Commercial, Friends, Lighting, Locations, Personal, Tokyo
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“Pay Me” hits the airwaves!

Yes it’s official – “Pay Me”, the long awaited single from washed-up pop artist Irwin W. is out. Irwin W. – who is not me although he incidentally looks and sounds exactly like me, is actually the Scottish-Japanese former-frontman for the 80’s photography-based rock band High ISO. Photography-based music? Yes, it’s true, it does exist – I might have a dig around to see if I can’t find some old music clips or interviews from High ISO to post up here in a couple of months 😀

Anyway, here’s his debut single, entitled “Pay Me”, which “goes out to all my photographer homies who have had their copyright infringed!” according to him.  You can tell it’s not me, because I would never use the word ‘Homie’ in actual speech.

In all seriousness tho, this is the result of my summer project, which typically comes around due to the quieter season that Tokyo photogs experience through the Obon holiday season over here. You can check out the results of last year’s project here. This year I decided to really up the ante and get myself into the world of DSLR video, which was definitely a curveball for me.  The amount of gear, planning and preparation that goes into making a short clip is sheer magnitudes larger than planning a photo, and all in all it ended up being a fantastic experience that’s left me wanting to do more 😀

In case you’re wondering yes, that is my voice and yes, I did write the lyrics (but let me keep pretending Irwin W. isn’t actually me).  It went through several revisions but eventually I managed to get it recorded professionally in a Tokyo studio, thanks largely to Japanese house artist Masmin.

After the recording however came a couple of weeks of meticulously planning what shots we’d need to cut together into a decent looking music video, which was perhaps the hardest part for me considering up till now I’ve been a stills photographer and have never storyboarded a moving image.  So the experience of roughly visualizing the finished product was a really great experience.  In the end the shot list was 3 pages, which ended up being revised, improvised on, cut and amended to kingdom-come on the two days that we shot.  I’ll post BTS videos / photos of the shoot if you guys are interested in seeing them!

As far as the gear went we used a Canon 5D MkII on a Steadicam Pilot for all the shots.  Yuto Watanabe did the photography for the entire video and is responsible for the great camerawork and also chopping together the entire thing. The Steadicam + 5D MkII is a very potent combination that allows you to do an amazing range of shots, depending on the skills of the operator. I’m definitely a fan of their gear and plan to invest in a rig just as soon as I save up the requisite 500,000yen (~$5500) to own one 😀 Until then I’ll keep renting at Ginichi.

For lights we rented two 4 foot 4-bulb Kinoflos, which were awesome for indoors, and amazingly easy to use.  Plus, the light looks super nice (you can see the catchlights in my sunglasses). Lighting for video is definitely something I’m going to want to look into more, although I’m sure that it’ll just make me have more gear envy, which is never good.

Anyway, enough waffling from me, enjoy the latest musical offering from the fictional Irwin W. and let me know in the comments if you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes videos. Definitely keep an eye out for some music clips of HighISO’s old work, I’m sure I should be able to dig it out from somewhere, although it might take a couple of months 😉

Hope you enjoy it!

PS: Thank you Justin Bieber!


Creative Lead/Director/Lyrics: (Irwin Wong)

Photography/Editing: (Yuto Watanabe)

1st Assistant:
Koh Terai

Credits (in no particular order):
Lea Okudara, Ayako Jinnai, Maho Kudo, Bellamy Hunt

Extra Special Thanks to:
Takumi Takahashi and Takuya Imura, the coolest dudes in Tokyo. Also, Masmin for hooking me up with the recording studio!


  1. Cheuk says

    First impression without actually look at the video (I’m at work) is FACEPALM. Looking forward to seeing the youtube though. Who say’s you don’t use the word “homie” in actual speech? 🙂

  2. Jason says

    Irz that’s amazing stuff! Can really see the effort in the work it really shows. Love the attitude.. and the theme – who needs to go legal if you have a 9mm?

  3. Oh, that’s just too funny! Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed that and would love to see the BTS.

    • Thanks Jason! Share it around to any other photographer friends who you think might like it!
      I’ll put the BTS up soon 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Pay Me: A Photographer’s Music Video About Copyright Infringement

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  7. Found your tune through a friends FB and it gave me a big giggle, wonder if you sent the link to some of the bas@#rds who stole your images they’d be more likely to pay up? Brilliant video anyway.

    Good luck.

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  13. Irwin – This made us laugh. We’re all about making the world safe for creativity. We’ve been following some of the articles out there about your video and you pay want to take a look at some of the comments on you video over at PetaPixel

    There’s a debate about whether the parody falls within or outside of scope of fair use. We like it, but you may want to be prepared in case the Bieb’s people decide to contact you (which ironically would get you even more publicity).

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  15. Pingback: Fotógrafo faz paródia contra violação de direitos autorais

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