The Frausdots appropriately titled couture, couture, couture (Sub Pop Records) features dreamy, melodic tunes by longtime Angeleno musician Brent Rademaker. Enterprising music video director Robert Schober (Holopaw) tries his hand at shaping this atmospheric piece on a very low budget. Lots of insight below. The Frausdots are currently planning a tour of the United States.
MVW: What is the story behind the production of the “Dead Wrong” music video?
Robert Schober: I had already done a video for Michael Johnson, who’s a friend, and his band Holopaw. I was looking for another band to work with for my reel and he told me about his absolute favorite band on Sub Pop Records called Frausdots. I could easily check them out because they live in L.A. So I got a hold of some singles and was really, really into them. They were doing a series of free shows at Spaceland in Silver Lake so I went to see them to see if they’d be interested in doing a free video. They seemed interested so I gave them my reel but I didn’t hear from them that week so I went to another show. They just hadn’t had time to look at it but were still interested. They saw it a couple of days later and were really excited.
Brent Rademaker and Michelle Loiselle, who are the main part of the band, and I started looking at a lot of fashion books and at photo shoots they’d done and looked at old New Wave record album covers that they like. They showed me a picture of a Roy Lichtenstein painting and talked about how about they wanted to see people put into an environment like that but make it look different than stuff they’d already seen. We decided to do it with a green screen. Leigh Watson at Revolver got me in touch with a DP named Bobby Era. He’s directed a few videos that I’ve seen and I really like his work. He had a DVX to shoot it with and Revolver got us a green screen and some interns come help assist in gaffing and gripping. I couldn’t track down a studio space that was going to fit into my tiny budget so my girlfriend helped us out with place to shoot. She works at a big medical complex in Culver City that her boss owns. They demolished the third floor, which is a massive space that looks like a studio and gave us permission to use that after hours. We set up the green screen and shot it all within four hours basically from 8:00 to midnight. That was all the time we had to get as many shots as possible.
MVW: The washed out black and white look really works well with the effects and gives the video that 80’s look that you were talking about.
RS: Yeah, it’s like looking at a Joy Division album cover or old black and white photos of Ian Curtis or somebody like that. Most fashion photography is done in black and white. Lots of these albums were independently distributed and produced so they used a lot of black and white photography and four-color graphics on those record covers.
It was a conscious decision to go black and white for that look but I also knew that shooting digital green screen the edges were going to be rough and weird things would go on with the colors on the edges no matter what we did with it. Everything is pulled in shake. I got the absolute best pulls I could get for it being DV. All that stuff is less noticeable when you go to black and white and it helps the contrast.
It worked out for the best because of the limitation of how I was shooting my green screen and also using that aesthetic it would make the most sense to shoot it that way.
MVW: I had not heard the band before but it’s a good song and the visuals are a great fit.
RS: Brent has played in a lot of bands, like Beachwood Sparks, which is kind of a psychedelic band that’s been on Sub Pop for a number of years. In the 90’s, he was in a shoe gazer grunge type project with his brother called Further. This is the first project where he is in charge. It’s a record that he has wanted to do for years.
MVW: How did the editing process work?
RS: It became a two step process because I synced all of my shots together, making sure that everything was the exact length of the song. Then I threw them into a time line in After Effects and rendered out the frames I wanted then went back and timed the effects to the music. The first few cuts of the video were based on maybe four or five shots. It was too slow and hard to watch but I wanted to get the aesthetic nailed in place first and then go in and get things going with the music. So it was kind of a backward process of filling in frames until it looked right.
MVW: There could be endless versions of this video.
RS: That was kind of the idea, I guess, to fill in different locations or themes, then try out several of them and render a low resolution draft of it then flip through and see which one I liked the best. Since there wasn’t any narrative and it wasn’t very closely story boarded, it was kind of a process of just seeing it all fit together as it was being done.
Producer- Leigh Watson (Revolver)
Director, Editor, Graphics- Robert Schober
DP- Bobby Eras (New York office)
Location Manager- Maeve Sullivan
Edit Assist – Gene Strocco (GS3 productions)
Hair/Make Up – Vanessa Price