A couple of months ago my friend and guitarist Ricky Berger introduced me to a band that rehearses here in town, The Museum Direktors. TMD was a pretty big Boston band back in the 80′s until, well, it gets complicated. It was a combination of that story plus their great musicianship led us to start a little documentary project on the band. Progress is a bit slow right now, mostly due to the rehearsal loft hitting 100+ degrees and consequently not being terribly conducive to sitting down and having an interview where everyone isn’t dripping wet. But they are in my sights…
We’re currently experimenting with shooting video in the rehearsal space. I’m working through the dubious mechanics of doing a single-operator multi-camera shoot, but mostly I’m learning the music so I can anticipate shots (and yes, I may even script it a bit). Despite shooting in a really dark room the real challenge is getting decent audio (as you’ll no doubt notice if you play the videos, there is plenty of room for improvement).
Here are a couple of videos we shot a few weeks ago that I finally got around to putting some title slates on and posting to the YouTubes. They are definitely rough but I kinda like the edginess of them in contrast to where the music is — which is also “under construction”. We’re hoping that Museum Direktor fans will enjoy this sneak peek into the creative process and we promise a lot more in the coming months.
My thanks to Paul, John, and Chris for inviting me into their working space and letting me document some great musicians at work.
Fans can check in on the group via the Museum Direktors Facebook page
The rehearsal room is dimly lit — a few bare bulbs around the perimeter plus maybe 1 or 2 100W floodlights illuminating the rehearsal space. Audio is, well, besides being really loud, is just whatever they have for personal monitors plus a vocal feed. It’s not rigged for performances. I’m still hunting for a spot to set up a mike that isn’t dominated by one of the trio’s monitor vs. the other sound in the room. It’s a bit of a battle right now because I really want to get better audio.
This is all experimental stuff so nothing is set in concrete:
Canon 7D with a 16-35mm f/2.8L lens either on a tripod or sitting on a chair. You can see segments where I move this camera with one hand while holding the 5D with the other. Not the quickest way to a quality end product.
Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f/2.8L lens handheld or on a monopod.
Both are set wide open, ISO 3200 I believe.
I’ve done in-camera audio and via an Edirol R-09. I was using a wireless mic, but that is too easily overloaded by the dynamics so I switched to a wired mic (AT825 stereo field mic). I was so depressed with the audio track for “Unromantic” that I sent it through Soundtrack Pro just to toss a bit of compression and reverb in a vain attempt to give it some life (so yes, the original is even flatter…)
The stills on this page were taken on one of those “it’s gotta be f-ing 110 degrees in here” nights. Canon 40D, 50mm f/1.4, manual focus. Various exposures.