In celebration of Singapore’s 55th birthday, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra engaged director Eric Wong to create a special video featuring orchestra and special guest Benjamin Kheng.
There may not be a big parade or live performances at the Padang this National Day, but it doesn’t stop Singaporeans from finding creative ways to celebrate the nation’s 55th birthday.
Let’s show the world what Singapore can be. Count on me, Singapore! Happy 55th birthday! #TogetherStrongerSG Featuring Benjamin Kheng with the SSO conducted by Darrell Ang. Directed by Eric Wong.This video will also be part of our National Day Concert 2020 (Online).
Posted by Singapore Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, August 4, 2020
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra did so with a video of the SSO performing “Count On Me Singapore” with local artist Benjamin Kheng on vocals. However, shooting a music video in this period requires proper planning and execution.
City Harvest member Eric Wong was the director behind the video. The owner of United Productions, a company that has produced music videos and short films, “SSO was looking for a director with a background in music, preferably someone’ who is able to read conductor scores and plan for this special National Day item,” said Eric. “I was recommended to them and after a quick discussion, they decided to entrust this project to me.” Eric is a founding member of CHC’s The Millennial Orchestra and has served as its conductor since the start.
Shooting such a video during a normal season is a mammoth task; shooting it during COVID, with all the necessary restrictions, brought this to another level. SSO contacted Eric in June, planning commenced, and shooting was done in July.
“The hardest part was trying to shoot a music video during the COVID period, period,” laughed Eric. “The planning was all done via Zoom. The whole orchestra was split up into different sections with restrictions in number, strictly observing social distance. The film crew also had restrictions in terms of the number of people. So it was not easy at all. But the crew and musicians were absolutely stellar!”
The shoot took place over three separate days, involving around 60 persons, divided into group over the different days. The finished product is a beautiful tribute to Singapore that shows the SSO in a different light.
“I was happiest with the performance of all the musicians, and Benjamin and [conductor] Darrell Ang,” shared Eric. “I really wanted to produce an uplifting video for Singapore during this challenging season.”
For the director, one of the happy perks of working on this project was being able to use special equipment. “I was extremely happy with the camera and lens we used,” he enthused. “The camera was the Sony Venice which is the same camera used to shoot Top Gun 2! And the lens were the top range Zeiss glass called the Supreme Prime Radiance—the lens flares were absolutely delicious!”
The video debuted on social media on 4 August at 9pm and has garnered 55,000 views on Facebook. To Eric, being a part of this effort is especially significant because “the SSO has always played an important role in my growing up years as a music student. As a Music Elective Program student in junior college, symphonies and conductor scores were my constant companion. I would frequent SSO concerts with these conductor scores in my hand and listen to the live performance live while reading the score in my hands!
“So be able to direct their first MV-style video is a dream come true for me,” he adds. “I’m very humbled by the trust the SSO team has placed in me.”