Jan 15 2008

New video for “Automatic” is up!


When you have no budget, when you have no equipment, when you have no scruples, do it yourself!!! We wanted a video for our opening track “Automatic” for a while now. Our last video for the title track “The Red Room” was awesome. Our good friend Adam Gilleland from the band Fake Believe did that. We knew we wouldn’t have access to any professional equipment with this one, so we took the approach we have had with most of our endeavors. Work with what you have! And what do we have? Thanks to the most awsomest present from my Brother-In-Law Mark and my sister Jennifer, I have a beautiful MacBook Pro. And it’s a wonderful thing, let me tell you. This is my first Mac and I’m definitely seeing what all the hubbub has been about. And yes, I’m going to put the Apple sticker on my car. I’m an addict now. My life has been changed forever. I’m going to be one of “those” people.

The computer comes with a really nice built-in camera right above the screen. It also comes with a great program called iMovie. For freebee software that program rocks. Of course almost every program that came stock with the computer rocks. That’s one of the many reasons why Mac is so awesome. Ok, I digress. So iMovie has ability to edit videos, even to the smallest of increments, and it can add text and audio. I tried a few test runs to see if it would be sufficient for our needs and it was perfect.

So now we had to come up with the idea for the video. One of the most fundamental tools that a DIY’er has is when you have limited equipment; make it look like you chose the tools you’re using on purpose. Perfect example, the movie “Clerks”. Kevin Smith was an independent filmmaker with no money and wanted to make a simple film that takes place in a convenience store. So he got some credit cards and purchased a black and white security camera. What a brilliant idea! What better way to film a low-budget indie flick about a convenience store than to film it with a security camera! And it’s in black and white so you can say it’s “artsie”. Now he’s making major films for lots of money. It’s the American dream people!

Since we were in the same situation (but don’t have any room on our credit cards) I decided to make the video look like we filmed it on a webcam… on purpose. Not quite as brilliant as the previous example, but pretty clever I think. We decided to start the video out filmed entirely in the same room with each of us in the band cutting in and out while singing the song. You may notice that the walls are red. Yes, it is the very same room we filmed “The Red Room” in (MTV take note for future pop-up videos). After the first chorus we then took the actual laptop out and about and filmed us singing in various locations around Houston. Since this was obviously not going to be a dramatic affair we kept everything pretty light hearted and had fun with it.

It was filmed over 2 Sunday’s and then edited by me on iMovie. Overall it was incredibly easy to do. I’m expecting the call from Spielberg soon…
You can view it on our myspace page www.myspace.com/waysidedrive or directly at YouTube here.

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Jan 10 2008

On Making Music Videos…


The filming in for the “Automatic” video Natalie mentioned went really well. I don’t want to go into great detail yet because I want to leave some surprise. We decided to have Kevin meet us at our house at 1 PM last Sunday. So he did but we still had quite a bit of preparing to do. A good portion of the video was to be filmed at various locations so daylight was an issue. We didn’t leave the house until 3 PM. The first place we wanted to film was a park. We specifically wanted a see-saw and one of those spinny things. I think it’s a carousel or a merry-go-round. You know the one when you where a kid and the bully would spin it incredibly fast while you where on it forcing you with the choice of motion sickness or possible bodily injury if you jump off. Good times.

So we went to the largest park in Pasadena (TX), Strawberry Park, and looked around and didn’t see either ride. How can the largest park in Pasadena not have either? So we tried a few other parks with no further luck. Upon discussion we came to the conclusion that parks probably stopped having those type of things because of their supposed “danger”. You know, the early 90’s movement of blocking all things potentially dangerous for kids, which resulted in removing great portions of things that made childhood worth living. Oh but it’s ok for kids now to coop themselves up in the house all day and play video games and get fat from no physical activity whatsoever. But that’s another blog for another day.

We determined that parks in the poorer neighborhoods might have them. I don’t think that is cynical. I think that unrealistic federal regulations get more stringent the higher you get on the pay scale. As the great poet Bruce Hornsby once said, “That’s just the way it is”. Well didn’t have any luck there either. Where have all the see-saws gone? I feel like I should busk on the street corner with a beaten-up acoustic guitar lamenting the loss of our reason. I bet you Abraham Lincoln had a see-saw.

With no usable park it is now about 4 PM and we were running out of daylight fast. So we stopped at a few other locations on our list and got a few quick shots. Then we went to the lovely park right by downtown Houston, I think it’s Heritage Park, where we finished of our daylight filming. No see-saws though. Just a lot of ducks. I think they where ducks. Man they were ugly.

We stopped by on of our favorite pubs, Rudyard’s, for dinner and a pint. Thought we’d try and sneak a little filming in there but it was too dark. Drove around downtown to get some nighttime shots. Didn’t feel too safe doing that. Instead hit the Starbucks in Rice Village and got some footage in their patio. We had to get some coffee while we were there, of course. It was, uh, for project research. Yeah that’s it. Kevin, however got tea. Haha. No further comment there. We then went to Border’s Bookstore off of W. Alabama and snuck a few shots in the children section. Don’t tell! It was now a little after 8 PM and Kevin had to be at work by 4 something so we went back home.

I was too excited so I went ahead and started editing the material from the day. It was a success and we have a good amount of usable material. We will have to film more this weekend though. You’d be surprised how hard it is to fill a 3.5 minute video. It doesn’t seem like that long but when you do your best to mix it up with enough stuff to keep the viewing audience interested it can take a lot. Oh, and Kevin broke his finger the next day at work. Won’t be playing shows for while!

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