I was just thinking today about how little of my stuff ever sees the light of day... Since my last blog I have hardly done anything other then take photos and video or edit pictures for people. As I was ploughing through it all, it did occur to me that lots of the stuff will never ever used for anything. Having said that, it has been a huge opportunity to try new things and learn from mistakes. So I thought that this wee blog could be spent going over what I learned.
I decided to pop along to The Fenton on Friday night. I wanted to see Quasimodo's debut and the Marching Men giving The Sisters back catalogue an outing. There wasn't much to learn at the gig, just a few reminders. Gigs in back/upstairs rooms of pubs are rarely lit well, but this was as dark as any place I can remember. The lead singer's spot in the centre of the stage was the very darkest spot of all. I should really just go along and watch these gigs, rather then trying to take any pics. The lesson from Friday was that a 5D Mk II, as good as it is, cannot deal with pitch black. I thought it might be a good opportunity to turn the ISO dial to maximum (6400) and see if it could cope. The simple answer is no. The image breaks up so badly that it really isn't worth it. The only point in Quasimodo's set that saw Joel, the lead singer, get enough light to take a pic was when the dry ice/smoke machine got turned on. The light, which was a footlight, seemed to bounce around in the cloud and create a sort of ball of light that actually managed last long enough to get a very noisy snap. The Marching Men disappeared entirely at the hands of the smoke machine, and the resultant fog closed Leeds Bradford Airport for several hours. So, pretty much all of the pics I took will never see the light of day, purely because they don't look good enough to put out there. Still, I enjoyed the gig. Quasimodo put in a good shift for their debut gig with a barrage of white falconesque guitar shenanigans. The Marching Men also delivered the most polished performance I have seen them deliver.
Saturday and Sunday were a bit of a blur. Shooting video snippets for The March Violets against a green screen background involving props, people, creatures, multiple cameras and loads of waiting around. There are many hours of footage to be looked at, the vast majority of which will simply get discarded. The whole of last week was spent setting this up and dealing with the variety of problems that cropped up. There were a couple of times when I thought that we would have to call it off, but we managed to get there in the end. The lesson from the weekend for me was that people really can make seemingly impossible things happen, and there is an awful lot of goodwill in the world. Mark Hubbard at Old Chapel Studios was a life saver, Anne Stokes at the Tower of Art was a delight and purveyor of fine props, Oliver pitched in with some cool camera work and the Cornwall massive (Amanda, Warren and Zena) went above and beyond the call of duty to help out. I think the DIY ethic in music is alive and well as long as folks rally around like that. The details of the video are under wraps for the moment, but there were enough challenges to have put paid to most projects, but folk really did make it happen against all odds.
I had arranged a photo shoot for a feature in Counterfeit Magazine for Sunday too. It was a bit too much to tackle on top of the hectic videoing schedule. Anyway, I begged some more time at Old Chapel (thanks again Mark) and thought that reusing the green screen set-up would work. Castrovalva are an interesting proposition. A three piece indie noise rock outfit from Leeds, they were lovely. I liked one of the tracks they had put up on Myspace. It struck me as sounding like a very noisy Frank Zappa (I stuck the link below)
So we did some fairly standard band shots, which I intended popping interesting backdrops on. Their lead singer mentioned the song, so we decided to try and create a golden widow shot. Of course the shot below only has six legs, but if it is good enough for Spiderman, it's good enough for me. I have spent a small age recovering from a green screen disaster since. Ant was wearing a baseball cap that had a green lining under the brim. This pretty much knackered my usual method of photoshopping the background out and lead to several hours messing around with Background Eraser and a little bit of pixel level erasing on a hairdo!
I was also asked to do another photo shoot for Section II, who were practicing at Old Chapel. I was really out of time and couldn't give it the appropriate level of attention. So I will pick up with them and do something a little more thoughtful later. I guess my learning from this one is not to squeeze things in without any planning.
So I now have a huge pile of editing to do, on top of a huge pile of existing editing..... I only actually edit a fraction of the stuff that I actually take, and only a fraction of that will see the light of day.....