Bear & Skull

Here's a new piece of street art in SOMA on 12th betwixt Folsom and South Van Ness/Howard. I like it. Not sure if the piece is in reference to the Bear culture that prevails in the SOMA area, but beyond all that, it's a nice piece. This bear sits comfortably, cross-legged and civilized atop a death skull, and just to expand upon the visual metaphor; the death skull sits comfortably atop a flying death skeleton. Why not, Bear & Skull? Welcome to the neighborhood.    

UPDATE: It seems this is a piece by Ryan Travis Christian (RTC).

Last Wave's New Shooting Space

So along with our other shooting stages we've designated one room just for interviews and headshots. The room has perfect depth for bust shots with backgrounds. We find that most clients need either white, for infinity white, or green, greenscreen, backdrops.

We hosted an exciting shoot the other day with the Black Magic Cinema camera. I'd never seen it in action. It looked great and the space proved perfect for complex lighting setups. It was just a simple bust shot: two camera coverage; one bust and one close-up, but with two Kinos and two Divas to light the screen and subject it looked great. Then we used another Diva, dimmed low, for the hairlight. Here's a quick camera phone production still. Going to post more soon when post-production's complete and I can talk more about the product.

Setting up an interview in the new Last Wave Studio

Apogee Sound Club at the Hemlock

On Sunday, 2/17/2013, me and Green went to the Hemlock to catch Apogee Sound Club. 

Before I go on, read their manifesto. Yes, they have a manifesto: unpretentious and sincere - rock-n-roll. In it they hand over the term "punk" to the dilettantes, opting instead for "Underground Sonic Energy." 

Underground Sonic Energy is an accurate description of what happens when Apogee Sound Club are on stage. I'd never dare to pigeon hole them by comparison but witnessing their guitar-base-and-drums three-piece tightness; with its smart geomotries, steely crisp riffs, relentlessly muscular bass lines, and shouted-out truth lyrics one can't help but think a little of the Minute Men.

Having drawn that simple and singular comparison I must say though that the Underground Sonic Energy they proport is very much their own. They are, as educated proponents of the underground, of course informed by the traditions and progenitors of its past, but the voice that is Apogee Sound Club is a unique and singular force to be recokoned with.

After their set Green and I got a chance to talk with guitarist/vocalist Wade Driver. Loose and enilghtened by drink and whatnot we rattled off core comparisons like "Wire and a touch of Big Black," explaining that its feeling brought us back to the early 90s. Driver, very cool and friendly, acklowledged (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Yeah, there's some of that in there," but then added, "but for me though growing up that was all just punk. Now they have all these names like indie and whatever...like if you play it with a little feedback they call it 'No Wave.' For me that's just how I played punk." 

I wasn't planning on shooting anything that night but once they started playing I couldn't resist at least grabbing some of the performance with my camera phone. Because words fail to convey, check out the Underground Sonic Energy that is Apogee Sound Club below. Go and see their shows! And grab a copy of their lyrics off the merch table if, as Driver put it sweat-soaked between songs, "...if you care about what we're talking about up here." Wade, my man, we do care about what your talking about up there, and we want and need more.  

Great White Death Debates

So I scored the first 2012 Presidential debates with a manipulated blend of Whitehouse's Great white Death album, some Atals Sound and Sex Pistols, and this sound composition I designed a long time ago called Strom Thurmond Put His Arm Around Me.

Rehearsal with Green La Fleur

So me and Green have been preparing for the upcoming Last Wave short The Perfect Boxer. Green underwent a calisthenic bout of rehearsal to refine his character The Coach or Joe "The Corpsemaker" Malone. Here he practices the coach's maniacal id-poem with himself.   

Annie Girl & the Flight Rehearse "Nora" at Secret Studios

The bare blue bulb in Secret Studios' rehearsal space and my high iso mate and spawn something like night vision. Cables coiled round the tight space, Annie Girl wails against the static-hum of line noise. For some reason, in the muggy, trapped-in air, I thought out Wallace Stevens's the Snowman from start to conclusion and realized...Annie should be barefoot.    

Annie Girl & the Flight, Double Crossed

If you haven't heard about annie Girl, you will. I'm proud to present the first in a series of live performance videos featuring Annie Girl & the Flight playing their record release show at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. I can't say enough about Annie's raw, crowd-silencing talent and brilliant songwriting, and frankly, I don't need to. She casts a spell with natural ease. Enjoy! 

Check out the debut album and learn more at anniegirlmusic.

Stay tuned for more Annie Girl & The Flight videos to come.  

Of Destruction and Mise-en-scène

Location scouted an undisclosed location yesterday for a video we're making for a metal band. Hail Satan! That's the premise: a satanic ritual. They're going to drain a pretty girl's blood and drink it within the lovely environs below. I'm assistant directing, keeping the trains running on time... in teenage hell. I love my job.

I'll have to find a reason to use this location for something else. I've always wanted to shoot children in the ecstasy of group vandalism; slo-motion and joyous, the sound of shattering glass blending rhythmically-arhythmically with a Chopin Nocturne. Or maybe something contrapuntal. A rich housewife goes to these abandoned buildings to get alone and practice her water color painting. There is an unsaid eroticism she enjoys: the seedy danger of it all. Maybe she meets a runaway boy and sublimates that eroticism into mothering for him. Anyway, it's a great space with lots of potential.

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Adobe Premiere vs. Apple Final Cut Pro

My film students often ask me to recommend a video editing system. “Which is better, Final Cut or Adobe Premiere?” they ask hungry for a decisive enlightenment. Here is a summary of the main differentiating points... and the non-differentiating points. 

I have been using Adobe Premiere as my main editing system for years, occasionally switching to Final Cut Pro when clients ask me to. My personal preference goes to Adobe Premiere, although practically speaking, in the Silicon Valley, it might be more useful for an editor to get experience with Final Cut. The question often comes down to this: are you a Mac or a PC person? Or, more specifically, does your prospective employer work on Mac or PC? 

I find that local companies generally require experience editing with Final Cut Pro, not necessarily for the right reasons. The Mac cult is interfering with people's perception of which editing system is better, and although Final Cut Pro has some advantages, I cannot recommend it over Adobe Premiere. 
Here is why...

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Shooting Low-Light with Canon 5D Mark III...

So last night I'm testing my new lens: Tamron 2.8 24mm - 70mm on my 5D Mark III in low-light.

I decided on a 3200 color temperature, a shutter of 60, ISO 2000, with the aperture fully opened to 2.8.

I think this combination is good for a lot of narrative situations. It is just this side of "natural," what the eye sees but with a little more more pop to the light: hyper, inasmuch, and then this gentleman wandered into my frame, and the short scenario followed...