Trapped! But “We’ll Be Fine” by Rebecca Ferguson

It’s been quite some time since I’ve released a self-made video. I can safely say that “The Pulse of the City” video for Hothouse is to blame, as well as my entire first semester of senior year at BU.

I recently came across X-Factor UK runner-up Rebecca Ferguson, a woman who’s soulful voice is immense and entrancing. A song from her second hit studio album (“Freedom”) entitled “We’ll Be Fine” struck me – it’s an intense song, one that echoes about in your head, constantly reminding you that you’ll always be fine, no matter the situation.

With a low battery on my camera, a laziness to charge it, and a desire to create something fun for myself, I threw myself into the fresh Connecticut snow and created this vision of my character being trapped by an invisible force field. He eventually calms down and escapes – an easy depiction of being fine, but an interesting one. I took some of the same visuals from my flick for “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry, which I think has the same successful effect.

Let me know: ya feelin’ fine?

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The Pulse of the City: Kenmore Square

For the past four months of this semester, I’ve been enrolled in a class entitled Hothouse Productions, which is a student-run client-driven production company based at BU.

The goal of the semester? Make the best video for your client. Or else.

Goal met. Goal met big time.

My group and I – Kellan Reck, Katie Wolosoff, and Brian Gallagher AKA Team Kenmore – took on Hotel Commonwealth, a popular Boston hotel in Kenmore Square, as our client. We met with the hotel management, who charged us with the task of creating a promotional video not for them, but for Kenmore Square.

Shooting time lapses in Kenmore Square.
Shooting time lapses in Kenmore Square.

What’s the purpose of that? The hotel wanted to promote the special area Kenmore has become for the city. Kenmore used to be quite the dodgy neighborhood, but now, thanks to the hotel and thriving businesses in the square, Kenmore has quite literally become the heart of Boston. It’s pulse.

Kenmore Square is the where you see the pulse of the city.

More time lapses!
More time lapses!

Our resulting work below represents some of the most satisfying work my Brian, Katie, Kellan, and I have ever done. From shooting on the roof of the hotel in the wee hours of the morning to staying up way past our bedtime for lil meetings that became quite the bonding moments for us, we’ve created not just a promotional video for Hotel Commonwealth to share on their website, but a tribute to Kenmore. A tribute to Boston.

Why would you need to go anywhere else?

Shooting on the roof of Hotel Commonwealth.
Shooting on the roof of Hotel Commonwealth.

BIG BIG BIG special thanks to our professor, Barry Nolan, and his wife, Garland Waller, for all of their help in making this a success.

Producer: Brian Gallagaher

Associate Producer: Katie Wolosoff

Director: Kellan Reck

Editor & Media Manager: Chris Roys

Written by: Katie Wolosoff, Chris Roys & Brian Gallagaher

Narrator: Will Keary

Executive Producer: Barry Nolan

“The Biggest Loser Australia” Opening Titles

While interning with ZSPACE in Australia in 2012, I helped the crew work on the pitch and pre-production for the new opening titles to Australia’s “The Biggest Loser: The Next Generation.”

My duties included helping the company prepare their pitch to the showrunners in order to get the job. Once we (hooray!) got the job, we had to scout locations and plan out the logistics of the actual shoot. I unfortunately had to leave the country before the shoot happened, as my study abroad program had ended, but the final product is ultimately an emotive piece of work. I’m proud of the work the company did with this, capturing the strength of Cyndi Lauper’s track to represent the strength the competitors need to discover and embody.

Behind the Scenes: “Let Her Go”

UPDATE: Watch the new, full video here!

I’m not usually one to take people behind the camera lens as I create my videos (unless I’m getting paid to!), but with my upcoming work for Passenger’s breakout hit “Let Her Go” I just had the urge to. Sometimes you just gotta roll with those urges.

“Let Her Go” is an extremely evocative song, filled with so much emotion, perfectly balancing heartbreak with happiness and a tinge of future uncertainty. I used all three in creating my vision for the song.

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While I don’t want to spoil the premise of the whole film, I will say that I structured it as a film within a film. One character finds a DVD another character left behind and plays it, watching all the heartbreak, happiness, and future uncertainty unfold before his own eyes. It’s more of a film that will illustrate an acceptance of the blending of those three.

I’m struggling, however, with the effects, as I want a nostalgic tone, but not so much so that it looks like a movie from the ’80s (which has been a bit of my mantra the past couple of films). It’s a bit of challenge to separate what’s the real film and what’s the film on the DVD, but I’ve been working out different methods on this challenge.

One thing is for sure, though, it’s all slowly but surely coming together. As it always does, I suppose.

But hey, if we can’t celebrate the coming together but only the finished product, where’s the fun in that?

