Tuesday, August 24, 2010

no robots were harmed during the making of this video

Alas, my new video for LA thrash band 'Bonded By Blood' is online. It is definitely the most ambitious project I've done to date. So glad to have done it... and SO glad it's done!

The tune comes off the band's new release Exiled to Earth, which is a concept album taking place 600 years in the future during the tyrannical regime of an alien/robot race called "the Crong." The song itself tells a sub-story about a mad scientist that builds a powerful cybourg to try and destroy said Crong. Throw in some human resistance fighters, a Dr. Claw-style boss-Crong and a bunch of exploding robots and you get the video for "Prototype: Death Machine."

We shot this beast over two days in mid July 2010. The first day was for the performance. The concept called for the resistance-fighting-thrashers to rock out in their 'secret hideout'. Day 2 we shot all the battle and narrative stuff. It was an exhausting day, and we only upset one (yes, ONE) irritable-shopkeeper-next-door! Great success! Oh and as the title declares, no robots were harmed during the production of this video

Post production. Twas a doozy. I knew from the get-go that this was going to be an FX heavy video. I logged so many hours at the computer that my clicking finger now has a six pack. Worth every minute though... I think. In the future, I may try to do robot eye lights practically. I mean, frame by frame, manually motion tracked, faux 3d with roto is fun and all but... (shoots self in head). Seriously though, after effects rules. And so does videocopilot.net.

Another important mention regarding the video is the use of the Creative Commons. Almost all all of the green screen backgrounds and cityscape pieces come from photographs posted on flickr with the CC General Attribution license. I love and respect all things Creative Commons, and you should too! The full list of CC attributions are listed in the credits post by flickr title and user name, but if any of the original artists wish to modify their attribution, let me know and I would be happy to oblige.

In the last couple months, my eyes turned square, my brain melted a little, and I assisted in the destruction of a vicious race of alien robots. To the band, my cast, and crew... I say we succeeded. Our approach may have been total b-movie, but I'll be damned if we didn't get some B+ results.

Bonded By Blood - Prototype: Death Machine

Credits / Attributions

(or, for a general post about the video click here)

Band - Jose Barrales, Alex Lee, Juan Juarez, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Regalado
Scientist - Carl Solomon
Death Machine - Daniel Wells
Crong Sentinel(s) - Dennis Yang
Crong Leader (Dr. Claw Crong) - Alex Lee

Director / Editor / VFX - Dave Vorhes
Producer - Tyler Condon
DP / Colorist - Dustin Pearlman
Key Grip - Stephen Paar
Costume Designer / Fabricator - Robert Miller
Assistant Costume Designer - Mary Frances-Cusick
Costume FX - Tom Irvin
Makeup - Reuben Rivera
PA - Dave Singleton
Gear Rentals / G&E - Kyle Smith, James Penland, Joe Homokay

Special thanks to Monkspace, Israel Hernandez, Earache Records, JP Riley, and Andrew Kramer

Creative Commons Attributions
(all licensed as 'General Attribution' at time of use)

Amy Loves Yah - Storm Cloud
o palsson - The Atomium
cjohnson7 - Storm Clouds
rodneyramsey - Los Angeles skyline in the rain
mediaman // - IMG_5393
pareerica - brick wall texture

urban_data - kuma-rockaz

peter huys - abandoned factory part 2
urban_data - machinesware
gshowman -Former Greenpoint Terminal Market
shiny things - bangkok bank go down
erix Urban Fragment (entrance door)
bob jagendorf - toledo factory sunrise

max wolfe - Lyric Theatre - Fire Escapes, Alley Side

oh sk - wall-to-roof scaling attempts

mangpages - road downtown

bob jagendorf - Steel Mill - Bethlehem, PA
dan deluca -bethlehem-steel-blast-furnace-2
tim psych - old cement factory
heyrocker - satsop nuclear power plant
nicholas nova - atomium

(Note to original artists: feel free to contact me if you wish to modify your attribution in any way. Thanks!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

White Wizzard - Over the Top

"Over the Top" - the second video in the White Wizzard saga - went online not too long ago. The band's eponymous album has now also been released in the UK and US. So far, the response for the video has been very positive (though i think the negative comments are my favorites). At this rate, the total views should pass GTO in the next month or so. Sweet.

