HAPPY WIZZZZZZZZARDS DAY!!!
Feeling broke? You can stream the new album here!!
Overblown premiered our album!!
Wings of a Bug Video BTS!
Our most recent video, “On the Wings of a Bug,” made for the first single off the Borrowed Beams of Light album needed to be shot, edited, and animated fast so that we could meet a promotional deadline. Ideally, it wouldn’t have included night shoots, people with busy schedules, and techniques that we had to learn and execute on the fly. But hey, that’s the DIY life. In an effort to put back a little knowledge into the world we’ve learned so much from, here is a breakdown of the process we went through to make this video. I hope it’s informative and a little interesting. At the very least, it will be fodder for people who know how to do all this stuff better than we do.
Cameras: Canon T3i, Canon S100
Lens: Canon EF 17-55mm f3.5-5.6 T3i kit lens, Canon EF 50mm f1.8
Lights: LED light, ring light
Misc: gaffer’s tape, sheet
Edited/Animated on an iMac, and a MacBook Pro using Adobe Production Premium CS5.5
Typically we prep, shoot, log, edit, use Dynamic Link to move between Premiere and After Effects, and that’s it. We had to modify our usual more collaborative process because of time constraints and using the two computer setup so we could both be animating at the same time.
Along with all the stuff that goes on in our heads–coming up with a concept, listening to the song, breaking the song down into its verse/chorus structure, noting where the song has to sync with the video, and making sure our concept has enough to it that we can make enough video without being boring or repeating ourselves (a personal bias)–we bring the song into Premiere before we’ve even shot anything and look at where we want edits to go. Are there beats or guitar riffs that stand out and can the song match edit or concept-wise? We block these out using solid layers in Premiere. Then as we edit and tweak they eventually get replaced with clips. If there’s something we really need to remember, we put in a title with notes. This method is handy because it helps you to remember if there was anything you wanted to preserve, and it’s really easy to see how many shots need to be edited in and where. Also, if we are working on two computers, we can see how long a shot needs to be.
Once we know about how many shots we can even fit in a certain part of a song and how quickly the action needs to happen, we make a list of the shots we need to get and include anything we need to remember. What this list doesn’t usually include is shot framing or other information that would be in a storyboard, because we are a run-and-gun outfit. We just decide that when we get to wherever we’re shooting.
THE TEST SHOTS:
It’s safe to say that we learn a little with every video we make, but this one was intimidating because we envisioned an end result that we weren’t even sure we could figure out how to do. Thus the test shot.
ANIMATING THE ORBS:
CG elements: who doesn’t love ‘em?! Figuring out the orbs took hours of googling, watching YouTube videos, reading forums, all that great stuff you do when there’s no one around to show you how to do something with nothing. And neither of us wanted to buy any plugins or other software that would make our lives easier, so after a couple soul-crushing days trying to figure out if I could export a 3D object out of Blender and get it into After Effects somehow, we abandoned that for a 2D object that we fudged the scale to simulate the Z axis. It took more effort, but you know, we kinda made it work.
We have a little gear, but really all of it fits inside two big plastic bins, so we bring everything we got to a location unless we’re shooting without permits. Then it’s just the camera and maybe two lenses. With a music video, we don’t have to worry about sound as much, and when we’ve needed playback for someone to lip sync to, we just play it on an iPhone. Once it was too loud for the subject in the shot to hear the song without the phone pressed to his head, so we had another person off-camera hold the phone up to his ear and just sing out loud along with the lyrics so the on-camera person could hear. Music videos will spoil you, because dealing with sound is a pain.
THE RING LIGHT:
I have wanted a ring light for at least a year, and I think I came up with this design in a dream or something. Go here for a tutorial! I think the light worked really well in this shot and the circular catch light helped sell the orbs.
I’d been saving my 7 day trial subscription to Video Blocks until we had a project that I definitely needed footage that we couldn’t get anywhere else. The TV show is meant to be a soap opera in a tropical location. Our green screen is big, but in a small basement room. We rigged 600 watt’s worth of incandescent bulbs as high as we could get them to match the sunlight of the stock footage. Other than the green spill that is hard to avoid in such a small space, this is our most successful green screening yet. Our actors/band members were born to play those roles!
