Hannah @hanny_lambs takes us behind the scenes with her DGC Dance MIC Drop Dance Crew as they filmed the MIC Drop MV 🙂
A million times yes
“UHHH, YESSS!!!” I shouted in Dickie’s face.
We had just finished a MIC Drop dance rehearsal for DGC Dance Show 14 and he had casually asked our crew if we would be interested in filming a MIC Drop MV.
Like me, those of you reading this have probably seen the incredible MVs that had been produced for previous DGC performance dances. But I never really thought I would get to be in one myself.
I can’t actually remember how the others replied because I was already imagining myself jumping off a table to do J-Hope’s foot scratch. I guess they also said yes, but played it a lot cooler than me.
I’m a, ahem, thirty-something year old professional who sits at a desk each working day. To have the chance to perform MIC Drop at the DGC Dance Show 14 was already awesome, and something people didn’t expect from me. But filming the MV? It was fun. It was tiring. And it was surreal.
So I thought I’d share my experience with you.
The MIC Drop Dance Crew
Let me start by introducing our crew:
Hannah (that’s me) – J Hope
Ash – RM
Calista – Suga
Emily – Jungkook
James – V
Kerry – Jin
Sam – Jimin
I ♥ these guys so much.
We worked hard during and in between rehearsals, but had a lot of fun along the way. We were constantly joking about our upcoming performance (“I still need to learn the actual words. At the moment I’m just mouthing “trumpet’s in the bag I’ve got a cat”– James) and taking the mickey out of each other if we weren’t doing the moves quite right.
I mean, some of the moves are a bit strange…
The mic, the outfits, and the (slightly) overambitious staging ideas
MIC Drop is one of BTS’s best known songs and has a pretty iconic MV, so it was no surprise that we started to dream big.
Ash was desperate to bust out of an ambulance like RM (“How about a Zipvan instead?” I suggested). And we were all prepared to become arsonists to film in a burnt out car yard (and then when we were arrested by the police we could film the interrogation room scene – a fool proof plan!). I still think that getting Dickie to don a long black wig and join us as Steve Aoki could have worked.
One thing we didn’t want to compromise on was our outfits. We had chosen the black / grey / camouflage Remix MV look -- the one that looks like an army surplus store threw up on BTS -- because it was distinctive and easily recognisable.
Unsurprisingly though, our budget didn’t stretch to buying their Japanese designer clobber. There is actually a YouTube video which goes through each MIC Drop MV look and values their collective wardrobe at approx. $70,000 -- $80,000!
Fortunately, it is often the case that last year’s BTS = this year’s high street. Camo gear could be found, and seen, everywhere. Emily literally sourced her trousers by shouting “Where did you get your paaaants?” at a girl on the street.
The detail didn’t end there. Kerry’s dedication to character reached new heights when she shared a photo of her bomber jacket, which she had hand painted to match Jin’s. This prompted us to enlist her help with our own shirts, and so the ‘MIC Drop Dance Crew / Craft Club’ was born.
I also attempted to cut and sew a pair of knee length military hiking socks into fingerless gloves. You get some funny looks when you go shopping for socks and try them out on your arms because “I’m just trying to be J-Hope!” isn’t really something you can say to a shop assistant.
And of course, no performance of MIC Drop could be complete without, well, the mic drop.
The microphone you see in the MV is actually just a £5 plastic karaoke mic with the cable cut off the end we ordered from Amazon. I have no idea how it managed to survive Cal chucking it on the floor so many times, but it deserves a 5* review just for that.
The big day arrives
We arrived at the studios in Harrow bright and early on a Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after our stage performance, hair braids meticulously preserved and bandanas still clammy with sweat.
Despite our tiredness, we were all pumped up to start filming – especially because we would be dancing to the super energetic Steve Aoki remix version. Whilst the technical crew were setting up the studio lighting Ash, Emily, James and Sam quickly learnt their new lyrics (in English, rather than Korean) to lip sync.
Walking into the studio, we genuinely had no idea what to expect. The room was a huge space, edged with black curtains with lots of wires overhead (which you can see when the camera pans upwards at 2:33 in the MV). It was kept completely dark except for a few overhead lights and a sidelight.
