Author Archives: MVWire

Kaboom Launches Music Video Division Boom

Los Angeles & San Francisco, CA – With director brandon dickerson as its central directorial talent, kaboom productions has launched music video division BOOM. For dickerson, who is known for his clips for Sixpence None The Richer, Thousand Foot Krutch, Dishwalla, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Vince Gill and Switchfoot, the move was sparked by the desire to have complete representation under one roof. For kaboom founder/executive producer lauren schwartz, establishing BOOM further solidifies the company as a complete content provider.

“This is an exciting time for music videos. With PDAs and the internet requiring more creative content, I truly believe that we will see a resurgence in the demand for quality music videos,” says Executive Producer lauren schwartz. “Being someone who has always had a passion for music (and is a singer/songwriter on the side) the idea of opening BOOM to blend my love for music, our knowledge of great production, and a desire to have all these assets under one roof, made the BOOM move a natural next step.”

Initially, the music video division will focus on the talent of brandon dickerson, with possible future signings. dickerson was most recently represented by Merge@Crossroads in the music video arena, was the owner/director of his own successful music video company Spiral Films and enjoyed a brief stint at Propaganda before they closed.

dickerson is known for pushing technical boundaries presenting a combination of subtle humor, authentic performance, and beautiful images in both his commercial and music video projects. A rare talent, he works in a wide range of styles both in commercials and music videos.

“I’ve always enjoyed directing Music Videos,” comments dickerson. “From no-budget one-man indie rock shoots to high gloss VH1 fare, I continue to enjoy the creative process. My main goal is to craft inspired visuals that naturally fuse with original songwriting. If the two become one you end up with everyone happy – from the video commissioner to the lead singer’s girlfriend.”

In the commercial realm, one of his most acclaimed spots (garnering numerous awards including the Cannes Gold Lion, D&AD, and an AICP award) for the SF Jazz Fest shows off his subtle visual comedy talents. He also has a vast portfolio of “real people” work for PDFA, and Autodesk, among others; and is known for his music video-inspired fashion work with such clients as JC Penny, Converse, Mervyn’s and Dockers.

In the music video arena, his talents are just as diverse, working in several different genres — from edgy with such artists as Switchfoot &, Thousand Foot Crutch; to classic pop like Jump 5 and Play; to beauty and glamour including Sixpence None the Richer and the top-selling, internationally-recognized Lebanese Diva Elissa filmed in Prague and Beirut.

dickerson drives his passion for storytelling by pursuing a variety of creative talents beyond commercials and music videos, to include documentaries, screenwriting and photography. In the vein of a true “creative content” master- dickerson has served as both director and photographer for commercial campaigns, putting his imprint in both the film and print world for such clients as Famous Footwear and Converse. And in the music video world, he is often called on to shoot album covers and has done so for such artists such as Jeremy Camp, Matt Redman, and the band Everyone.

Drawing on true-life inspiration, dickerson’s short film satirizing the work of “professional music video actors” was showcased at Resfest in 33 countries around the globe, as well as the MVPA’s Directors Cuts Festival and the Coachella Film Festival.

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Freeze Frame: Tom Waits Video Highlights Rock Photographer’s Talen

As an artist who is used to shooting legendary music icons such as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen and Tupac Shakur, photographer Danny Clinch is becoming a legend in his own right. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Spin, GQ, New York Times Magazine, and other publications, and he has published two books, ìDiscovery Inn,î in 1998; and ìWhen the Iron Bird Fliesî in 2001.

In recent years, Clinchís passion for imagery, music, and stories has come together at Three on the Tree Productions, a New York City-based boutique film company that Clinch founded in 2003. Clinch has expanded his horizons to include music videos, concert films, and documentaries into his repertoire. His most recent project is a music video for Tom Waitsí latest album, ìOrphans,î a creative endeavor that started out as a series of publicity stills before taking on a life of its own. The video, ìLie to Me,î rhythmicallyóand energeticallyóanimates Clinchís still photos of Waits playing his guitar near a roadside cafÈ.

MVWire: Could you talk about how you were awarded the video?

Danny Clinch: I was photographing Tom for publicities for his new box set CD – Orpahns and we were out at this little bizarre roadside cafÈ that is out in the country of Northern California around were Tom lives. I have done a fair amount of film work, a couple of music videos, documentaries, concert films, etc. The idea for these photographs is Ö Tom showed up with a truckload full of old vintage speakers and cassette players and radios, etc. and decided that we would build this speaker cabinet behind him. (It was) what you think a Tom Waits speaker cabinet would look like, with all these crazy bells and whistles. Then we plugged his guitar into it and we were shooting these photographsÖ it was just sort of an amazing location; everything came together and we were all so excited about itómyself and my assistant and Tom kind of built this thing together, over a cup of coffee.

