Repository for the projects of Michael McVey, filmmaker.

Posts tagged “Video

(Face)ets: Pakistan and Yemen – Photography by Michelle Weitzel

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

I would say that one of the most interesting jobs I got at my sign shop, Sign-A-Rama Cambridge, was from Harvard University student Michelle Wietzel.  She and her husband Billy traveled extensively throughout Pakistan and Yemen, and Michelle brought her camera.  Throughout their journeys, Michelle took some fantastic pictures.  In 2010, the Harvard Neighbors Gallery (Loeb House) exhibited a selection of Michelle’s photography, which I was asked to print.

It was a very fun job, and a welcome break from the monotony of corporate branding.  At the show, Michelle and Billy gave me a running commentary on the images, sharing stories from their travels.  Since I always carry my trusty camera with me, I got quite a bit of it on video.  Flash forward to late February 2011, when I had a spare weekend for a quick edit and… voilà!  A brief little video scraped together (more like salvaged) from the ever growing backlog!

Hopefully this diverts/informs a few dozen internet viewers, Harvard Neighbors Gallery gets some free PR, Michelle and Billy Weitzel get a video keepsake, and Sign-A-Rama Cambridge gets to show off their printing capabilities.  Everybody wins!  Except for my carpal tunnel.  Maybe some Qat will help.

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88 Questions with Ellen Page [Skiffleboom.com]

“88 Questions with Ariadne” By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

Audience surrogate ELLEN PAGE asks a lot of questions in INCEPTION… Here’s a video of all 88.



Music Video: “Live in Dreams” by Wild Nothing

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

My hometown Warwick NY has lots of backroads.   Driving late at night, the sprawling woodlands and fields become a dark, cerebral place.  And though nobody can really outrun existential dread on a late night drive, it never hurts to try.

Watch this in Full Screen HD with volume up, if you dare…

Artist: Wild Nothing
Song: Live in Dreams
Album: Gemini (2010)

Shot and edited by by Michael McVey, http://www.Skiffleboom.com
Made with an HD Flip at 2AM on Thanksgiving weekend, 2010.


The Big Lebowski: Dust in the Wind, from Skiffleboom.com

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

You’re out of you’re element Donny – I made this image and mixed Donny’s Eulogy scene from The Big Lebowski + remix of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind.”  Enjoy.


Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), from the Album “The Suburbs”

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

This is a video edit I made of the Arcade Fire’s Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), from their album “The Suburbs.”
I came home from work late last night, caught a new episode of Mad Men at midnight, then stayed up til morning making this.  I don’t know what it is about that show that gets me going.  The whole things took about nine hours from start to upload, plus a little nap.

A youtube user named StocktoSong loves this album too – StocktoSong also made an Arcade Fire video from the original 1957 Suburba Prelinger footage.  It’s interesting to compare and contrast how we both used the footage.  We are reworking digitally something edited by hand half a century ago.

The original ephemeral film:
1957’s “In the Suburbs” is a thoughtfully made advertising sales promo film extolling 1950s suburbanites as citizens and consumers.  It was produced by On Film, Inc., and sponsored by Redbook Magazine.  It can be viewed at http://www.archive.org/details/IntheSub1957

Visit Arcade Fire


“The COMBOVER: How to Buy Beer” – Skiffleboom.com

Here is the Full Version of The COMBOVER (ad free).  Enjoy!


— The Year 2000 —

Two under-age teens from upstate New York devise a radical new way to buy beer…

in

The Combover – by Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

“The Combover”  is a short documentary by and about two underage teenagers who discover a crack in the system – they discover a way to buy beer.  I made this with my friend Justin in the year 2000.  We were both 19 at the time, bored out of our minds.  There wasn’t much for us to do in our hometown of Warwick, New York.  Warwick is a beautiful, rural place.  It is the Shire to New York City’s Gondor, and <insert New Jersey city here>’s Mordor.  But we were restless teenagers trying hard to get beer.  We concocted the combover idea one night in Justin’s basement.

We were mulling about, and Justin asked me to shave his head bald.  I suggested we mess around with it first, since we’re going to shave it all off anyway.  There were lot of possibilities with long hair.  Mohawk?  Mullet?  The “Krusty the Klown” look?  “A COMBOVER!”   We laughed so damn hard our sides hurt.  The combover has got to be the most RIDICULOUS hairstyle of all time, we had to do it.  It dawned on us that the combover is the perfect misdirection for buying beer.  The question became this:  Would a cashier believe a kid-trying-to-look-older-trying-to-look-younger as a man-trying-to-look-younger?  Would pity blind the gawkers?

I’ve always been a filmmaker, and I wanted to make it a movie.  I got the camcorder my parents gave me in high school, a SONY Handycam Video 8 XR with 180x Digital Zoom.  Battle plan ready, I proceeded to cut Justin’s hair, giving birth to a healthy 7 1/2 lb. combover in his parent’s bathroom.  I’ll never forget how Mrs. Kipp freaked when she saw what I had done to her son’s head, or how hard we laughed afterwards.  It is an All-Time Top Five Laugh for me.

