Last week I spent about half an hour under a bridge with some musicians, 2 guitars, a microphone and a camera.
About 2 hours of post-production later, I released a music video for one of my new collaborators: Edward Guglielmino.
Edward Guglielmino – Late At Night (Bridge Sessions) from Jaymis.
The idea for this piece was that it start out looking like it was shot on a camera phone, and seamlessly segue into a lovely HD panorama. The camera was locked-off on a tripod. All zoom and camera moves were created in After Effects. I’m very happy with the effect, but that’s not really why I post it here. I’ve been considering, discussing, and planning my future as a visualist, and I’d like to share some of where I’m aiming, and hear what you, lovely CDM readers, are pointing your considerable talents towards.
This video is part of a slightly new direction for me. Previously I’ve striven for “perfection” with every work. The cleanest image, the highest resolution, the perfect performance, the seamless post-production. These are all noble goals, clearly, but they’re not really compatible with an abundant output, and it’s an abundance of output which I feel is the way for myself – and others – to transition from weekend-VJ to full-time visualist.
After being part of a touring, album-releasing rock band for a year, I had a chance to meet a lot of gigging musicians all around Australia, and almost all of them loved the idea of a touring visualist. The concept of a “visual member” of a band has been around for a long time in the electronic music scene, but rock bands are rapidly becoming interested in our world. This seems to be creating a “seller’s market”, as the number of bands greatly outstrip the number of VJs, so it’s quite feasible to be involved in multiple projects.
The visualist also brings something quite obvious, but extremely valuable, to a band: Proficiency with video! Video is currently the most powerful medium for viral culture on the web (read: “in the world”), so if a band brings a visualist into their creative sphere, not only do they increase the visual impact of their shows, but they bring in the capability to create much more potent marketing material which spans the senses. Whether it’s full filmclips, live gig videos, or visual mixes to go with released tracks, as a visualist you have ample scope to become a core member of a band.
I think this integration is where the future of the music industry lies. Previously the model was to save up money and art, to take it somewhere secret for a long time, then eventually release a monolithic product – an album or a live show – and hope people identify with that. I feel the future of music and video is smaller, incremental works. Gathering fans steadily, through free, easily accessible releases in whatever media and networks are available, rather than holding out for the giant fanfare of an album or tour, which has a single shot at success.
Which is why I shot the Bridge Sessions with Edward Guglielmino. We spent a couple of hours – considerably less time than I wasted last year discussing CD packaging options or album revenue shares, and created something which lets people identify what we’re doing, to become fans, and to join our journey as artists. Because it’s a piece of art, some people will love it, some will think it’s boring, or terrible. If it was an album we’d spent a year making, those latter reactions would be a tragedy, but we only spent a couple of hours, which means we have another chance to turn those people into fans next week.