We spend a lot of time logging footage, and usually on paper. We haven’t used a slate so far, instead opting to log file numbers instead. I figure if we have to look at all of it anyway, there isn’t much point in using a slate, though I would guess it’s probably one of the many things that acts as a trigger to get people set when you’re shooting. Metadata-wise, I’m just as happy to log together on our TV. Since we don’t have an external monitor, sometimes it the first time the director has even seen the shots. We log the clips in detail and have a rating system where we track the best couple versions of each take, noting especially how they are different (for instance an action happens faster). This becomes important in the edit when we need something to happen faster to fit with the cuts of the song. This is also where I start to envy people who don’t have to constantly worry about cutting on a bet and can let shots play out when they need to (though occasionally we buck our system and do that).
Since we knew there would be animation in almost every shot, we decided to do a complete edit before animating so that we could save time and only animate the frames that were going to go in. This is another place that the color layers that stand in for shots came in handy because we had a couple shots that were purely animated. The placeholders helped us figure out how long the totally animated shots needed to be.
That’s about it! Bottom line, I hope everyone enjoys Brock’s nips.
You can stream or buy the album on our Bandcamp site!
We’ve already had some kind words about the album from around mother Internet. The Vinyl District premiered the album on their site. And Caleb from Kick Kick Snare featured a track from the album.
And for more fun, keep your eyes peeled for the video for the titular track this week. The video is basically like opening up Adam Brock’s head and peeking inside for three minutes, and don’t even tell me you’ve never wished you could do that.
For all our Cville peeps, come on out to the LP release show at the Southern this Saturday night. It’s gonna be grand!
We are very excited to announce the release of the brand new record by Charlottesville, VA pop heroes, Borrowed Beams Of Light. Nearly a year in the making, On The Wings Of A Bug is perhaps the most cohesive musical statement that Adam Brock and co. have produced yet.
The record is set for a November release but you can pre-order the LP HERE and stream the album’s title track below. All pre-orders will receive an automatic download of the title track. Numbers are limited to 300 so be sure to place your order soon!
Here is Thomas Dean’s beautiful album cover art along with the tracklist for the record:
BORROWED BEAMS OF LIGHT – ON THE WINGS OF A BUG
HIBERNATOR GIGS RECORDS – HG003
1) Songbird Bouquet
2) Four Good Eyes
3) On The Wings Of A Bug
4) Kruger Park
6) Dog Won’t Bite
7) A Very Different Place
8) Drawing Blanks
10) Getting There
11) Carry It All
12) The News
13) Belly Of A Ghost
We will be announcing some new Borrowed Beams Of Light shows in the weeks to come. Keep watching this space for details!
As the summer winds down Weird Mob thought it might be appropriate to cover one of their favorite summer jams, The Beach Boys classic Take A Load Off Your Feet from the Surf’s Up album. Renee, Adam and Dave all chipped in to sing this one. Check it out and heed its words regarding proper foot care!
This is the last you’ll hear from Weird Mob for a few months while Adam and Dave shift gears to focus on the new Borrowed Beams of Light record, which will be released on Hibernator Gigs sometime in the Fall! Check back soon for more details about that! Until then keep those feet away from any broken glass!
Last week Weird Mob, along with Dwight Howard Johnson and Erin Lunsford, handed over songs to the skilled hands at Lighthouse Studios to use in their Music Video summer camp course, and we couldn’t happier with the video!! Dave and I met with the group producing the video for our song, Rarebit Fiends, on Monday and talked about Winsor McCay’s art and the inspiration for the song. We didn’t know whether that would play into the final product, but Elizabeth, Logan, Gabby, and Wyatt hit the ground running and created a dreamlike scenario that would’ve made Winsor himself proud! Thanks to everyone at Lighthouse!
There’s a shot of the good people responsible for this great vid at the end, so if you see them in town, give em a high five. They deserve it!
When it came time to choose where we wanted to have our first release, Songs In The Key Of Bob, pressed to vinyl, it was, fortunately, not a difficult decision to make. Musicol, the Columbus, Ohio pressing plant/recording studio, which was recently highlighted in a Pitchfork feature, was clearly the obvious choice. Musicol is one of the few “one-stop-shop” facilities left in the world, where a band can record their music, mix it, master it, and have it pressed all under one roof. It’s a real testament to the Midwestern DIY spirit and aesthetic and since that’s sort of what we were trying to capture with Songs In The Key Of Bob it just made sense.
