New York Dolls Video Creates Perfect STORM
Jim Geduldick knew he was in for a fun but intense weekend when his friend, director Jeremy Johnstone—'JJ'—asked him to help record a music video on RED ONE MX for the New York Dolls' new album, Dancing Backward in High Heels. Jim was to act as RED advisor, DIT and post supervisor.
The concept for the video of "Fool For You Baby" was of a continuous collage of activities in a circus tent, revealed in one long, continuous, slow motion, tracking dolly shot.
Guitarist Syl Sylvain is the circus ringleader and, as the camera moves through the circus ring, other characters are revealed: a fire breather, a strongman, and eventually a sword swallower. Singer David Johansen appears initially at the back and slowly dances forward as he sings the lyrics.
To achieve this, the crew and talent had to carefully orchestrate their moves to be able to hit their marks at just the right time as the camera tracked past. This was complicated by the need to record at 120 frames per second to achieve the slow motion. In the morning they practiced the talent and dolly moves to get the speed right, and took some test shots. Jim grabbed the first test shots, loaded them into STORM and quickly strung them out on the timeline as an assemble edit. It was only then that JJ, the crew and the band could see how to adjust their performances to help achieve the vision.
Getting the timing right was not the only challenge. The "circus look" of the lighting meant that there were spots which had a sharp fall-off. "We were shooting at 500 ASA to 800 ASA on the MX sensor at 2K, so I knew we would have the latitude to push the image around," says Jim, "but I was concerned to ensure that we could protect the highlights and the mid-tones, especially when the talent got close to the spots." Jim used STORM's grading tools to audition the looks, starting with its base preset looks.
"Using the STORM preset looks meant that I could generate a look incredibly quickly, such as a sepia vignette, adapt it to suit JJ's vision, then save that to apply to other shots. It saved me so much time and meant that everyone could see what it was going to look like. The band was keen to take a look, too, and could then make suggestions to JJ."
All of this Jim did on his Mac Book Pro, without additional hardware. "I knew I was going to have to do some time re-mapping on some of the shots later in F_Kronos, but this gave me the confidence to know that it was all going to work out right. The ability to check the framing, exposure and timing of this complex sequence while also exploring the visual look of it so quickly and in one tool was a revelation," observes JJ.