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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Jun , 12

12

Shawn Colvin – We All Fall Down

Artist : Shawn Colvin
Song : We All Fall Down
Album: All Fall Down
Director: Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet
Copyright ; Nonsuch Records

While standing in the middle of an empty field shooting Aron Dees – American Dirt vid I got a rather staticy call from someone from Warner Brothers asking if I might be interested in doing a simple video for Grammy Award winning Shawn Colvin. Though I was missing every other word they said “I’m in!” The couple things I could make out from the conversation was that they wanted something simple, they didn’t want to be literal and perhaps similar to the one I did for Daniel Whittington’s “Never Go Home” which they especially liked. The last thing I heard was that they were going to send over the song for me to give a listen and see what I can come up with.

After getting home from the days shoot the song was in my inbox waiting. With my crew still unpacking gear I pressed play. Often times I have to hear a song a good hundred or so times before the visual comes to mind but on this one it was almost immediate. Knowing that they liked Daniel’s and also knowing that I didn’t want to repeat myself, by the time it hit the chorus it was already there. For me upon the first listen, with the sparseness of the first verse I was ever so pleasantly surprised when the chorus kicked in. Keeping in mind not wanting to be literal the theme for me was more matching the tone of the song rather than lyrical.

I could totally see the simple one person clapping and then just random organized irreverent chaos. As Shawn herself later described it, “a visual cacophony.” Leave it to the songwriter to better describe what I was going for than I could =)

First things first I called a First AD I’d wanted to work with for awhile, Michelle Millette, she dug it and jumped on board right out of the gate. Right away we began casting, looking for people with “visual talents.” Some of which I had already had in mind but was open to more. Thankfully we got a great response. On casting there is a funny aside, when I pitched the original concept I was tossing out all sorts of miscellaneous types of characters that I was hoping to get. In that list I offhandedly mentioned perhaps a guy in a bear suit. For some reason this set off a bit of an alarm bell among some involved. As none of what I was wanting to do was written in stone it was no big deal but when I met with the parents of the younger performers and made a mention of that the mother of the two unicyclists offered up the fact that her kids had gorilla outfits that they had performed in. Sometimes I have a great idea, other time’s it seems great ideas are simply handed to me on a silver plate. Kinda funny that while we had gotten a bunch of great people two of the visuals that I had wanted and saw during my first listen, a drum major and ballerina, were the last two people to get cast.

Must also take a moment to mention the location which we filmed at The Swan Dive here in Austin Tx. I’m mentioned this elsewhere but as is often the case I’m always making mental book marks of cool locations I’d like to shoot at. From all the pictures I’d seen of the club I knew it would be the perfect backdrop. They couldn’t have been more accommodating,

On the day of shooting I had intentionally over-cast the performers, much in the same way airlines overbook their flights knowing that there will be some drop outs I was fairly confidant that some who had committed might not show and beyond that I really couldn’t have too many if they all did. The one issue with doing it in that regard is that I had to choreograph everyone who showed up on the fly. While the crew was busy setting up the lights and removing a table and chairs that were in the spot just behind her that I hadn’t realized in my scouting that they were actually bolted to the floor, I made a quick list of all the available talent and hid in a corner. I laid out three pieces of paper for the three choruses and started breaking it down, I really thought it would be just a rough draft till I saw it all in action but it played out perfectly. The placement of each fell in line quickly for the various segments as well as for the grand finale where all would be either taking a position or passing through.

Of the many kudos I could give to Shawn and her the one I’d like to mention specifically was that the jugglers wanted to do the tosses in front and behind her, despite my inclination to just say “no” I decided to pitch it to Shawn as she would be the one getting biffed in the head if something went awry. She pretty much just said “sure” and never flinched once while it was going on even though she said she could feel the breeze as they were passing by. Ya gotta love that lady =)

All told, save a few false starts, somehow we were able to get this in about ten full takes, in fact we actually had a few to choose from out of those ten. With all the moving parts and it being a one take vid I really expected a much longer day. All credit goes to the cast and crew for doing such an amazing job.

