WATERLOO — Forrest Moore remembers sitting in one of his digital media classes at Hawkeye Community College with Maddie Poppe when she suggested the idea of doing the song “Rainbow Connection” for their music video assignment.
Of course, neither Moore nor Poppe at the time knew that video would lead her down the path of performing that song at an audition for “American Idol,” which Poppe would later go on to win in 2018.
“We went and filmed her ‘Rainbow Connection’ video, and then she went off to ‘American Idol’ and became famous and everything,” Moore said.
But Poppe, a Clarksville native, never forgot her HCC roots. She called Moore and another digital media classmate, Ty Bellfy, in May with a question: Would they help her shoot a music video again?
“So we said, ‘Of course,’” Moore recalled.
The pair — both graduates of Hawkeye’s digital mass media program now in the college’s professional photography program — went to work scouting locations like Oster Regent Theatre and Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, both in Cedar Falls, before settling on the Grout Museum District’s Snowden House in Waterloo.
“In the end, we felt like it was a better location overall,” said Bellfy. “All the window light helped us get a better shot.”
Poppe also gushed about the venue’s “vintage” feel in a previous Courier article in May.
“When I went upstairs, I was like, ‘Wow — this is way better than I even expected,’” she said in the article.
Bellfy and Moore, who directed the shoot, also recruited Poppe’s father, Trent, as audio engineer, plus camera operators Ryan Dueker and Kaleb Neher, production assistants Gene Jaramillo, Lauren Weber, David McCready, Jenn McCready and Dan Nierling, and behind-the-scenes videographer Kayla Vanderwerf.
The crew used four cameras and did around eight takes during the six-hour shoot, an acoustic video of Poppe accompanying herself on piano to her song, “Not Losing You,” from her first full-length album, “Whirlwind.” Bellfy and Moore then spent a month editing the video.
The experience was more work than the pair had spent on “Rainbow Connection,” Moore added.
“It was a lot more than we had anticipated,” Moore said. “The editing process was grueling.”
But it was worth it: The video was posted to Poppe’s YouTube channel on Oct. 3 and has racked up nearly 60,000 views.
“We had a great response,” Moore said. “It was a lot of Iowans coming together to support her video. We’re kind of excited about that.”