That’s right, the 1993 split single from GBV and Jenny Mae on Anyway Records! Pretty rad. According to Warren from Musicol, they also pressed the very first Guided By Voices single. I have not yet been able to verify that but the fact that Musicol pressed the first single by my own Ohio ’90s indie pop band, The Cusacks, is good enough for me.
So, Renee and her Mom and I all visited Musicol on Friday May 3rd, both to check the place out and to check on the status of our records. Warren was happy to show us that we were 13th out of 13 orders ready to go before he left for his vacation! Phew! Just barely made it! Warren showed us around the building, taking us into the main studio which was built in 1966 and basically looks like what would result if your Grandpa tried to recreate Abbey Road Studios in his den – minus the bowl of Fiddle Faddle! We also came across said Grandpa, Warren’s 84 year old Dad, John, who opened the place back in 1966 and still works there to this day, cutting a master for an electro-ambient-drone record, listening to the same spot over and over again to make sure everything sounded right.
The highlight of the visit was a trip into the basement of Musicol where the actual vinyl is melted down and pressed and where the labels are baked in a giant pizza oven. Here we came across a basket of discarded vinyl, awaiting recycling:
The Musicol dudes were hard at work pressing the new Man Or Astroman 7″ on orange vinyl and Warren poured some of the vinyl beads into our hands:
Later he grabbed a still soft and hot glob of orange vinyl, wrapped it in a paper towel, and handed it to us to take home. It’s since hardened into a nice paperweight:
We also got to see the sweet labels designed by Thomas Dean, awaiting baking in the giant pizza oven. It was pretty rad to see them all stacked up and to see the final colors:
It was awesome to see the inner workings of the place and we even got some free T-shirts out of the deal. Thanks go out to Warren and all the Musicol dudes for their hospitality and hard work on our project!
Later that night we played a show at the Tree Bar in Columbus with our buds Kyle Sowash and Sam Craighead. We played some Weird Mob jams, some Hilarious Posters tunes, a Loud Family cover, and some Cusacks songs. My old Cusacks bandmate, Travis Kokas, even got up to sing a song with me:
Now we’re back in Virginia, gearing up for the big Songs In The Key Of Bob release. And if you’re wondering how the finished product looks, we got them this past Friday, they look sweet, and you’re definitely gonna want one…possibly two or three:
Remember you can stream and pre-order the comp here! Looking forward to getting these things in your hands! See you all soon!
The test pressings for the Songs In The Key Of Bob 7″ have arrived and they sound great! Thanks to Warren and the dudes at Musicol! We can’t wait to see and hear the real thing!
This Friday, April 26th, two of the bands who appear on the comp will be playing together at Random Row in Charlottesville, VA. It’s the Left & Right “93” EP release part and Borrowed Beams of Light and Girl Choir will be opening the show! Check out the sweet flier made by Thomas Dean and Marie Landragin:
Borrowed Beams of Light have been busy this month! Here’s a video of the band playing an acoustic version of “Rewind” from the debut EP last Saturday at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg as part of an event organized by Speakertree Records:
This weekend the Beams will be heading into the studio to begin work on their forthcoming full length which will be out on Hibernator Gigs Records sometime later this year! Watch this space for more details! See you all soon!
If you’re a Virginia Borrowed Beams Of Light fan then you’re in luck, as you’ll have several opportunities to catch the band at various places throughout the state in April. Here is a list of the places you can see the Beams do their thing in the weeks to come:
4/5 – Artful Dodger in Harrisonburg, VA (part of MACRoCK showcase)
4/13 – The Garage in Charlottesville, VA (acoustic show for Tom Tom Fest)
4/20 – Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA (acoustic show for Record Store Weekend, hosted by Speakertree Records)
4/20 – Rivermont Pizza, Lynchburg, VA
4/26 – Random Row Books, Charlottesville, VA (opening for Left & Right)
Also this month work will begin on the upcoming Beams full length which we will be releasing a little later this year! Watch this space for more details!
In other news, we’re happy to announce that the upcoming Songs In The Key Of Bob 7″ comp has been getting some press. You can check out some blog posts about the comp on Ashbees’ Fragments and Here Comes The Flood. Of course you can still stream the comp on our Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages and order it here.
We’ll be dropping some news about some new videos and a new podcast pretty soon! Until then, see you at the Beams shows!