The video was shot over two days in December 09. We shot in LA and Pioneertown, CA. Between surprise weather, last minute location scrambling, and disappearing band members, the shoot was hectic to say the least! But all said and done, I'm proud of the final product, and grateful for everyone's efforts.

Some "interesting" facts about the video:
-The snow was unexpected. It had just rained in LA, but that meant snow in Pioneertown (elevation 4000 feet). White snow, White Wizzard... it worked out.
-The red civic hatchback is my car. It rules.
-The bar we shot at was surprisingly open for business when we got there...at 6AM! Hence the rad / drunk geezers in the background.
-I forgot to roto around the sorcerer's finger in the crystal ball shot @ 2:40.
-The mechanic randomly auditioned for this video while waiting to audition for something else entirely. He didn't get the other part.
-The bar maids are twins.

A few production stills

One of the first setups of the day.

"Chicks dig spells, what can I say?"


One of them is the actual bartender. Can you guess which one?

Deleted scene.

Cast (in order of appearance)
Sorcerer: Jack Curenton
Mechanic: Brian Flaherty
Bar Maids: Christine Mulhern, Elizabeth Mulhern
Bar Tender: Rox Ann Gonzalez
White Wizzard: Kai Cofer

Director: Dave Vorhes
Producers: Tom Mares, Dave Vorhes
Editor / (crappy) VFX: Dave Vorhes
Composer: Austin Wintory
Art Dept: Jessica Feavel, Dave Vorhes
Costumes: Priscilla Watson
Grip: Derek Copeland
PA: Anais Mares

Special thanks to Tony Ritter for the location referral, and Ali & Digby at Earache Records.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New website, new blog, new year!

Uploaded the new website - and started the blog! CHYEA!!

In theory, this blog is a sister-site to bigfootage.net, where I can post more detailed updates on what I'm up to professionally. However, I anticipate the "Big Blog" will also serve as a vehicle for more casual blog-fare, like "ranting" and "plugging things my friends are doing." Who knows, who cares...

So, it being the new year, what better time to commit to e-paper the things I want to accomplish in 2010. They say writing down your goals makes them more tangible, more official (more disappointing when you fail?). So here are some things I want to do this year!

1. Get back into writing. Seriously what happened in 09? I feel like I hardly wrote anything! Or maybe its that I hardly finished anything. No matter, this year I'm gonna get back to taking classes, having dedicated writing days, and just being more creative. Which leads me to...

2. Write and direct 3 spec commercials. This is how directors "break in" right? RIGHT? right...

3. Get back into comedy - sketch, shorts, or whatever. 2009 was a spectacularly unfunny year for me. And with such an abundance of funny people in my life (and in LA!), NOT writing and directing idiotic videos would be criminal. So, let's say shoot at least 5 sketches! I can handle that.

4. Direct at least three new music videos. They don't need to be crazy ambitious. I don't need to lose any sleep, weight, or hair over them. They just have to kick a little bit of ass. Punt a small amount of tooshie.

5. Produce a new web series. Something along the lines of GEMS... mostly unscripted, somewhat educational, borderline entertaining...

6. Also, further develop GEMS. Bi-weekly content with 500 youtube subscribers by the years end, and/or find some sort of sponsorship. Ambitious, but necessary.

7. Find another "Jamba Juice." For those of you who don't know, I did a lot of work shooting videos for Jamba in the last few months of 2009. It was a great gig, lots of travel, lots of fun... and I'd love to get another just like it!

8. Get a life. No explanation necessary.

That's enough. If I manage to accomplish all this in 2010, I'll be pretty jazzed. So, here's to a new year and a new decade! Now, let's get to work!