So What Is Underground Planet?

Underground Planet is an award winning production company based in Austin Texas. From concept to completion we develop, plan, shoot and edit amazing videos for some of the most incredible bands and artist that a company like ours could ever hope to work with.

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Mar , 12

21

Daniel Whittington – Never Go Home

Artist: Daniel Whittington
Song: Never Go Home
Director: Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet

A couple weeks ago I got an email through the website from solo artist Daniel Whittington who was looking to get a music video made to support his just released “Private Wars” CD. Off to his website I went (danielwhittington.com) to give some of his tunes a listen. Loved em. Irish country, is that what his style is? Technically I’m still uncertain but being of Irish decent (though I feel more German as I’m adopted and was raised by parents of German decent, grandparents still spoke the language … okay, I’ve strayed and over shared and not for the first time have a run-on sentence that needs to end.) I dug it.

Anywhoo, I was leaning towards one song in particular and we were headed down the road to shoot that in a couple weeks or so when on Friday night, two days ago to be exact, he rang and said that for various reasons he had decided the first vid we do should be for “Never Go Home.” As back story I should add that I had just got done shooting red carpets and panel discussions for SXSW and during one, I believe it was Joss Whedon who threw out a Leonard Bernstein that struck me: To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.

With that in mind as he said he wanted to do “Never Go Home” I said “Well what are you doing tomorrow?” He said “Nothing planned” and I said “Well lets shoot it tomorrow” and he said “Cool” he asked “What time?” I said “How bout we meet up at one?” he said “Cool, where are we going to shoot it?” I said “Not sure” he said “Works for me” I said “Cool, see ya at one.”

That was around 9:30 PM two nights ago. As the song was all about Texas I had a flashback of the location we used for Free Agent’s “I’m A Monster” video. (I’m A Monster Video Here) I remembered there was a dividing wall that had a huge Texas flag on em thought I thought might be perfect. I called Rob Surrette who had initially suggested that place in to an ad I had posted on Craigslist. I was a little crushed to find out that the landlord had gotten new tenants and he didn’t know what the status was. He offered to drive over there in the morning and see if anyone was there and if so if they would let us use it. That was enough of a plan for me. Next made two calls to two of my ever so awesome crew, Arturo Cavozos and and Eli Mendoza, to see if they would be available. By 11 PM I had a crew for the next day and a maybe long-shot location.

Yesterday was awoken to the good news from Rob that we were a go on the Ex-Armadillo Hall. Do you need to know that I then had a cup of coffee and a cigarette as I double checked my camera batteries? You probably don’t, but now ya do.

Art was late but I’m confidant it was just because he likes to keep me nervous, bailed my house around 1:45, got to the location around 2:30 and we were shooting within the hour. Daniel himself was a consummate, and a really f*kn nice guy to boot. I only gave him my brief, fairly pat, pre-shoot direction and take after take he nailed it. Pretty confidant he would have even without my self-purported words of wisdom. Can’t wait to go see him live, from the top of his derby to the bottom of his snakeskin boots, Daniel is an entertainer. Not in the sense that he’s putting on a show for the camera but he’s putting on a show as that’s what he was born to do, he feels every note and every word and it shows. I might add that he’s the only man I’ve ever refereed to his movements being “spindly.” (watch his legs!)

Back to the shoot, if memory serves (yea, I know, it was only yesterday but I’m not a clock watcher) we wrapped around 6:30 and were at the Salt Lick celebrating with BBQ by 7 something. Got home, slammed the footage on my pooter, set it to synch up with PluralEyes and woke up today ready to edit. I’m not sure if it was inspiration or stupidity but somehow I got it in my mind that I wanted the edit done within 24 hours of when we started. Though I made my little self imposed deadline (whoot!) I did make a couple more tweaks and the render put me a little over. I only failed on a technicality! Was a blast trying though!

Last the technical, shot on a Sony PMW-F3 with the Sony 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, edited in Sony Vegas, additional CC in Magic Bullet Looks 2.0.

