Keeping with the theme of projects I also directed, this was the first music video I directed after starting my career at Cramer. Waltham was a band out of, you guessed it, Waltham, MA that was having quite a bit of success on the national stage. Also, the lead singer, Frank Pino was my landlord at my apartment. Story goes that my rent check got lost in the mail so I had to drop it off in person one night. He emailed me at work and when I dropped off the check he asked “what exactly do you do?” I told him I was an editor at a production company in Norwood, MA and that if he ever wanted to do a music video in our studio I had some ideas. Little did I know Frank was filming an episode of Made for MTV.
Fast forward 2 weeks and I get a phone call from Frank that says they need to shoot a video that weekend. They had a short window to get a video on air at MTV since they were already in with the filming of the show. Luckily I knew some great crew from my short time at Cramer and enlisted John Coyne (DP), Ed Johns (Producer) and Brian Corbett (Key Grip.) The concept of the video was actually two fold. First, the performance of the song “Joanne” shot over white limbo in the studio. The song is actually about Franks’ van, whom he endearingly called Joanne. The studio was meant to be about30% of the video. My original plan was to actually have this black and white, but after seeing the colors pop off the limbo we left it as such. The second part of the video was the story, which we never actually shot. The story line was this, we were going to have Frank in a beat up basement singing the song to these Polaroid pictures of an attractive girl standing next to the van. Trick the viewer into thinking he was singing to the girl. Payoff shot at the end would be Frank buying the van from the girl and the girl walking off with the rest of the band. Due to time constraints we never actually did this whole story line and everyone was happy enough with the studio footage we had.
We shot this back in 2005 (I think) and we used a Sony790 Digital Betacam and a doorway dolly with a fluid head mounted to an apple box. Afterwards, I ran the DBETA deck through a Sony DME 7000 via SDI lines to get the film look. This was great because instead of trying to put an effect on in Avid or some other software, the footage comes in real-time. This workflow doesn’t really exist anymore with the advent of HD, but at the time it was pretty good.
As far as editing goes, the way I approached it was this. The first thing I edited was the guitar solo. This was the only take we didn’t record the whole song of. We did about 5 takes handheld. After that what I did was make each take its own track in Avid (I think I had about 14 tracks.) Then, I went through each take and left the good moments. My timeline looked like swiss cheese, and there were many parts that had good moments in multiple takes at the same time. I then went to those sections and picked out the best of the options I had. After that, I just collapsed everything down to one track and viola! I had a cut music video. Some color correcting with GenArts Film Look, some Avid paint to take out the top of the cyc wall, and some behind the scene footage with some film cutter and bam, you got yourself a finished product.