Anders Weberg, the founder of Recycled Image Studio, a production company based in the small picturesque coastal town of Ängelholm, Sweden sat down with mvwire to talk about his work. Formed in 1999, the company produces music videos, video art, experimental films, concert visuals, DVD’s, motion graphics and whatever inspires them.
MVW: Could you tell us about the Recycled Image Studio.
Anders Weberg: From the first day I have always worked with DV and we shoot everything with the Panasonic DVX-100A. The SLV video was the 39th music video we’ve made, but there is always something going on in the studio. At the moment we are in production on a DVD project for a German band that’s going to release their next album on DVD only. It’s a concept album with the music is produced in 5.1. We’re making a full feature with the music’s story using Swedish actors. There’s no dialogue, just music and my pictures. That’s pretty fun and the planned release is January 2005. Other than that, we have a new music video in pre production, some concert visuals and another DVD project.
MVW: What is the music scene like in Sweden?
AW: I think the music business over here is the same as in other countries. The current trend is guitar driven bands and there are a lot of them. Last Year, it was electronic bands. I think so at least but I might be the wrong one to give you a correct answer. I couldn’t care less. A good song is a good song. The change I see is now that a lot of big labels are closing down it’s getting more fun again. Bands are starting their own labels, people are working more together and the business seems to become healthier. There are lots of alternative networks, collaborations and DIY spirit in the air, which is something I can relate to. I always jump on those kinds of collaborations and projects even though I know it isn’t going to make me any money. Instead it brings enormous inspiration. You can’t buy for any amount of money.
MVW: How did you find out about Sounds Like Violence?
AW: They emailed me and asked. They’re from a small village outside of my town. All but the drummer is a member of another band called Niccokick that are quite hyped in media over here. We had never worked together before. But after the SLV video I ended up doing their other band’s latest video as well. That video has just started to rotate on the Swedish music video channel.
Anyway, we met and discussed some ideas. The EP is released on US label Deep Elm so I emailed them and sent them a reel. First I think they where concerned that I didn’t have a performance video on my reel, but after 20 or so emails we connected. The basic idea was just to show the band’s energy in the video. We used a white box in the studio attic that we built for another production. It’s comfy to do it all in your own studio where you have all the equipment and don’t have to worry about time limit. We filmed the band in the box and at the same time some conceptual footage to mix with it.
We had a typical “coffee money” budget but I’m not doing this just for the money. Instead of sitting around waiting for the big budgets, I’d rather do videos instead. We got paid for our time and I can easily name a few hundred things I wouldn’t do with my time. Everything is relaxed and we enjoy what we do. The feeling you have after a days filming the way we do it is really good. No producers, no co-producers and no assistants to the co-producer and so on. Just one camera and the band. That’s all it takes. I like it. The band likes it and so does the label. That’s what’s important.
MVW: Your previous music videos are conceptual; have you shot a performance video before?
AW: My first question to the label when I’m approached is always. – Does the band have to be in the video? Sometimes the label understands that question, but most of the time they don’t. In most cases, I know that a music video is just a commercial for the band to sell more records. There are always bands and labels that are willing to do it another way and they are the ones I’m aiming for.
So, yes, this was my first performance video, but I really don’t see the point in having a band just stand there faking a performance. I’d rather have them doing something completely different. For the SLV video I felt I had to test myself and see if I could do it. It was fun to try. Will I do it again? Why not? Actually I’ve already been approached by another label that saw the SLV video and I’m writing on that song at the moment. I’ll give them two long conceptual ideas and then a quickie performance idea. Whatever happens happens.
MVW: The color of the video really stands out, how did you achieve the look of the video?
AW: As you can see from the behind the scenes pics, we used a very simple lighting scheme since that’s all we have. But you can achieve much even with a few lamps. When you are working with DV, using light is very important. For this video, I knew I was going to play around with the colors a lot so we gave the white box all the light we could. The band only had 3 shirts that were not even exactly the same red color.I always edit my own videos so that part always goes very fast. Then I take the finished edit into Adobe After Effects and the real works starts. First, I adjust the levels so the white gets really white and then I do the same with the black. Then I duplicate the layers using different transfer modes. Then I change the colors. In this video I used red, blue and black, but I had to tweak it a lot to achieve the same red in the shirts. The last thing I do is add a favorite effect preset I have made that I call the “bajs filter” (can’t translate that one). That setting is something I have worked out after numerous projects and that gives the material that extra touch. I use it on almost all my projects. It’s not like a film-look filter because I don’t see the point in trying to achieve that because it’s not very interesting . I’m more into trying to see how far and what kind of look I can get using DV. It’s still a new medium and I believe there is a lot you can do if keep experimenting.