Saturday, March 24, 2007

Making the Video

Solon holds the spooky IV with Scott from Little Radio

Day One:

It's 10:30am in Hollywood, CA on the fourth floor of one of the only brick buildings I've been in since I moved here last year. The crew have been here for hours and the band is rolling in carrying various energy drinks, wardrobe selections, cell phones and props from their own personalities that will undoubtedly fit right in. In glancing at the shot schedule, scenes of seances, dead bodies and portraits in dusty carved frames remind us that Great Northern's video legacy echoes creepy portraits from early themes of the occult from the 1800s.

Director, Josh Forbes' vision imagines our GN walking through a wonderland of spooky turn-of-the-century images including shots that seem to be portraits come-to-life using green-screen technology. With an ancient IV drip, the story begins with the band in all black caring for an ailing Solon and then in the next shot, a deceased Solon lies still while bandmates now in all white mourn him. Next, around a table the band recreates a seance like the one seen in the photos that provided the inspiration for video in the first place, particularly this one from the Albert de Rochas collection of prints take of a seance conducted by John Beattie.

Other techniques used include an early 19th century toy known as a wonder turner or a thaumatrope used to give the illusion that two images are floating together, most popularly recalled in the "bird in cage" effect. After today, the crew will have amassed a collection of individual performance and still shots of the band working without seeing their counterparts against a green screen and with minimal props. Josh creates his world in his imagination alone keeping the final product a secret from everyone involved asking players to hold chains, perform simple magic tricks and dance. In a variety of costume changes, the tone is set with mostly black, white and greyscale pieces hinting us to the possibility of a sepia-washed world.

Day Two: Today I walked in to discover that the crew spent the earliest hours of today's shoot taking stills of tree branches and cutting two or three inches off of each of them for each photo in an effort to play it back in reverse to give the illusion that those trees are growing. After the sticks were all swept away, the band was back in place to do more individual shots and small group shots. Ronald Dzerigian came in to offer his face and acting skills starring as all of the members of a string ensemble. Costume changes today include the additon of red into the mix and a number of odd shots including a kissing scene where both Solon and Rachel are wearing hoods only contributes to the growing anticipation of what the animation will reveal.
Director Josh Forbes and Great Northern

Here's an Imeem photo playlist of pics from the rest of the Great Northern photo shoot!
Thanks again to Josh Forbes, Winch & Pulley, and the crew on the shoot and the lovely folks at Expert Insight.
We can't wait to see the final cut and share it with all of you!


1 comment:

Beastly McGash said...

Oh yeah, and the animation will be done by none other than ManVsMagnet of Battle of the Bands fame: