Transmission 1.02.2009 Making a Rock Video Part 1

We’re in the middle of making a “Rock Music Video”, something that none of us have ever done before.  I had mixed feelings about the whole thing when I got the call from Gordon.  Somehow he wrangled this guy named Kevin Custer to produce the video for short money, mainly because the guy dug the band and was down to do something creative.  I went online to check out his work and was pretty blown away by some of the artist he’s worked with; mainly hip-hop and stuff I can’t relate to but there was no denying his technical and creative skills.
Kevin and I set up, a meeting at his studio over in Park Slope, to get to know each other and discuss basic concepts.  He’s a really likeable guy and seemed open to a lot of the non-ideas that I had because let’s face it, I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to videos.  I know that before he had this opportunity, we were brainstorming with Thomas Hooper about producing some kind of visual piece that didn’t involve any of us being in the video.  The turning point for me was when Kevin and I both arrived at Anton Corbijn, the guy that made the Joy Division movie, “Control” as a common point of reference.
A few days later  we met at the space at 1600 to pick up our gear.  It had began snowing and was cold as Hell.  We ate a quick dinner at our familiar haunt, Williamsburger and drove out to the shoot location in Bushwick.  We rolled up at 1800 and Custer and his crew were already there setting up the gear and getting prepped for the shoot.  The location was this gigantic 2500 square-foot ground level loft that apparently was available for this kind of thing.  We were able to secure the place for a “budget price” if we worked off hours.
We loaded in.
He set us up and began working on the lighting.  We had all of our gear set up but nothing was powered up.  I had a mic on a stand in front of me but the XLR cable just trailed off camera.   Custer had a PA System set up and was cranking “Gossamer”.  Andrew’s direction was to play along as accurately as possible.  Carson and I were directed to “play along” and exaggerate our movements.  I was told that for things to appear dynamic on film, you have to really emphasize your movements.  I took it upon myself to sing “live” when we were rolling.  We worked on takes for the next several hours.  He used a variety of different camera angles.  At one point, a boom was used and this sled-looking contraption that made me think of Sam Raimi.  I remember, out of habit, I kept turning the volume knob on my guitar down after each take.  Doing the video shoot was possibly even more un-natural than recording.
We broke for food and coffee about three hours into it.  Anki, the host of MTV Norway Headbanger’s Ball stopped by to check out the shoot.  I was told that she’s the Rikki Rachtman of Norwegian Headbanger’s Ball.  She was cool.  She informed me that she was at one time married to Frost from Satyricon/1349; how cool is that?
We wrapped at about 2330 and loaded out.  Kevin Custer is probably the most professional guy that I’ve ever dealt with in the “music industry.”  Hopefully working with us wasn’t too excruciating.
I’ll be checking out a cut of the video later on next week.

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