After finding the appropriate wardrobe and accessories (superfluous pipe, check, Mike’s glasses, check), we worked on getting into character.  How would a 38-year-old man with a comb-over behave?  Naturally, he would be a somewhat pathetic, trying to hold onto his fading youth.  He would certainly not like being denied his only comfort in an otherwise lonely existence – that sweet, numbing booze.  Whether we got it or not became irrelevant.   We were buzzed from the adrenaline of making a film.

What up Korea!

Towards the end of the night, we decided that one more denial would send Uncle Earl into a rage.  We already had all the beer we needed, and we didn’t want our video to become redundant.  We needed some drama.  And when that denial came, Justin snapped in a spectacularly hilarious fashion.  Dick move?  Sure.  Funny?  You bet.  But I suppose it’s a rorschach blot.  Places where drinking laws are similarly Draconian will get the joke.  America: the country where a teenager can be sent to war to kill and be killed, but doesn’t have the right to drink until three years after enlisting.  Yeah, that makes sense.  I withheld this video from public view for years; only a handful of people ever saw it.  Now that a decade has past, “The Combover” is finally ready to see the light of day, thanks to New York Statute of Limitations Laws.

I love New York.

This  video remains unchanged from the original in-camera edit 10 years ago.  When I shot this back in 2000, I really didn’t know any way to edit VHS tapes.  I edited simultaneously with shooting, all in-camera.  I could review the footage and rewind the tape to find the right cue, or exit point.  It was definitely fun to shoot.  I particularly love the music in the car.  It made us bolder, and gave the shoot a sense of rhythm and time.   The album:  Pee Wee Ellis’ “Twelve and More Blues,” with Bruce Cox on drums and Dwayne Dolphin on bass.  A great album but hard to find, recorded in Köln, Germany – Minor Records, 1993.  And again for all you knuckleheads out there, please don’t drink and drive – this is a documentary, not a mandate.


***”My original post of “The Combover” has copyright claims levied against it by predatory ad revenue businesses.  They claim 30 seconds of background source music overheard in a supermarket gives them the right to put advertising on my video.  I am trying to keep this video advertisement free.  This version of “The Combover” is edited, removing said source music and audio of heard in the supermarket scene from 2:25 – 3:02.***


“Galloping Gertie” – Student Film, Bunker Hill Community College 2008, from Skiffleboom.com

Brian Karanja as "Mr. Allen."

Galloping Gertie, 2008
Written and directed by Michael McVey
Bunker Hill Community College 2008 – Elements of Video Production

In 2008, I decided to go back to school and learn filmmaking.  I enrolled in video and audio production courses at Bunker Hill Community College, Charlestown, MA.   Galloping Gertie was my first video, made for a class called Elements of Video Production.  It was an intro course for video basics like 3-point lighting and depth of field.  It was a good class, thanks to the learned Professor Pastel and his classic film references.  For our final projects, Pastel divided the class into small groups.  I was elected our group’s writer/director, and I mustered up a quick little story that used our group as actors and our school as our location.

Marcelo Almeida as "The Agent."

I’ve included the original storyboards below: I wrote the script on cocktail napkins at a Cambridge, MA music bar called Toad during a friend’s shows. I wrote parts with specific people in mind – with my group members as lead actors, I cast my audio production Professor Palermo, as the Evil Professor.

The shooting day came, but most of the cast and crew didn’t show up for the shoot…  so I recast on the spot.  With a leading actor vanished from the group, the role of the Agent went to Bunker Hill’s resident AV squad leader, Marcelo Almeida.  Professor Palermo was a no-show, and I ended up filling in.   If you look at the storyboards, you’ll see the difference, as I drew that role for a big Sydney Greenstreet type.

Brian Karanja as "Mr. Allen."We shot the whole thing at Bunker Hill over a couple of days in late Fall 2008. We shot on a Canon Elura 85 MiniDV Camcorder and edited it in Final Cut Pro.  It didn’t cost a thing, and it was a lot of fun to make — I really had a great time making this goofy little project, and really enjoyed the process, even if the final result is ridiculous.

Stephan Brooks as "That Guy Who Was Made Uncomfortable."

When comparing the film against the storyboards, you may notice that the fight scene was originally set in a bathroom.  Why you ask?

Apparently, we weren’t allowed to film Marcelo on BHCC campus bathrooms.  He had landed in some hot water with the campus security earlier in the year.  He was working on his own video project – a “re-imagining” of the Casino Royale Trailer.  Marcelo brought a toy gun to school to recreate a James Bond bathroom fight.  When security walked in on 007 filming fights in school bathrooms, they were not pleased.  They confiscated the toy gun, but let him keep the tuxedo.  Now that I think about it, that’s probably what caused his lutropublicaphobia.

And it was for these reasons we had to move the bathroom fight scene to a computer lab.  We kept computer genius Stephan Brooks’ cameo as “That Guy Who Was Made Uncomfortable,” but it wasn’t nearly as awkward as it should have been.  The lesson: stay fluid, especially with comedy.