PALEFACE "New York, New York"

This video was done by our good friend Memo Salazar for the singer song writer, Paleface. Its been out a few weeks, but I wanted to share it again. I've posted a write up Memo did on the making of the video under the comments on its page.  

PALEFACE "New York, New York" from fool factory films on Vimeo.


Reader Comments (1)

From Memo:

Back when I was a young college freshman discovering the world outside suburbia, I found a cd in the "junk" bin of our college radio station by this young, new "anti-folk" singer from New York's Lower East Side named PALEFACE. His music hit me the way Bob Dylan must have hit people decades before- raw, in your face, honest, no bullshit lyrics packed in catchy, simple, but by no means generic tunes. I was hooked, and followed him until he disappeared into obscurity somewhere in the second half of the 90's. Fast forward to the next decade- I was living in New York and trying to figure out what had happened to this guy, hoping I could film one of his shows for this project I had in mind. After months of searching, I stumbled across a tiny announcement claiming he'd be at the esteemed Sidewalk Cafe in NYC; sure enough, there he was, a little older but no less vital, with a whole new batch of songs, backed up by his new partner-in-crime, drummer Mo' Samalot. His songs were less angry, more mature, but no less compelling; he had grown up without losing his edge, a rarity in the music world.

This is a guy who gave Beck his funky lo-fi style back in the late 80's. He's influenced Regina Spektor, Kimya Dawson, Jeff Lewis, and a host of other talented indie-folksters of today. He's toured with the Breeders, Billy Bragg, and the Avett Brothers, has played with some of the best musicians in the biz over the years, but remains pretty much obscure in the commercial world, despite all his accolades and great albums.

Last year, I was able to pay him back for all the great music and good vibes by making his first official music video. We shot it in glorious HD last November around NYC and added my hand-drawn animation along with some great photography and super-8 filming by photographer Matt Lapiska- a nice blend of the old and new, just like New York City itself, the subject of this song. The video (hopefully) looks professional, but with a warm, handmade feel that keeps it from boring me (the way 99% of music videos have done since their hayday of the 1980's.) A big kudos goes to The Possum Den's own Harris Mendheim, who lent me his Canon 5D to shoot the video with. For those who care, here's some insight into how the video was made:

We shot around NYC in 2 days, me shooting handheld on the 5D, Matt alternating between shooting still photos and super8 film. The super8 was his idea, actually- he owns the camera and had a couple of spare rolls of film, which made me remember MY spare rolls of film from 1993 sitting in the closet. If anyone's wondering how we got that old-fashioned faded look, that's because we used genuinely old film- some 50 ASA kodachrome, some old ektachrome that can only be developed by a tiny little outfit in Kansas, and some black and white reversal- a nice array of random film stocks, which you could only get away with mixing in a music video. I had never used the 5D, so it was a quick learning experience for me as well, which, again, you can get away with on a music video, thankfully. Day 1 was a lot of filming PALEFACE and Mo' lip syncing to the song in various locations around the city, arriving at the Williamsburg shoreline just in time for magic-hour dusk. Day 2 was me following PF and Mo' around Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, revisiting old hangouts and the like. I shot a few things alone in my apartment, like the opening shot of the cassette going into a walkman (that's my hand.) All the night shots were me alone as well, literally driving my stick shift with one hand and filming with the other- kids, don't try this at home.

The editing process was interesting. I'll skip the boring technical details, but basically I went back and forth between editing in FCP and animating in Photoshop, of all programs, which is clunky but allows a handmade feel I haven't found in any other animating program. It was slow, but gave me the exact look I was hoping for to match PF's raw style. Some of the wipes you see in there aren't cheap plug-ins, but frame-by frame animations where I slowly erased one image to reveal the next. A couple of things were done in Aftereffects, but mostly it was all about arranging Matt's photos, the HD video, the Super8, and my animation until everything just clicked.

And that's pretty much it. It had been a while since I made a music video, and now that I have, with all the new, cheap, great technology, I'm pretty motivated to make more. Soon, I hope.

Thanks, PF & Mo.

-Memo Salazar
May 11, 2010 | Registered Commenterthe possum den

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