Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Phantom of the Apartment



Oh dear, I suppose we had to get to this a some point, no?
The problem with starting these commentaries with my first videos is that I have to deal with these kind. This video came out of a night of boredom (don't they all?) and there was very little planning/skill used that night. This is also the first time I gave someone else the camera and it didn't really encourage me to share more.
This was made on a night like any other. Glenn, myself, and another friend were in my apartment, bored. I suggested, as I often do, to make a video. I had originally wanted to make a video to "Dare" by the Gorillaz, but I couldn't get anyone to agree to dance. I tried to show them what it would look like, but I ended up smashing my hands into my light fixture and broke it. That idea was shot.
Still bored, another friend came over and suddenly I had an idea. I decided we would do the "Phantom of the Opera" song.
I wanted to play the Phantom. I wanted to make a half-mask out of a paper plate and play a creep/suave man. However, Glenn, as awesome as he is, did not know the words to the song. This meant he could not play the girl. So, we made Glenn the Phantom, made the mask a full paper bag covering to hide his mouth, and put him in my suit jacket (gone now).
Now that Glenn was the Phantom, it was someone's turn to be picked as the girl. The problem with having friends who are "shy" is that they won't get in front of the camera no matter what, leaving you as the only option. Now, as much as I wish I played the Phantom, I did have few things going for me here. My hair was longer than it ever had been, keeping me from needing a wig. I also knew all the words, which was good, since she doesn't where a mask. Grab my friends coat, hairband, and scarf, and there I was, all dressed up with no where to go.
I won't say much more about the filming process. I didn't have the camera and this was back before I checked footage after shooting. I learned my lesson in the editing room when I realized we didn't have enough footage and we had screwed a the stairway scene up. When we do get to the end, we get much better footage, in fact, it's one my favorite scenes in RRP history. I like that Glenn is singing and dancing around me one way, while the camera is going the other way. Not really the most innovating technique, but it adds something, and this was back when I was learning everything as I went.
There is little I can say to defend this video. It's old, it's broken, and it really doesn't hold up well. But, I have a strong affection for it as it is one of my favorite Glenn videos, and people always laugh when they see me as the girl.
Don't mind the Christmas tree; it was late January.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hoover Damned



"Hoover Damned" stands as one of my favorites.
We are not well funded, Red Raptor Productions. We are a group of poor, low-budget students and commoners. When we have an idea, we have to fit it into our account, which sits at 0. But, I hate being limited.
The idea for doing a monster movie came on a random Friday night, as many of my ideas tend to do. I had Glenn and Mack Morrison with me that night. Boredom struck and I suggested we do a video. It being around 11:00 pm, our choices were limited. We had to be indoors or night, and if indoor, we had to be quiet as to not disturb the neighbors. I wanted to do something different, since I was still on a creative high from "Monkey Business". I wanted to do a monster movie; one that was a silent picture. What kind of monster could we make at that late hour with no money?
Grab the vacuum cleaner.
Not very intimidating? That thing is full of cords and suction, a perfect killing machine. For the first scene, we have Glenn; unassuming, relaxed, and unaware. We have Mack behind the camera, making sure the vacuum is moving at a good speed, and we have me moving the vacuum and trying to be as intimidating as I can be. We may push the line of believability with the slow crawl, but the whole video breaks reality.
Glenn fighting the vacuum for freedom breaks him free to the hallway, and now we have one of my favorite moments. The slow chase of the vacuum down the hall is so much fun for me to watch. Mack pushed the vacuum and I walked on my knees behind him, following Glenn as fast/slow as we could. Glenn's reaction to the vacuum behind him was great. Glenn had real fear in his eyes, something I've only seen as he played "Jordan" in "Guitar Hero II".
Now, we have Glenn run into my room, though he ends up in the other room. I wish the reveal that the vacuum is in the same room as him was done better. His reaction is too quick and the light takes to long to adjust. I also wish the fight between the two could have looked better, but the knife scene is well shot, so I think.
Notice a jump in footage when the vacuum exits the room after our hero? It's because we're trying to do a long shot of the vacuum moving, without showing ourselves pushing it. I need a puppet.
We needed to kill this machine, but how do you kill a vacuum? Pennies, or loose change. We grabbed my bucket of coins and Glenn delivered the death blow. I wish the shot of the coins was better, I think the black and white makes it hard to discern what they really are. But, the vacuum sucks them up, chokes on 'em, and falls to its death. We do a slow pan to Glenn, now safe and relaxed.
I wish the shot at the end came in better, but we were happy with what we had at the time. It might have been a better shot had we had the vacuum light on the entire video, but I never know how I'm ending a video like this until we get there.
The music is from the game "The Movies"; not a great game, but it had music that fit the mood perfectly. It was classic, cheesy, and made the picture work.
It should also be noted, Glenn's last name is spelled "Benitez", not the "Benitaz" as I spell it here. My bad.