For Christmas this last year, my wife Christina surprised me with an incredible gift: she had full-size movie posters for all 12 films designed, printed, and framed for me. Needless to say, they turned out incredible. They were designed by our friend Daniel Benitez, and he did a fantastic job of giving each one its own unique style and look.
This film has definitely been the most technically complex of the films that I’ve made for this project so far. It is also significantly different in terms of how I’m creating and telling the story visually. I’m using everything from motion graphics to composited green screen footage to live performance mixed with projected images and so on. Whereas the other films have all been shot over the course of a day, this one took two days of shooting a week apart to get all the footage I needed.
The first day was entirely shot against a green screen. I was somewhat nervous going into this shoot. I’ve worked with green screens in the past and I’ve never had great luck getting a really good key from them (for the not-so-tech-minded, a “key” is used to separate the subject from the background – in this case, green – and replace it with a different background). The critical element when shooting against a green screen is getting even light across the green. If the background is lighter in one place and darker in another, it gets really hard to pull a good key without loosing pieces of the subject as well. It took about an hour and a half or so to get the lights set up and positioned well; but when it was all done, I’m happy to say that I ended up with a pretty well-lit green screen. I was stoked.
We spent a couple hours shooting against the green and got a good batch of footage. I then spent the next week working with the footage in preparation for the second shoot. The second day of shooting consisted of one more green screen shot and then the musical performance section of the video. I set Sherman Thomas (the artist performing the song in the video) up in front a plain, white wall in my living room and aimed a projector at him. All of the motion graphic and compositing work I had been doing over the last week was run through the projector as he performed. We also had a pair of lights focused on him and run through a dimmer pack and control board so we could bring him in and out of the projected image by brightening and dimming the lights. Visually, I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. I think this is going to be a fun video.
I shot a few pictures over the course of the two days of filming and put them up on Flickr here.
I realize that we are well into June (by 4 days even) and there’s still no sign of Film #5 from May. My goal is to have it up by Sunday, but in the meantime let me fill you in on some of what’s been going on with the production.
Since I’m doing a music video this month, I decided to venture out of shooting a straight narrative and do some work with motion graphics and compositing, as well as (I hope) a fun approach to how we’ve incorporated it into the performance of the song itself. The song is performed by a friend of mine named Sherman Thomas. We got together a couple of weeks ago and did the first round of shooting entirely against a green screen. I then spent a good chunk of last week working with the green screen footage to do a bunch of compositing and motion graphic work for the verses and choruses of the song. Then this last Sunday, we got together again and did the second round of shooting to incorporate some of the motion graphics and pull together the final look of the video.
So now I’m working on a little more compositing work for the bridge of the song as well as syncing and color-correcting the footage to get the final music video. I’m excited for how it’s coming together.
I just finished my second day of shooting for Film #5. The first shoot day was last Sunday and primarily consisted of shooting against a green screen. I was able to get a hold of some green screen fabric and some good lights, and so we spent around three hours shooting different scenes against green in my living room. Since then, I’ve spent what time I’ve had this last week doing all sorts of compositing and motion graphic work to get ready for the shoot today. Everything is turning out really good. I’m excited for this one. It’s definitely different then the other films I’ve produced this year in that it’s not a straight narrative and it’s involving a ton of post-production work. But so far, so good. I can’t wait to get it all finished.
For the month of May, I’ve decided to break from the straight narrative to produce a music video. As much as it makes me nervous to think of producing a music video (which can be very easy to mess up or make cheesy if it isn’t done right) it also makes me excited.
Music videos have always been one of my favorite mediums because there tends to be a lot more creative freedom and risks taken in conceptualizing and producing them. Directors and artists create wonderful visuals, stories, and art to in some way compliment and enhance the music. Good music videos engage and affect the viewer emotionally and creatively. Of course, that’s when it’s done right. When it’s done poorly, you end up with bland, quickly cut shots of a band or artist performing for three and a half minutes.
Since this month is all about music videos, I’m going to be featuring some of my favorite music videos and directors all month long as my daily Favorite videos in my Twitter feed. I’ll also wrap up each week by posting them all here on the blog.