Instagram invited Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks of Brinson+Banks to cover Coachella, a massive desert-set music festival with a hippie, trippy vibe not unlike what you’d find at Burning Man, by using their iPhones to shoot video. Finding themselves with a rare free weekend between celebrity shoots, the couple happily scooped up the VIP passes and headed to the fest’s Indio, California, location. Here’s what it was like, in their words…
“We actually wandered the same grounds last year looking for great hair working for Garnier, so it was fun to head back a second year, and this time without all of our heavy camera gear.
We don’t normally shoot video on our iPhones so this was a fun experiment of finding great content (that wasn’t on stage) and shooting and editing it all on our iPhones (often sitting in the grass in some rare shade between stages). We both took a liking to it really quickly because the motion gave a better feel for the crowds pulsing together to music in a way a photo wouldn’t. At a festival of 100,000 festival-goers, it can be hard to shoot a photo or video that doesn’t feel sloppy or isn’t full of distracting elements, so sometimes we’d get low or pull a person out of a crowd to make them stand out more.
On opening day last Friday, we got to sneak in before the masses to an #EmptyCoachella and explore all the giant inspiring sculptures made for the festival on display on the grounds. We were also very happily surprised to discover lots of vegan food vendors, and we ate like kings and queens. (We even found vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and fried ‘chicken,’ which made our Southern hearts so happy.)
Instagram set up a meeting with us and singer So Gallant before his performance to get some portraits and video. We met him in a rose garden in a VIP area and had to think fast about how to not have bright white kiosks and tents in our imagery. He was really nice and fun to work with, even though we stuck him in some rose bushes, and then he rushed off to perform with surprise guest Seal.
We really enjoyed boomeranging from stage to stage and crowd to crowd looking for fun things to document, and we even shot some video from the 130-foot iconic Ferris wheel called Le Grande Wheel (despite Kendrick’s fear of heights). We each walked more than 20 miles in three days, and one of our videos got more than 321,000 views!
In addition to running around like mad, we laughed at Sufjan Steven’s elaborate balloon costume, David fan-girled at Guns N’ Roses (who he was forbidden to listen to as a teenage boy but did anyway), we danced to Snoop Dogg when he guest rapped with Ice Cube, we ate three coconut ice cream cookie sandwiches total, and we both oohed and ahhed at Sia‘s stellar elaborate production full of dancers and actors (including Kristen Wiig!).
We finished out the last night, on Sunday, by posting one last video and then heading to the EDM tent (which had hypnotizing lights hitting a disco ball) and danced awkwardly to the electronic music (it’s nearly impossible to dance any other way than awkwardly to those repetitive beats) with our Instagram friends until the music was shut off and the lights were turned on. And then we jumped back into the giant crowd leaving the grounds and slowly pushed our way through it back to our cars.