We were super excited about it and Tom looked at me and said, ìItís too bad that we do not have a video cameraÖ this would make a great video.î Then he said, ìMaybe I can have my wife run out with her video camera,î and it didnít go farther than that. I said, ìWell, check it out. Why donít I load something in my 35 mm camera, Iíll burn through it really fast as I go through the motions and we will create something that is just really raw and I can animate those stillsñrun them together and we will create something that is just really raw, something that is not lip synced, something that is just super down and dirtyñyou know, style.î Of course, he got a big smile on his face and he was like, (in a rough Tom Waits voice) ìYeah, that sounds great.î We jumped on it; he went through it a couple of times. He did sing the chorus a few times so it might appear there is a moment of lip sync in there, maybe not. We loaded it all into the computer and started pushing it around.

MVWire: Did you talk to the label about it at all?

DC: I just called them and said, Tom said that he wanted to consider turning this thing into a video. Matt at the label said, ìWhat would it cost to do it?î We gave him an idea; they just wanted to keep it super Lo Fi. We were going to throw some animation into the mix, some drawings that were done on glass, it was pretty cool. In the end I think they just wanted to keep it super Lo Fi and I was all for it. We just stripped it down to the barest essentials.

MVWire: So the video was something that was inspiration, in the moment.

DC: The opportunity to do something like that with Tom was just Ö I didnít care what it was going to cost.

He is fantastic; he is one of the most creative guys, he is very restless as wellÖ He doesnít like to sit still for too long. If you are taking a photograph of him, you might get two frames of the same pose and the next thing you know he is off doing something else. You have to be able to work fast, which is why I think I got the gig with him.

He is all for the creative process; he is always coming up with ideas and participating. You have some people that just sit there and are looking for direction all the time and there are others that actually participate in the creative process, and thatís what he does and he is always bringing something to the table.

He is definitely into itÖ he is a super creative guy and has a lot of great ideas, a lot of them are super simpleóa lot of time the more simple the better

For example at one point Ö the publicist had asked me to get couple of simple head shots that they could use. After a couple of frames he looked at me and said, ìOK, are we done here? Because I feel like I am getting my hair cut.î

MVWire: What was the actual process of creating the video?

DC: I shot the stills with a motor drive on handheld. I just shot a bunch of frames consecutively and had him kind of running around and he was really giving it up which was really kind of cool.

I shot it several times over and over again and then said, ìLetís do a few close ups of your face, feet and things like that so that we would have some things to cut away toÖ letís do a couple that are really wide.î Basically I was thinking like an editor, I was coming in close then backing up wide, having him doing some motion.

I had never done anything like that before. When I got back and loaded it into the computer I talked to a friend of mine that knows the process and she was very excited and she said, ìYou shot this on a tripod, right?î I said, ìNo,î and she said, ìOoo.î And I said, ìWhat do you mean?î She said, ìWell, if you shoot it on a tripod, the background stays steady and the subject moves throughout the background, and thatís how you get it animated to make sense.î I said, ìYou (know) what, it doesnít have to make senseóitís Tom Waits.î

MVWire: What went into creating the black and white look of the video?

DC: I used color film for the most part. I drained all the color out of it in the edit and added a lot of contrast to itÖ (and) edited on Final Cut Pro.

MVWire: What was the editing process once you had the images loaded into the computer?

DC: Another friend of mine, Tosh, he is really an animator and we started to work on it. As I said, we were putting animation in with the stills. He started it and loaded it into the computer and just started to align the cut together. Once he did that, he put the images in some sort of order. I came in came up with the idea of stopping at certain points and having areas where you could actually freeze on the photo.

I did belabor over it; it is Tom Waits and I wanted to give it my best.

Instant Karma: DP Jim Matlosz Animates “My Name is Earl”

With a career that reflects good karma, good luck, or perhaps a little of both, Director of Photography Jim Matlosz has worked with some of the top names in advertising and feature films, including Tim Burton on “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” For the past 16 years this cameraman-turned-cinematographer has worked on numerous commercials, music videos, features, and documentaries in a variety of film and video formats.

About a year ago, Matlosz’ visual effects skills attracted the attention of the producers of the hit NBC sitcom, “My Name is Earl.” Now in its second season, the series depicts how the title character, Earl, tries to improve his karma by undoing all the wrongs he had committed earlier in life. Matlosz’ team was tasked with creating some stop motion animation for some scenes in which Earl’s brother Ricky hallucinates that everyone around him is animated.

