Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Karma Generator" trailer -- Behind-the-scenes with Brian Vander Ark

karma generator trailer from Brad Kelly on Vimeo.

In November, I spent some time in North Carolina, shooting a documentary I'm doing with my brother through our redBrick media venture. My brother is a commercial photographer and stunning fine art photographer (who favors moody nocturnal B&W images) -- and he's blogged about this project here.

We've combined our love of images and stories (and music) into several short documentaries over the last couple years -- and this latest one is called "Karma Generator."

"Karma Generator" goes behind the scenes as talented singer/songwriter and former multi-platinum Top 40/MTV Flavor-O-The-Month (while fronting the Verve Pipe) Brian Vander Ark records his new self-titled solo album with legendary record producer Bill Szymczyk (The Who, Eagles, B.B. King, Bob Seger).

It was a treat to watch the creative interplay as these two hashed out the songs in Bill's home studio (although much of the instrumentation was recorded at Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium).

The album is due any day now and some of the songs are up already at Vander Ark's myspace page. I'm partial to "I Went With The Road."

"Karma Generator," the short film documentary, will premier March 22, 2008 in Grand Rapids, MI prior to a Brian Vander Ark show (with full band). Tickets are available here.

(production action photos courtesy of Lisi Szymczyk)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

in a minute: YMCA Commercial Shoot via Vimeo


If you shoot high quality video and want to showcase it on the web at a quality better than a highly compressed postage stamp (ala YouTube) there haven't been many easy options.

Recently, I stumbled upon Vimeo, which advertises its ability to host HD quality video for free (albeit, still compressed for the web) and streamline the upload process to something approaching the simplicity of YouTube. What also intrigued me (as a new blogger) was the ability to embed high quality videos right into my blog via Vimeo. So today's blog entry is a test of that feature. Let's see if it works...

in a minute: YMCA commercial shoot from Brad Kelly on Vimeo.

(I'm pretty pleased so far, although I've noticed that you have to click through to the Vimeo site and watch it there to get the best quality. Especially playing full-screen, the embedded version is showing serious compression artifacts, while the full-screen version at Vimeo is crystal clear. Still, it's a marked improvement over YouTube for embedding purposes. Particularly if you shoot HD, since Vimeo is natively 16:9.)


Lately, I've been bringing my still camera to my shoots and snapping a few photos during downtime (provided there is any).

For the behind-the-scenes timelapse, I simply put my Nikon on a tripod and had it shoot a picture every thirty seconds. Then I took those stills (about 700 of them) and animated them into a sequence and resized for HD (1280x720) in Final Cut Pro.

A few minutes to upload to Vimeo -- and there you have it: A production for the local YMCA featuring an Arri light set-up, a green-screen key-effect and a parade of wonderful North Shore talent all in about a minute!

Barry O'Brien, Master of Darkness -- and Light!

Barry is an experienced producer, copywriter, lighting director, editor and jack-of-all-video trades. He runs North Shore Communications Group. He was the guiding force behind this particular production and I'm pleased anytime I get to work with him.

This video was used as part of a campaign that has raised a significant amount of money for the local YMCA.

(photos and text ©bradkelly2008)