraft and her harp perform at Kops Records in Oshawa as she goes back to where it began.

Native Other:
Taking the smooth with the rough, Native Other, with special guest Charlie Spencer of Dizzy, bring their unique blend of surf and soul to Kops Records in Oshawa.

Whitby-based cuddle-core outfit Wooly muse on after school hook-ups and songs from the suburbs. They gather up all the cuddles for their performance at Kops Records in Oshawa.


Musicians and videographers go hand in hand. They have everything we need – beautiful sound and natural visuals to film. So we love it when musicians reach out to Empty Cup to help document their music. We work with musicians in a variety of ways. Live song recording in a beautiful space is something we’re really good at. Due to Covid, the RMG held their annual photography fundraiser online and wanted to include musical performances into the event. So the Robert McLaughlin Gallery asked Empty Cup to film Rory Taillon perform 2 sets of songs.

We have filmed bands dozens of times in the RMG but never to an empty room. This gave us the opportunity to bring our lights in closer and walk in spaces that were usually off limits during a live concert. There was a stationary GH5 set up with a 24mm f/1.4 lens as the static shot while Colin roamed with a second GH5 on a Rage Evo gimbal with a 50mm f/1.4 lens to provide most of the heavy lifting. The constantly moving gimbal camera gives a great POV perspective of someone walking around Rory and looking at his hands while he plays. We hope to make more of these.

Without anyone in the gallery, we were given permission to shut some lights off and bring in our DJ uplights to light the back part of the room. This provided an ideal set up for filming Rory and we’re very happy with how his live performances came out.

Rory Taillon uses his looper and power-voice at the RMG

We also can do studio stuff too. Colin also filmed Sacha at the RMG and she reached out again for some video content to her recorded versions of two songs that are blowing up the charts. Sacha performs her hit song “Standards” to a click track here for a quick two camera music video. We ran the song twice and Colin filmed her with four angles to cut together into a music video. There are two LED lights at work and two DJ uplights lighting up the sound proofing panels on the back. Space was fairly tight in there so shooting options were limited. However with a bit of dusting and good lighting we made the best of the studio space.

Sacha performing her hit song “Standards” in studio
@sachavisagie (Instagram)

The most important music video Colin has made was for Jesse Parent when he proposed to his wife at the end of the shoot. Jesse and Colin went to college together and his song “By my side” was a fitting song to propose to. All of the actors were friends of ours and everyone was in on it (except for Carla of course). And when the very last chord was strummed and the guitar was put away, Carla and Colin crossed paths in the middle of the frame where Colin stumbled over some words and took and knee and asked Carla to marry him.

This was the first music video that Colin scripted and feels it still holds up pretty well. This was shot back in 2010 with a Canon 5D mark ii and a handful of prime lenses. The steadicam work is still pretty smooth so that shows that Colin’s hands weren’t shaking leading up to the proposal with the ring in his pocket.

Jesse Parent’s music video “By My Side” (Colin proposes to Carla at the end)

Here is an example of a live music video. The band “Sarin” performed a song three times in a field with a professional audio tech on site doing the sound recording while Colin filmed the band with three cameras. 3 takes x 3 camera angles each time makes for a simulated 9 camera shoot. That’s a lot of angles for a single camera operator! Sarin is a super heavy metal band with awesome vocals and a powerful drummer and they were loooouuuuuuuud! Here’s their final music live performance music video.
Sarin on Facebeook

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