House Call – Independent TV Show Pilot

 

Back in February, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the production and post-production teams for a local Phoenix, Arizona independent TV show pilot called “House Call”. Written and Directed by Jonathan R. Millard and Chancellor J. Lastra, and photographed by Joshua M. Lambeth, House Call is an independent production by their company, Second Chance Productions. This 13-minute video is only the first part of the approximately 45-minute full TV show pilot that Second Chance intends to film the rest of later this year. My role during production on the show was as the Boom Operator. And during post-production, I was the Sound Editor and one of the Film Editors. I designed and edited the opening main title sequence, as I previously posted here on my blog.

We recorded the sound (i.e. dialogue) on the shoot using a Sennheiser shotgun boom microphone (rented from Broadcast Rentals) attached via XLR cable to two different digital audio recorders: the Marantz PMD-661 Professional Portable Flash Field Recorder and the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder). We primarily used the Marantz recorder for most of the sound, but also recorded some sound on the Zoom H2. In post-production, using Avid Pro Tools 8 LE, I mastered, mixed, and edited the sound for the entire production. I found the recorded sound from the Zoom H2 to be lesser in quality than the Marantz unit. Now it might have been partly due to two different Sound Mixers who each provided their own digital audio recording equipment, one with the Zoom H2 and one with the Marantz PMD-661, or it might have just been the lesser quality of the Zoom H2 recorder. I’m not 100% sure, but my gut tells me that the Marantz is a better sound recorder since it’s a higher end piece of equipment from a more professional sound company. I’m leaning towards getting the Marantz recorder for my own production gear.

While not a “perfect” professional sound mix, I’m pretty pleased with what we did in a very short time and with the budget (basically zero) we had. The sound is better than most zero budget amateur/independent productions. I assisted with selecting music for the show as well. My contributions for music included choosing the opening track during the main titles, which is “Tribulations” by LCD Soundsystem, and choosing “Scheming Weasel (Faster Version)” by Kevin MacLeod from http://www.incompetech.com (a royalty free music site), which plays during the breakfast house scene. I also worked with Chance in music editing for “I Need A Doctor (featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey)” by Dr. Dre, which plays during the opening jail scene. The other music choices that we chose as a team include “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith (off the Armageddon Soundtrack), “Right Round” by Flo Rida, and “Whiskey On The Mississippi” also by Kevin MacLeod from http://www.incompetech.com (which plays during the birthing scene at the end). All of the mainstream music are placeholders to give the pilot the emotional feel that we were looking for, but the rights to use that music have not yet been obtained. Obviously if this show gets picked up, alternate music would need to be selected/created, or the rights obtained to use the music we selected.

While not the typical type of TV show or film work that I would create on my own, House Call was great to be a part of the team on. The guys at Second Chance Productions are all professional, talented, and hungry to put their skills to work in Hollywood, as I am. I’m pleased and proud to have been a part of this project and hope to continue collaborating with these guys on future productions.

House Call – Main Titles

I’ve been extremely privileged this past month to be a part of the production and post-production teams for a local Phoenix, Arizona independent TV show pilot called “House Call”. Written and Directed by Jonathan R. Millard and Chancellor J. Lastra, House Call is an independent production by their company Second Chance Productions. My role during production on the show was as the Boom Operator. And during post production, I’ve been one of the Film Editors and the Sound Editor. One of my jobs as a Film Editor was to design and edit the main title sequence for the show. Co-Director and Producer Chance Lastra shot a bunch of video footage in Las Vegas, Nevada that he wanted to use for the title sequence since the show was set there. The footage was all shot in partial HD on a mini handheld camcorder. Shot at night, most of the footage had a rough, out-of-focus look, but with an incredible kaleidoscope of light and color. Upon first watching it, I immediately had the thought that this video footage looked like it was shot by someone driving through Vegas as a tourist. My concept for the title sequence was simple: to embrace the fast, choppy, abstract, and artistic look of the handheld video footage and use it in a quick-paced edit set to quick-paced music.

This 44-second main title video uses my favorite bits of Chance’s footage. The video starts with a royalty-free HD clip of time-lapse aerial video over Las Vegas from DigitalJuice.com. But everything else was shot by Chance. All the work putting together this motion-graphics video sequence was done in Adobe After Effects CS5. For the titles themselves, I chose a font called “spotlight” that had a neon sign look, apropos for the Vegas setting. The music is “Tribulations” from LCD Soundsystem, which is the “placeholder” music that inspired me for this video and what I cut too. The music will get replaced eventually since we don’t have the rights to use it for the show, but it definitely had the feel and beat that I was looking for. I’ve gotten pretty attached to it now, but I’m sure we can have something with a similar tone created for the show. Or maybe we can get LCD Soundsystem to let us use their song? You never know!

Sons of Anarchy – Season 3 FX Promo

I absolutely love this promo for FX’s tv show Sons of Anarchy. The use of a remix version of The Doors song “Roadhouse Blues” is awesome! I’ve never watched the show…but its on my list to catch up on. This promo looks spectacular in black&white when I’ve seen it on my 40″ LCD TV. Brilliant creative work by whoever the folks were behind this spot.