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Music Video

When I was in New York in September, I met with the amazing people at Dig For Fire.  I’ve admired their work for years, from the fantastic live in-store performances they shoot at Other Music to an awesome Band Of Horses video and now to their relationship with Spotify.  I have been wanting to work for them for a long time.  Finally I had the chance.

They had just gone into the studio with Iron & Wine to film the re-recording of his classic tune “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” for the new Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack.  To add to it, Marketa Irglova from The Swell Season came in to sing harmony on the the track.  They asked if I thought I could cut the video in the two weeks I was in town.  I said ABSOLUTELY!

Currenlty, WordPress.com doesn’t support VH1 embeds.  So if you wanna see it there here it is. The VH1 link has over 70,000 views already!

Okay, so three new pieces of video here, edited by yours truly.  Two new, one old, but everything very cool (I think).

First, “A Handy Guide For The Easily Distracted”, the vignette I cut with Miranda as a promotional piece for her new film The Future.  Now that I’ve found an embedable link for the video, I decided to repost a note about it.  Check it out!  Then click the link below it to visit the original site with the posting and read a great interview with her about her work.


Click here to read her interview.

Next, a music video I cut featuring Reggie Watts. This video was finished a few months ago, but I haven’t had the time to write about it.  The band featured in the song is Eagle And Talon, a super-awesome duo producing some great tunes.  Shot by Catherine Goldschmidt and edited by me!

Lastly, the 2011 Teen Choice Awards!  Yay!  Harry Potter was the big winner at this year’s awards, so they asked me to cut a tribute package for the film to close the show.  It got a great response and even a mention in the Hollywood Reporter and other news sites.  Check it out here.  You can also watch the presentation from the TCA below it.

WOW!

About six months ago I was introduced by my friend to the awesome directing duo Radical Friend to talk about some projects they were working on and about possibly helping them out as their editor. We got through one as-yet-unreleased project and then set forth on their biggest project to date: a music video for Yeasayer‘s song “Ambling Alp.” The job was nothing close to simple, due to an accelerated schedule and incredible creative and technical needs on the part of the crew. I can’t say enough about how everyone was to work with.

The project was shot with the RED camera and I managed the complete workflow through editing and into coloring and VFX. After production wrapped, we transcoded our almost nine hours of footage using RedRushes into Quarter-Res Debayer ProRes HQ Quicktimes at 1080p. In retrospect, the right thing to do here would’ve been to encode to 720p quicktimes, because for some reason Final Cut Pro doesn’t play nicely with 1080p on external monitors.

I then copied our offline media to two separate external FW800 drives and gave both the same name.  Radical Friend then received one drive and I retained one for myself, setting forth on the editing process. After logging, syncing, and grouping were completed, RF and I both took a stab at creating our own videos. We would email each other cuts back and forth, exchanging ideas fluidly by simply exchanging FCP project files that linked to the media on each of our computers. Because the file path to the media on each computer was the same, we never had to relink any media, or as Scott Simmons calls it, “the reconnection dance“.

With our deadline fast approaching, we sent our locked offline sequence on a path to be uprez’d. We had to relink our media to our original RED QT proxies to be able to recreate a full-debayer 1080p sequence, so we exported an XML of the sequence and, using Clipfinder, conformed the sequence to the Full-Quality (_”F”) QT Proxies in the R3D folders. We then reimported that XML in FCP and sent that to Apple Color for the expressed purpose of creating high-rez quicktime files of our source media.  Once that finished, I sent that sequence back to Final Cut Pro and voilà, I had my full-raster 1080p sequence for coloring.

Here were the tricky parts, though.  Three things snagged us because of the workflow we were following.

The first was a simple problem: spanned RED files in FCP.  To solve that, I easily ran the ColorFixer program on my Color project file.  This is a must before you do any work in Color.

The second was the aspect ratio sizes.  Because we cut our offline sequence with all 1080p media, we never had to deal with the different aspect ratios that are delivered with the RED.  The camera/build we used delivered us 4k, 3k, and 2k media.  That meant that the relative geometry of our clips were all over the place because we had everything scaled to 100% of their image size, due to all our offline media clips being 100% and uniform in their aspect ratios. Therefore, once I sent the sequence to Color, I went into the geometry room and had to manually re-enter the correct image size adjustments to make sure each image rendered at full-frame.

The last problem was the way Color reads RED files.  For obvious reasons, rendering out handles on the media created all the handles at the tail of the shot, but none at the head.  This was extremely troublesome and I can’t wait until they fix that.  Once I sent the sequence back to Final Cut Pro, I had to slip each shot by hand to make sure it matched the offline edit.  Needless to say, it shouldn’t be designed this way.

Fortunately, though it wall worked out in the end.  Thanks to everyone’s hard work and the incredible guidance and creativity of Radical Friend, this video has had the most amazing response. I just heard from RF that the video has been counted as one of the Top 20 Music Videos of 2009 by Spin Magazine!!! I even found it on Kanye West‘s blog.

Isn’t the internet amazing?

UPDATE:
We screened our film at The Hammer Museum in Westwood on December 17th.  Michel Gondry debuted his latest music video with Mia Doi Todd and even played drums in her concert after the screening.  Totally awesome! Check out this link to see all the videos screened!

UPDATE #2:
Radical Friend is interviewed by Pitchfork for their Director’s Cut series!

Back again after an extended blogging layoff because of work and projects!  Coming up for air long enough to point you to the latest installment of What I’ve Been Working On.

Freddy and Francine is an awesome band and friends of robgwilson.com after their music was featured in a short film I edited called Chris And Steve (IMDb).  You can check out more about them here and here.  In June their song Brownstone Alley was featured on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic as their Top Tune Of The Day, which is only the coolest thing ever.  In case you don’t live in Los Angeles, KCRW and that show in particular is the best place to find great new music in the city of Los Angeles.

So F&F and I got together and decided to up the ante on their video work online.  With the help of my friends Adam Deyoe and Katie Goldschmidt, the three of us got together to shoot a concert at The Mint in Hollywood.  Dating back to 1937, the venue has hosted everyone from Stevie Wonder, Willie Dixon, and Ray Charles to more recently Ben Harper, Macy Gray, and The Wallflowers.

These two videos, 8 Pages and Brownstone Alley, were the first two songs from their set, with more to come.  Hopefully we’ll be working together again soon.  They’re a pleasure and their music is kickass.  Go see them if you get the chance.