And at the far end of the room was a line of tables and 7 chairs, set up as a replica of the opening scene interrogation room. I think we realised at this point Keenan was going to let us go ‘full Aoki’ on the video.
We started by filming wide angle shots of the whole group. The remix version not only has different lyrics but also a different feel to it, so we had to dance the instrumental intro with a stronger energy than the original. I think the technical dance term is to ‘swag harder’…
One of the most fun group sections to film was the scene where BTS are sat in a line at the table, looking completely bored.
For a group that struggles to keep straight faces for longer than 2 seconds, this was challenging. We also had to get Dickie’s help in positioning us correctly to get us to slouch and sit with legs apart (we have 3 school teachers in our crew so this was really against their nature).
Trying not to destroy the camera
After we had finished the wide angle shots we were ready to move on to each dancer’s close ups. Cue a dash back into the dressing rooms to re-apply the make-up that had melted under the studio lights.
And of course, this meant the table jump! One small problem… the tables we were using had a pedestal (rather than 4 leg) base, meaning they didn’t take too well to someone placing their weight around any of the edges.
Remember the famous lake scene in in Dirty Dancing where they practice the lift? Apparently Patrick Swayze wasn’t stable enough to hold up Jennifer Grey by himself, so their choreographer is underwater holding his feet in place.
We adopted a similar strategy. Hidden from the view of the camera are three weight sacks placed on the base of the table to give it the sturdiness it needed for me to
precariously wobble and fall off effortlessly leap over it.
Ok I’ll be honest… my jump is a bit tentative as I had a fear of the table toppling over and being sent flying onto the concrete floor, or worse yet, onto Keenan’s expensive camera equipment. Or jumping too high and smashing my arms into the overhead light. I took comfort that we were next door to a hospital which could deal with any J-Hope – related injuries.
I hope you agree that Keenan did an amazing job in editing this sequence. Can you figure out how he did it? I’m going to leave this trickery for you to work out.
But I will tell you about a few other special effects he used.
In the first verse Ash and Kerry appear, as if by magic, when you hear the gun shot sounds. We actually filmed this section in three different takes to create a layered effect: once without them, once with Ash having just appeared, and then finally with Kerry too.
Then at 1:17 during Cal’s rap solo, Sam and Emily are seen epically leaping away to the sidelines in slow motion. Spoiler alert: they didn’t have to actually dance in slow motion as a certain someone suggested…
It was then Ash’s turn to film her close-ups in RM’s verse. Having failed to find a spare ambulance to jump out of (we did check the hospital car park), she suggested that she instead kick in towards the camera to try and create a dramatic entrance. To try and get as close as possible, Keenan positioned himself at leg’s-distance away and then Ash pretty much had to kick the camera.
Sam and James’s close-ups in particular came out amazingly, as they are both really expressive in their faces (or ‘angry’ as James put it). I especially love the moment where Sam tries to ‘catch the camera’ at 1:41.
Staying in character
Whilst we were waiting for the lighting to be changed I asked if someone could take a photo of me in costume, with my hat off, just like a photo I had seen of J-Hope behind-the-scenes of the MIC Drop MV.
The result looked pretty funny, which led to us all recreating other behind-the-scenes shots of BTS messing around. Not only have we now covered the MV, we’re ‘covered’ the bonus content too (and if you make it to the end of this blog post you’ll see it doesn’t end here!).
Red light / blue light
During a quick lunch break the guys moved the tables away and changed the lighting to a softer red glow.
We then re-danced most of the song with the new lighting, with Deen following Keenan around with what looked to me like a blue lightsabre.
“What’s that for?” I asked. “It’s to neutralise the red”, replied Ash, whose years of hair bleaching had apparently taught her a thing or two about professional lighting techniques.
The eerie red lighting looks particularly effective in the very opening scene, when the lights come up and we are first revealed. I could hear Keenan say “Woooaahhh” when he brought the camera up close to us so I knew at the time this was going to be a killer shot.
And after a bit more filming Keenan announced that he had what he needed. It had been a tiring day, but I think we were all quite sad when it was over. We would now have to patiently wait to see the results.
The public release
After a couple of Instagram teasers, the MV was released on Christmas Eve. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here:
What you think ’bout that? What you think ’bout that?
We hope we did justice to MIC Drop and that you enjoyed our MV!
There is only one way to end this: