Beyond the rare location made available, what makes the video even more unique is that LDS Church officials provided videotape footage from its “The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos” productions, which were filmed at the same location.
“Our concept was to duplicate as much as we possibly could the locations that were used in the church’s videos while videotaping Jon and Steve performing ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,’” Anderson said, referring to pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson.
“From a videographer standpoint, I could just film any which way possible and get incredible shots. It’s so authentic-looking. For each of us, it was incredible, spiritual, powerful — each moment of the whole day. We had miracles happen throughout the entire day.”
Among those was the weather.
“The biggest thing that we worried about was we knew it would take a long time to do it, and we only had a day to do this. And direct sunlight is the worst to film in, right in the middle of the day.
“We thought we would only be able to shoot in the morning and in the evening,” Anderson continued. “Of course, we always pray before every shoot, during the shoot and after the shoot. We ended up with the perfect cloud cover and the sunlight was exactly what we needed. It was perfect all day long. We had the perfect lighting.”
The original plan was to use the group’s own lighting equipment to film evening scenes, a portion of the filming necessary to duplicate the church’s videotaped recreation of the Savior’s birth.
“But church representatives ended up sending out their lighting guys, the same technicians who lit the Bible videos on the movie set,” he said. “Our lighting was perfect, both for our daytime scenes and the shoot into the evening.”
The Piano Guys’ arrangement of the hauntingly beautiful “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” one of the oldest Christian hymns, was written by Steven Sharp Nelson and a friend of the group, Marshall McDonald.
“The arrangement just made me cry the first time I heard it,” Anderson said. “I could imagine the Savior in Jerusalem. I could imagine these shots in my head while listening to the music. And I just bawled. I’ve never cried at instrumental music before.”
The Piano Guys also recently released a video based on music from "The Lord of the Rings." The introduction on the group's website states: "Since the beginning of The Piano Guys, 'Lord of the Rings' has been our most requested work." The first prequel to the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," premieres Dec. 14.
Anderson said he felt some of the same "miracles" when shooting that production, as well.
The Piano Guys' PBS special, filmed earlier this year, will debut locally on KUED on Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. and nationally in 2013.
To explain the group’s experience as The Piano Guys have become more and more successful with each new CD release and video production, Anderson said, “It has been really fun for us, but we’re still balancing our work and our family. And it’s all a big blur. Only rarely are we able to sit back and review what we’ve done, and then we realize and say, ‘Hey, we were just on Jay Leno. We were just on the church’s Jerusalem set.’ Only then do we realize how incredibly blessed we are.”
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