MVWire recently interviewed Matlosz about how he initially landed the project and put together the stop motion animation segments for the “Rob a Stoner Blind” episode of “My Name is Earl.”

MVWire: Talk about starting the project.

Jim Matlosz: A friend of mine works for a company that does 24-frame playback for several TV Shows called Jargon Entertainment. I shot some smaller budget stuff for them like internet interstitials and lower budget broadcast commercials. The owner does all the 24-frame playback for the TV shows; he overheard a conversation that they wanted someone to shoot some stop motion for My Name is Earl. He was very interested in it but (had) limited experience with the format. Shortly afterwards I met the guy and he found out that not only had I worked on “Nightmare Before Christmas” but had shot a short indie film called “Oedipus” that played at Sundance in 2003.

He talked to the producers about me and that was about November of last year. So there was talk about us shooting in February/March of last year. The truth is they didn’t have a script; all the scripts were approved and finished, (so) they’d get back to us the following season.

In July of 2006 Jargon Entertainment called and said they have a script and want us to read it. They are probably going to green light it, (so) let’s put a budget together. By the end of July 2006 the script was approved and budget was approved after some severe cuts.

We started building puppets and sets in August, and started shooting October 1st.

MVWire: Was it a long process?

JM: We already had our crew put together for budgeting purposes as far as animators, people to build sets, people to build puppets, people to break down dialogue… myself to shoot it, lighting, grip—all that kind of stuff.

The puppet makers started about mid-August building the puppets, which gave them six weeks. You have to do sketches … How do you want them to look? Do you want them to look exactly human or characters? We went with more of a caricature design. Chris Rybolt was actually one of our puppet makers (who) is also a sketch artist (and) also did the final sketches. They started building the puppets once all the sketches were approved. My friend John Millhouser designed and had the sets built by some mutual friends of his that are miniature and stop motion set builders. They had to be exact replicas of the live action set, scale to scale, everything had to be exact. I mean, down to a bottle of beer on the counter or something on the shelf; flowers and curtains and the exact same materials on the floor and everything. The minute detail is pretty amazing.

MVWire: How many people did it actually take to make the episode happen?

JM: As far as puppet makers there were at least four or five. The lead puppet maker was a guy named Rob Ronning, a good friend of mine who also did “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James the Giant Peach,” “Monkey Bones” as well countless commercials.

We had three or four set builders, a total of four animators but only two working full time. (With) myself as camera, grip and electric, (and) data wrangler…Once the show was done I would transfer to a Zip drive, make backups and hand that over to the editor who would then convert the file, remove all the flicker convert to a 1920 x 1080 QuickTime and then ship it over to production.

MVWire: How were the puppets made?

JM: They are foam armature puppets that have dated back since stop motion began back to the original King Kong in 1933 and even before that. They are cast heads made of a hard resin, and then what they do is replace the eyelids to get blinks and mouths to get dialogue.

MVWire: You guys kind of did your own thing, right?

JM: We were invited to the live action set and were there most of the day. I was there for most of the live action shooting to get an idea of the reference and interact with the director, basically just feel it out. This way when I got into the animation world I would know … have a better feel for what I was trying to portray. I took a bunch of reference stills but never looked at them. We had a QuickTime of the shot and would use that as a reference and add my own personal touch.

MVWire: What were the cameras and lights you used on this project?

JM: We used Canon digital still cameras – 20Ds—my preference for shooting stop motion. The drawback is that it does not give you a live video signal out.

MVWire: How did you pick up working in stop motion?

JM: I worked in visual effects and then I was out of work for almost a year. Then I was lucky enough to get picked up as a camera assistant on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and was on that show for nine months. The DP was brilliant, inspirational; I learned a ton off of him. I didn’t touch stop motion for another ten years.


Animated Segment produced by Jargon entertainment:

Producers: Lucas Soloman / Sean Buck
DP: Jim Matlosz
Animation Consultant: Chris Calvi
Animators: Joe Mello / Chris Finnegan /
Tennesee Reed Norton
Sketch Artist: Chris Rabel
Puppet Fabrication: Rob Ronning and Company

Cut + Run’s David Checel Edits Bryan Barber-Directed Feature Film ‘Idlewild’

Los Angeles, CA – For the upcoming feature film “Idlewild,” in theaters August 25th, director Bryan Barber tapped Cut + Run Editor David Checel to bring his music video editing experience to the dance and music sequences in the film (the dialogue sections were cut by veteran film editor Anne Gousard). The movie is the feature-directing debut for Barber, the award-winning director and longtime OutKast music video collaborator for whom Checel has edited numerous music videos including OutKast’s “Roses” and Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man.”

