I was expecting to be buried deep in the credits of a film with lots of other cameramen when I got hired to shoot John Gurche at work in his studio on the reconstruction of the exciting new human ancestor, Homo Naledi, for National Geographic. Imagine my excitement yesterday, when I saw that they edited together my footage into a distinct film to itself!
Uniit Carruyo sings her own song, "Make It Up To You," backed up by Jeb Puryear (guitar), Sim Redmond (bass), Hank Roberts (cello) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums), at the newly-reopened Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg, New York November 29th. 2014.
A Motherlode Pictures production of a Bryan Root film, House sound by John Lloyd. Produced by Dan Paolangeli. Camera by Bryan Root, Dan Paolangeli, John Gurche and Jonas Puryear. Post-Production by Will Dailyrest.
Special thanks to Jessica Giles, Calf Audio, Luigi Llanos and Gregory McGrath.
In my opinion, a video should be more more than a commercial for a band. I worked art department doing MTV videos in Los Angeles in the 90s and, while I respect the creativity of the medium, I always feel a little embarrassed for everyone when the lip syncing starts.
The tension of filming real, live music informs every second when you have good camera people. It’s a dance between the camera and the musician and when the two hit a groove, there’s nothing else like it.
For me it’s about the moment of creation–and I like to shoot a band performing unplugged, or a song they haven’t yet gotten down cold. When real creativity is happening (as opposed to lip sync) and the cameras, the mics, and the lights are perfectly placed, you can see the thrill of the moment in musicians’ eyes. You can’t fake that.
I don’t like gimmicks or narratives. I don’t care if MTV says I have to have a cut every two seconds. If that’s important to you, I’m probably not the guy you’re looking for.
If musicians want to try acting, I’m all for it, let’s write a musical or a rock opera (on my to-do list), but let’s not pretend you’re singing your own song. I mean, really… we have microphones.
I have worked with several artist over the years. Bob Potts' kinetic sculptures, (above) have become a YouTube hit, and have gotten him into art shows all over the world. His show in Switzerland sold out last year. John Gurche, the paleo-artist who reconstructs early hominids was the first person to hire me here in Trumansburg--to document his works-in-progress for a the Human Origins wing of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. I have shot John's work for National Geographic as well.
I worked for several months as the film director for Finger Lakes Unplugged, a social networking site. We went to music festivals, set up a tent in the performers area, bought some refreshments, set up cameras, furniture, microphones and lights, and just shot what happened next. We called it "The Green Room Lounge." And because every band had a different configuration, and the light coming in from outside was always changing, we got really good at scrambling for shots.