Reliving “127 Hours”

My final project for the Post Production FX Editing class I took this past spring semester was to take the film “127 Hours” and create a brand new trailer. I needed to propose a reason as to why I wanted to create a new trailer, and how mine would be different.

The film is largely an internal look at Aron Ralston’s character development – what led him to this horrible circumstance, and how he learns from them to get out of it. From that standpoint, I developed a trailer that tracked his journey to the moment he was trapped by the rock, filled with spots of the moments in his life that marked momentous decisions or serious character traits (read: flaws).

Beginning with Dido’s “Blackbird,” I segued into Oliver Tank’s “Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion,” a song most know from the viral YouTube Aussie hit “It’s Time.” Tank’s synths develop the sympathy towards Aron’s character I wished to portray.

The final result might actually bring a tear to your eye.

Imagine a Dream: “Demons” by Imagine Dragons

This post is essentially the “how to create a video using very little footage” blog post, as I did with my newest video for “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. I uploaded this video a while ago, but I finally had a spare second to write about why it looks and is composed the way it is.

After watching the video, if you’re confused, let me break down the story behind this film. A guy has a fear of jumping off the swing in his dreams, and his inner demons keep laughing at him and keeping him from successfully banishing this fear. The video depicts the battle between that inner demon and himself, after which our main hero prevails.

Now you might say WTF to all of that, because the video looks a bit shitty – to be blunt – with the constant reuse of footage. That repetition was important in 2 ways: 1) I didn’t have enough time to film or enough resources or crew (just myself!) and 2) I felt that dreams played out through repetition of images; it doesn’t have to make sense, the order that they appear in. I used the second reason to fix the first reason.

Using much of the same footage allowed me to illustrate how exactly what we show on the surface can be seen the same way, but in a different light at the same time. A bit contradictory, but I believe it makes sense in the long run.

I battled the demon of having next-to-no footage, and won!

Freedom in Travel: Dido’s “No Freedom”

For my FX Editing class this semester, we were tasked one week to create a music video using any techniques we had learned in AfterEffects, Photoshop, and Avid thus far. The goal of the video was to present something about ourselves – sort a biographical film piece.

I could’ve easily chosen to make a high-energy jump rope video, since I’d been competing and demo-ing for twelve or thirteen years of my life. But coming back from abroad made me nostalgic for all the travelling I’ve done, and so I chosen to present the scope of the world through my eyes. I decided to show Africa, Australia, and New Zealand using Dido’s newest song “No Freedom.”

I chose “No Freedom” not because of my bias towards Dido’s easy harkening of nostalgia and emotion in general, but because the lyrics of the song created the sense of finding freedom in doing what you love. I love travelling. And I hope this video shows it.

“No freedom without love.”

P.S. Happy 60th post!

AfterEffects: Title Animations

After playing around with 3D images, I decided to move on to text animations using tutorials from Video Copilot.

The first two were basic – one with a flash, and the other using 3D space to create the sense of a room.

The following three title animations had the foundation of a tutorial from Video Copilot, but I took them all a step further and played with different provided effects. The first one is the original. The second took on a more Christmas vibe. And the third, my personal favorite, is using more of a glow effect.

The final title/text animation I created is one that I’ve started to place at the beginning of each new video I upload. I used the 3D camera much more intuitively with this one, again using help from Video Copilot.

3D Images in AfterEffects

During my internship with ZSPACE in Australia, I was introduced to AfterEffects and took it upon myself to teach myself its inner workings. I began with transforming basic 2D images into 3D images.

My first attempt was this lovely iceberg image. Not only did I make the iceberg 3D (even though you can totally tell it’s fake), I added moving water to the composition as well. Hooray experiments.

My second attempt had the goal of being simple and clean. This 3D image of flying birds, I believe, turned out very nicely and allowed me to be more precise in the creation and animation of this still.

Shadows in Color: “Dark Paradise” by Lana Del Rey

If there was ever a spontaneous music video, this would be it.

But seriously. Thanks to the blizzard named Nemo, I found myself cooped inside my room for a few hours too long. Couple that with the Lana Del Rey kick I’ve been on recently, and oo la la. Maybe oo la la isn’t the best way to put it, but you can be the judge of that.

I glanced around my room looking for inspiration. Ironically, the big blank wall caught my attention. Then began creation.

I simply filmed myself singing the lyrics (and if you look closely enough…oops, I messed up some of the lyrics), and the rest of the effects were performed in post production. I threw on mirror effects any which way I could, and added the gradients to the chorus to emphasize the difference between dark and color – the difference between erotic and not. During the final chorus, you can find a moment where my my actual self grazes the chin of my mirror-self. Holla erotica.

For a sensual woman, I made a sensual video. Have at me.