Starring multi-platinum and multi-Grammy winning OutKast members André Benjamin (André 3000) and Antwan A. Patton (Big Boi), “Idlewild” tells the story of the loves and ambitions of two struggling performers is told through intricate musical numbers and vibrantly choreographed dance sequences. Set against the backdrop of a 1930s southern speakeasy, “Idlewild” explores the lives of Percival (Benjamin), the club’s shy piano player, and Rooster (Patton), the club’s showy lead performer and manager. The all-star cast is a roster of some of the most notable performers in film and music today and includes new songs from OutKast’s forthcoming album, also titled “Idlewild.”

In addition to the film’s music sequences, Checel cut the film’s title sequence –working hand-in-hand with both Barber and DJ Swiff from Outkast — as well as various transitions throughout the film.

“It was exciting to have the opportunity to work with Bryan on the feature and bring our unique collaboration and process, one forged in music videos, to the long-form realm,” says Checel. “We really see film as very elastic, and did some crazy manipulation of the images, along with high-energy edits, which set the tone for the project overall.”

Adding to his contribution to the feature, Checel edited the accompanying Barber-helmed OutKast music video “Morris Brown,” an effects-driven piece that places the band in fantastic and fanciful locations. For this project, Checel edited much of the video via his laptop at the effects company Moneyshots.

“The music video offered a radically different creative challenge,” he continues, “because each element – all the cars on the roller coaster, for example – were shot separately on green screen and necessitated a constant dialogue between Bryan, me and the Elad Offer of Moneyshots. I worked there so we could all be together and benefit from the continuous exchange of ideas.”

Lightborne Ups The Ante In New Music Video For Atmosphere

Cincinnati, OH – Another day, another seedy, strange motel room. “Say Hey There” is the latest music video from Atmosphere, the popular Midwest underground hip-hop duo of Slug and Ant, and their new album “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having.” The video premiered on MTV and will also be shown on mtvU, the network’s 24-hour college channel.

Watch: Atmosphere “Say Hey There”

Directed by motion design and production collective Lightborne, “Say Hey There” is a voyeuristic view of an evening in a seedy roadside motel. Within the low-lit rooms, you see a variety of different “slice of life” experiences that range from an orgiastic suicide girls’ sleepover to gospel singers singing on the road to who-knows-where.

Atmosphere is a group built on hip-hop principles influenced from the pioneering years of rap music, but with their own personal, honest and original mid-western contribution. The “Say Hey There” video was inspired by Atmosphere’s non-stop and grueling tour schedule and all the shenanigans that come with life on the road.

Slug (aka Sean Daley) is the lyricist of Atmosphere and part owner of Rhymesayers, an indie hip-hop label, which represents many other artists. Ant (aka Anthony Davis) is the producer of the group. The label has had a longstanding relationship with Lightborne Creative Director Chris Gliebe who was responsible for designing Atmosphere’s logo, the Rhymesayers logo, and several album cover designs for other artists on the label. Lightborne was later commissioned by the group to create the video for their 2003 song, “Trying To Find A Balance.”

Upon seeing the promotional materials and cover of the group’s new album, Gliebe was enthused by the candid look of the photography and chosen subject matter.

“The struggle of life as a touring musician is what much of this album is about as evidenced by sarcastic title,” explains Gliebe. “That’s where the motel theme came into play, as well as casting some of their friends to play parts. I decided to take the sleazy motel, road/life concept one step further in my treatment and push it into the realm of retro motel fetish with stylized pin-up girls, colorful locals, and weary travelers all mixed together to create a colorful visual feast.”

The wardrobe, casting, lighting and set design were created to have a dark cinema noir type of feel, but with a few modern twists. Besides Slug’s interactions with the various girls in the video, the other characters help to create odd back-stories and additional meaning to Slug’s heavy lyrics.

Gliebe cites Atmosphere’s busy tour commitments as the main challenge to picking a location and shooting the video, which was rescheduled several times. Finding the right motel and cast also proved to be much harder than initially thought.

“Rhymesayers and Atmosphere has always put a lot of trust in Lightborne and me to come through with a quality product,” concludes Gliebe. “They are very involved in the creative decision-making process, which is why they are so successful as an indie label. It’s easy to get good results when the client and you share common interests, viewpoints, and aesthetics. There is also a certain level of comfort when you’re working with a return client that puts everybody at ease and allows you to create something really great.”