Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Making of Procedure Club's "Rather"

I was really pleased when Procedure Club asked me to make a music video for a single from their debut album, "Doomed Forever" (Slumberland). I've known them for a long time and I'm really proud that they are succeeding with their music. It was really cool of them to give me an opportunity to showcase my work, and I knew working with them would give me some great exposure.

Anyway, the video premiered on Bastille Day at MBV and it's getting lots of hits, so that feels great.

For those of you who are interested in the process, I'll go into more detail about the it below, but for now I'll just say that what I really wanted to do for this song was capture some of the many facets of Procedure Club's outrageous sound. It's melodic but dark, nostalgic but morbid, fuzzed out and explosive. I think the video captures all of those aspects of their music, what do you think?

Procedure Club-Rather from Lizzie Boredom on Vimeo.

To be honest, when I went into this project, I wasn't sure whether or not I'd be able to pull it off, but I'm also the type of person who will make something work one way or another. I'm extremely proud of this video, and I'm so grateful to Adam and Andrea for their patience while working on a something that I'd never done before, as it was ultimately a trial-and-error process.

Upon the first few listens to the song, I kept visualizing blindingly bright flashes of color. I knew it would be a little too obvious and hackneyed for me to pull out the dusty old VHS camera and do an over-saturated whimsical indie rock joyride, and I also know that neither I nor the band wanted to look like we were taking ourselves too seriously. Additionally, I wanted to be able to capture Procedure Club's dry sense of humor.

To be honest, one of the most awesome lessons I am taking away from this project is that sometimes, the biggest challenges are blessings in disguise. I was having trouble figuring out how to show the band, because Adam really wanted to be featured playing music, while Andrea was a bit camera shy. This is what led me to the silhouette idea. It allowed me a compromise between these two wants. All I had to do is figure out how I could make a visually stunning story in silhouette. This was very difficult for me because my work is sometimes way too literal, and to place limitations on my devices forced me to come up with a new way to tell a story.

When we were first talking about making a video, Andrea and I joked a lot about how we should make it completely "bright and gay." So I kept thinking about making an over-the-top love story between some woodland creatures. Andrea's lyrics are hard to hear the first several times you hear Procedure Club, and some of them are completely indecipherable, but after hearing "Rather" many many times and requesting the lyrics from Andrea, I knew it was a song about a selfish lover and her careless infidelity. I wanted to trick the audience, like one might trick a lover, into believing in a happy courtship and happily-ever-after, but then shock them with betrayal and revenge. Since it's a recurring symbol in my work, I knew the axe would make a great silhouette and gory murder.

So, as is typical of me, I of course concluded on all I was doing when I was running out of time, as we'd reserved the studio at The New School in order to shoot. I had tons of props to make and buy, and I only got a few hours of sleep the day of the shoot because I was up until the wee hours painting green and blue props.

So we actually shot three different times, because it wasn't until I started the editing process that I realized we needed some better footage, specifically of the band performing and of the murder scenes at the end. I have to hand it to Adam and Andrea because I really didn't know what we were getting into, and when I was making their masks I didn't realize how hot they would be wearing them under lights, and how little they'd be able to see.

Photo by Quico Sierra

With the footage, I used three layers of chroma keying, one for the green and one for the blue. I inverted the green key in order to make black silhouettes which I then colorized, and then added another green key to get rid of the green screen background and place a color background. I added FCP's "Bloom" effect to both the blue key areas and the silhouettes to give that glowing look. I wanted all the performance scenes to be strobing and any moment where the two animal characters touch to strobe as well to give an electrifying feeling. Finally, I animated some blood for the murder scene in Adobe After Effects. I thought white blood would be totally badass.

So yeah, that's about it. I am not one to keep my secrets up my sleeves. I think it's great to share techniques so that fellow filmmakers can improve upon them--or even fuck them up.

1 comment:

  1. Lizzie, great film! to be honest I haven't seen anything like that before! very original, unique!

    best wishes