shawncolvin.com/

Cast & Crew

Alex Shelley – Unicycle Gorilla
Alex Armonta – Hula Hoop
Bethany Berg – Contortionist
Chris Bailey – Poi Spnner
Callie Erwin – Clapping Girl 1
Camille Pinkerton – Gymnist
Christopher Bailey – Poi Spinner
Chris McMillan – Drummer
Daniela Bustillos – Ballet Dancer
Etienne McGinley – Juggler
Eslerh Gomez – Mime
Jack Shelley – Unicycle Gorrilla
Jane Jennings – Belly Dancer
Kelsey Strauch – Juggler
Lila Parrish – Gymnast
Sarah Kihls – Roller Skater
Timeca Seretti – Clapper 2

Direct/Shoot/Edit – Raymond J. Schlogel
First AD – Michelle Millette
Crew: Matthew Friede
Arturo Cavazos
Eliazar Mendoza
Matthew Friede
Don Elfant

Hair: Shawna Parvin
Makeup: Mandy Wright

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Mar , 12

31

Teera – Flashy

Artist : Teera
Song : Flashy
Album: Untitled
Director: Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet

Well this one was a long time coming! Teera had hit me up  over a year ago about doing a video for her song “Flashy” though it never made it into production. Finally, about a month back, she hit me up again rededicated and refocused on her music. As this song pretty much demands choreography I turned once again to dancer/choreographer Carly Bell who did the choreography for Larissa Ness’s “Thoughts of You” and more recently made a second appearance in one of my other recent favs, Free Agent’s “I’m a Monster” . In short time she had tapped the three other amazing dancers, Marisa Mingea, Amanda Slick, (who were also both in Larissa Ness’s “Thoughts of You” music vid. and Alia Williams. Teera and the girls began practice and I began trying my hardest to think of a cool location that would lend itself well to this song. Knowing we were on a limited budget and didn’t have enough for a storyline the location had to be pretty spectacular.

Fast forward a couple weeks my crew and I were cruising around downtown picking up b-roll of various notable Austin spots. Had been a long day of shooting and had just finished telling them I think we have enough when I realized that we were near the Long Center and begrudgingly told the guys we needed to stop and get one more shot. As I describe it in the description of the test shot we got “As soon as we walked up the steps I near about dropped my jaw at the little disco stage installation.” It was just beyond perfect, I have no idea who’s bright idea it was to plunk down a dance stage right there but someone give that guy or gal a hug. The backdrop was incredible. I didn’t spend any time making the test shot perfect but if you’ve ever wanted to see me dance you can check out the test shot we did that night here, if you have any desire to see us be goofy, here it goes:

The rest is pretty much self-explanatory, great pop-song+beautiful charismatic singer+amazing location+hot girls+dancing+great crew+awesome camera=would have been hard to screw up this one.

In post I went completely crazy overboard with the glint and starburst filters but did very little, if any, color correction. For me those two effects took it to the next level and completely fit the theme of the song. Without doing the literal of the story arch due to a lack of budget I wanted to stress the whole “flashy” aspect of the song and provide an element that was strong enough eye candy that you overlook the fact that there’s no paparazzi nor any of the other numerous specific things mentioned in the lyrics. For me it’s kinda funny as I’ve never really cared for those two fx but in this particular vid I frikkin love em.

On a technical note, knowing that this was going to be an outdoor night shoot I finally bit the bullet on the nearly $900 Sony CBK-RGB01 Dual Link 444RGB Upgrade for my Sony F3 to enable me to shoot in S-Log. Though I recorded straight to the SXS card and didn’t get 4:4:4 with an external it still blew me away. As I already mentioned I really didn’t do much in the way of CC on this, the raw images themselves were stunning. The shots looked so good in fact that at times it almost looks like we faked the background and shot on greenscreen. The latitude between the highs and lows is markedly better, joyously better, and it made the upgrade worth every penny. That said I am still nothing but grateful that Sony dropped the price of the upgrade to around $900 as opposed to the 3 grand and change they had previously been selling it at. Edited in Sony Vegas.

As always huge thanks are due to my crew, Arturo Cavazos, Eliazar Mendoza, and Matt Friede for making my job so easy and Shane Mikeska for the great makeup!

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