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To make this post even longer I wanted to share Daniel’s blog about the shoot … because it made me feel good! =)

The Story:

A month ago before the craziness of SXSW kicked in, I started doing research on Austin videographers with the idea of getting a video of “Never Go Home” accomplished post album release.

I reached out to a few and watched several dozen videos, and became more and more interested in Ray Schlogel from Underground Planet. His videos seemed to combined a high level of professionalism with a great eye for energy and band presence.

I called him, and we discussed trying to do it quickly so he could have it done prior to other commitments that kicked in around April. I had no idea how quickly that would turn out to be!

Right in the middle of SXSW, we decided to take a Saturday and film the entire thing in one location. At first we had plans to film multiple places and pull it altogether for a video that only involved me instead of a band. But within the first few takes, both of us were fairly certain that we were getting all the footage we needed.

We ended up shooting at Armadillo Hall in Taylor, TX using the empty space and a few props I bought from a nearby antique shop. Ray brought in a great crew (thanks Rob Surrette, Arturo Cavozos, and Eli Mendoza!), and we got to work within minutes of arriving.

Ray was a great person to work with, highly professional, and he has an incredible eye for camera shots. I was totally sold on the video after merely watching the first two or three playbacks.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do, and please head over to Ray’s page and like it to follow his other work!

– Daniel Whittington

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Feb , 15

12

Ramjaane Muchoma – Holla

Artist : Ramjaane Muchoma
Song : Holla
Album :
Director : Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet

Another quick, cheap, dirty, yet pretty frikkin awesome one … or at least in my humble and never biased opinion =)

Came together really quick, loved the fact that I was doing a non-native-to-me language music video. Was a bonus that even without translation the song had such an innate catchy and upbeat quality to it. Ramjaane was effortless to work with. He’s a pro and brought the spirit of the song to every take, which as anyone who does this knows makes not just the shooting go easier but the editing as well. Same can be said of the video’s unfathomably and naturally beautiful model turned music video starlet, Zura Alvarado who jumped in at the eleventh hour to give the video it’s much welcomed splash of sexy.

For the shooting, without time to plan or any budget to speak of most of this was shot at my house. Since the most bare wall in my home happened to be behind my bed, which wasn’t moving anytime soon, the close ups of Ramjaane and Zura had to be shot with them kneeling on the bed. That footage was hyper edited and played back on my flat screen and then re-shot with either/or performing again in front of it. No green-screen was used in the making of this video =)

Number of reasons for that. Firstly, that’s how most things similar to this are usually done, who wants to do the usual? Secondly, to give the color that I wanted I was using color changing led bulbs. Would have wreaked havoc on the green-screen, which leads to the next. Thirdly, it saved tons of time. Setup took all of five minutes to plug in the bulbs and get them going, no stress, no hassle, shoot. Same with the TV, moved the lights, framed the shot to only get the screen, drop the talent in front of it, shoot. And fourthly, which is honestly pretty much a repeat of my firstly, it’s just not commonly done and gave a different look doing things in camera and practical and going back to my thirdly, saved butt-loads of time in post.

Beyond that a quick trip downtown with a wheelchair to round things out with some less eyeball straining not-so-shallow depth of field shots, an improvised ending and *poof* a music video was born.

I should also add that all the bikini’s seen in the video were provided by longtime friend of Underground Planet, Bandita Couture. If I were a chick I’d own one of every suit they make, but I’m not, and no one in the world wants to see that video. But you can check them all out here: banditacouture.com

Everything shot on a Sony PMW-F3, edited in Sony Vegas, and color correction and exploitation with Magic Bullet.

And of course I can’t close without giving huge props to my right hand man Eliazar Mendoza. As always, couldn’t do what I do by myself and certainly wouldn’t want to =)

Support indie artists and Like Ramjaane’s page on Facebook NOW! tinyurl.com/lohwv9w