In the Studio with The Garuud Effekt

Marti Christopher is the sole member and creative force behind The Garuud Effeckt, but you’d never know how minimal the behind the scenes are by listening to the intricate arrangements in this powerful blend of electro-pop.  Also, burried beneath his witty charm and playful demeanor, is the fact that Marti Christopher is a super talented classically trained artist in the media of pencil, charcoal and paint.  All of these, not so obvious attributes about Marti were fun to discover along the way, but this was only the beginning.

The process of creating an idea for this video stemmed from a string of multiple late night conversations where we would bounce ideas off of each other to see what which ones would consistently come back around…  we both agreed that the cream usually rises to the top during these kind of interactions, so we embraced it and ran with it.

Since Cut Me maintains an almost pop 80′s sound, I felt like shooting a video shot in the studio would suit this tune very well.  Considering Marti is the only member of the band, it made sense for me to keep the video simple without any other distractions and focus on what mattered most…. Marti.  So we decided on a stark black and white color palette for the video and went shopping.

H&M clothing was first on our list.  We browsed through the mens’ department where we found a handful of great suits.  After a session of iPhone photos in order to compare the best looking options, we agreed on a stellar suit and moved on.  Next, we took a trip to Home Depot to buy some painting supplies and then we headed over to Man Made Media -owned and operated by Marin Biegunajtys- to paint the green-screen cyc white.

While working through 3 coats of white, Marti told me his theories on how capitalism have all but removed the -tried and true methods of- communal style parenting and that monogamy is directly influenced by the advent of farming in early tribes.  After he completely blew my mind with these revelations, he told me stories of how he spent time in Jamaica as a child, how his mother met his German father and how his family spent many years together in Canada when he was growing up.

Kit Chalberg and Jeffrey Knudsen joined us for the day of production.  Both of these guys were a huge help to the process in addition to just being a ton of fun to be around.

I had never seen Marti perform live prior to rolling camera that day, but I did caution him that the success of the video relied entirely on his ability to “turn-it-on” once we rolled camera.  To my delight, Marti showed up looking stellar in his new suit, hat and color matching guitar.  Once he slid his sunglasses into place, Marti instantly transformed into the rockstar mode, we turned on the cameras and Sir Christopher brought-it in a big way!

On that day of the shoot, we shot with the new RED Scarlet and the SONY FS-700.  After playing with the footage in REDCINE-X Pro, I decided that the RED looked SO good…  that we weren’t going to even try to mix the two cameras together in the final edit.

 Most of the time in the studio was spent shooting the extra setups with the signs and the props.  Marti’s actual performance while singing and dancing was done in an astoundingly minimal 3 takes.

In the editing room, we worked to give the footage a very kinetic feel to match the vibe of the upbeat song.  Since the song title Cut Me, is a very visual line, we had decided early on that the stark black and white color palette would be a great setting to use a strategically placed splash of red during the choruses.  During the shoot, we played with things like red spray string and confetti during the choruses only to find them less effective than I had hoped on screen.  Finally the idea came to me that we should use animated opaque color fields.   After trying out the concept on a few choruses we were hooked and decided to keep these unique color moves in for the final cut.

Overall, I was very pleased with the results of the production, I look forward to the next project with Marti and the all of the fine folks that made this project come together.



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Traveling with Andy Palmer to shoot The Monk

Preproduction for Andy Palmer’s song The Monk began in the first portion of April of 2013. Andy Palmer writer and performer of The Monk, myself and the Associate Producer Kit Chalberg first sat down to discuss ideas and concepts for the video. We started the process with the… “which song?” discussion and came round and round until we landed right back where we began… The Monk.

During the making of the video we went traveled to the Eastern Planes of Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes and Downtown Denver in order to get just the right look for each scene. We spent two days shooting and traveling for the initial shoot. Kit, Andy, Mark Chalberg, Chuck Fiorella and myself drove almost 500 miles round trip to get to all the locations.

After getting back to the post production facility, I noticed that I had gotten a great look for the shots of Andy walking in slow motion down the two lane road but, I knew when we shot it that I really wanted to shoot it on a steady mounted camera system like a Steadicam or Glidecam. So I bought a Glidecam and we went back to the same location in Watkins in order to reshoot the “lip-synching” shots with Andy all over again. I couldn’t have been happier with the results. Not only did the Glidecam work like a charm, but the FS-700 Sony camera -that I had bought just prior to starting the production- was starting to make more sense to me and as a result I our shots were looking WAY better.

After editing began, I had to take a large break to knock out a couple of projects… One was directing, shooting and editing an online series called Riding the Line for The Race Across America and the other was creating a sit-down acoustic video for the popular band The Dirtyheads for The Pier’s Acoustic Music Series.

In July, we had determined that adding one more scene would really help to make the 1,2,3 rhythm of crossing paths between Andy’s character and the Monk for a better pay-off in the end. So, we went back out and shot the additional scene where Andy’s character stops in to the convenience store for a pack of smokes and yet again just barely misses the Monk.

I got a new computer and new set of software -if I’m gonna take this job seriously I have to have the right gear… right?!. So I got all of the new post-production equipment set up, made it through all of the “firsts” of new gear and then continued on my plight with the video.

So here we are in the middle of August and I’ve finally gotten things wrapped up. I’m proud of the finished product, but I have a ton of new ideas and concepts that I can’t wait to apply to the next video that is coming up.



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