October 2020

An Eye for Music: Known for their imaginatively dazzling commercial videos, Harden Creative cuts its teeth on music videos, and the beat goes on.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

Eddie Tucker & Trevor Harden

It’s around 9 a.m. on a Monday, and musician Jevon Daly is submerged up to his shoulders in the briny waters of the May River. He’s attempting to go completely under the waves, but the floppy hood of his shark costume refuses to cooperate, jeopardizing the entire video shoot for his song, “Sharks are our Homies.”

From the high ground of dried oyster shells, dead spartina grass and various flotsam and jetsam, Trevor Harden and Eddie Tucker are shielding the monitor on their camera, discussing plan B.

It’s just another day in paradise for Harden and Tucker, the two-man team behind Harden Creative. The pair operate as a seamless whole, each of their skills sets perfectly complementing one another. Harden is the planner, the guy who wears the producer and director hats, the one who lines up locations and actors and scripts and wrangles the countless little details that emerge on any shoot—like, for example, any unwieldly shark costumes.

Tucker is the Director of Photography and a cinematographer. It’s his keen eye that has lent the team’s videos their distinctive visual splendor, quickly launching them to the top of the heap among local video creatives.

“It’s really collaborative,” Tucker said.

The music
Before there was Harden Creative, there was Trevor Harden, the musician. Perhaps best known as one half of Harden & Crenshaw, Harden also honed his skills as a solo singer songwriter at gigs and in his home studio for years, while pursuing a career as a graphic artist. When full-time employment with Marine Corps Community Services came to a close, he launched Harden Creative strictly as a graphics firm.

“Somewhere in there, people started asking me if I do video work. I’d always been interested in video, and it all started with music videos,” he said. Working with what Harden calls, “really crappy equipment,” he shot a variety of music videos from Spiritual Gangsters’ “Ride for the Island” to J x Rose’s “Dumb.”

It began as something to augment his burgeoning graphic design business while staying tuned to his musical roots, but the music videos wound up being a springboard to his next calling. “I just fell back in love with shooting video,” he said. “But I knew I was going to need to get better equipment.”

Around the same time that Harden Creative was pivoting to video, Tucker noticed some of Harden’s work on social media. He had recently launched Tucker Photo and Film, which focused on weddings, when he sent out feelers. Whereas the two might have viewed one another as competition, the potential for collaboration proved even greater.

“I just reached out saying, ‘Let’s shoot something together,’” Tucker said. “And he responded, ‘We’re shooting a Pretty Darn concert here; do you want to come out?’… We went from working project-to-project to working on everything together.”

**Putting the high-quality cinema camera to good use on a shoot for Culture HHI. Pictured left to right: Tucker,
Harden, La Isla’s Eric Esquivel and Jennifer McEwen, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Town of Hilton Head**

The vision
While the music videos give the pair a chance to stretch their creative muscles, it’s in their commercial work that they’ve been able to test themselves as videographers. “It felt like there was a little bit of a gap,” Harden said. “There are a lot of individual videographers, and most are doing weddings or real estate videos. We decided we were really going to focus on commercial. If a company around here wants a larger prod, they usually bring a company in from Charlotte or Atlanta. We’re trying to give them a local option.”

That feeling proved correct, as there was a gap and a thirst for high-quality local production for commercial videos. Clients ranging from Palmetto Dunes to Hilton Head Honda were soon hiring them to tell their story, relying on not only the crisp visuals and professional techniques that have become the company’s trademark, but also the deep well of creativity Harden and Tucker bring to the table.

There was the video for Montage Palmetto Bluff that essentially looked like a Hollywood action blockbuster, complete with a boat chase up the May River. The bottle-reveal videos for Burnt Church Distillery. The wildly irreverent KickFees commercial, which went viral. “That commercial racked up over a million views. It’s been wildly successful,” Harden said.

And behind that success is technology that far surpasses the “really crappy equipment” of the early days. “We’re shooting on a cinema camera,” Tucker said. “It was the right step, so we can now offer a level that no one around here can anymore.”

The journey
While the music videos are no longer the main focus of the company, they still shoot quite a few of them, from the aforementioned Jevon Daly video to international recording artist Chuchi Diamond’s “Quitarnos las Ganas.”

And music still informs everything they do, whether it’s for a car commercial or a reggaeton club song. Harden’s first edits are done to music, giving their videos a lyrical tempo that translates into a sublime sensory experience. “All of my past experiences have allowed me to do what I’m doing,” he said. “There’s not much difference between building a song in a music editor and editing video. I edit to music and make a lot of cuts that way, so it flows with the song.”

And music even fuels their shoots. With the playback of “Sharks are our Homies” rolling at the shoot, everyone gets into a groove despite the early Monday hour. Daly’s floppy hood finally braves a dip in the water, and as the cameras roll, the musical and visual worlds of Harden Creative come together once again to create something special. 

For more information, visit hardencreative.com or call (843) 415-3088

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