We have First Born Productions in our photo studio rental space all week shooting new products for eCommerce website Jet.com. Like most eCommerce shoots, the set up is fairly simple in order to be able to add and subtract whichever products need to be represented on the set. Lighting is key when it comes to this kind of work so the crew went with 2 Profoto Giant reflectors to capture everything evenly. Since Tuesday our Brooklyn soundstage has been filled from end to end with all the products from their upcoming catalogue and they are working their way to the finishline.
It's been quite the busy week at our Brooklyn soundstage. Less than 24 hours after our live stream session with Mac Demarco, Pitchfork had yet another session set up and ready to go for legendary shoegazers Slowdive. The English natives just happened to be in town for two sold out nights at Brooklyn Steel. They arrived to our studio the morning after their first NYC show in two years, and first since releasing their brand new album (first album since 1995's "Pygmalian").
The setup for this live stream which took place via Pitchfork's facebook page at 1 o'clock on Tuesday was a little bit different stylistically than the one from the day before. Rather than including any bright colored set walls, they kept things simple with our freshly painted black cyclorama and a massive wash of fog throughout to help set the tone. This stream was also shot in black and white which seemed rather appropriate. It was an absolute honor to have Slowdive in our photo studio rental space amidst their triumphant return. If you weren't able to get a hold of tickets in time and you missed the live stream, you can still check out the show here.
words & photos by: Justin Buschardt
In celebration of Mac Demarco's new album, "This Old Dog", our friends over at Pitchfork thought it'd be a nice gesture to film a live stream performance at our very own Brooklyn soundstage on Monday evening. Before long our studio was filled with some of the bands friends and fans to provide more of an authentic feel to the whole playing to an audience of people at home tuning in on their computers and/or other respective electronic devices. About a quarter of the way through the set, Mac even invited everyone in the studio to come up and sit down around the band to make themselves more comfortable. It was quite the intimate evening of sharing new music along with some hilarious antics in honor of the latest album that dropped just last week.
This marked the first live stream session we've hosted at our photo studio rental space with Pitchfork and we could not be happier with the results. The set up was fairly straightforward with minimal lighting, some fog and the camera crew surrounding the stage for multiple angles while the band played on our stage in front of some multicolored flats. There was a small team in our back office editing video and cutting shots on the spot for your viewing pleasure. If you missed the actual live stream, don't worry; it's up and available for you to watch here. Grab some popcorn and a beer and enjoy the show!
words and photos by: Justin Buschardt
Last month we had front woman, Nadya Tolokonnikova of Russian feminist punk band/art collective, Pussy Riot at our Brooklyn soundstage to shoot a conceptual video with artists Jessie Askinazi and Claire Christerson, in support of the East Los Angeles Women's Center (ELAWC). This collaboration titled "Clusters" featured on Teen Vogue is intended to bring awareness to the potential financial cuts to programs that are dedicated to helping women who have been sexually assaulted as well as survivors of domestic violence. Despite the staggering statistics of abuse throughout our country, the Trump administration proposed to cut all 25 grants under the Violence Against Women Act back in March, which would in turn directly affect funding for the many programs that serve to help these victims.
During her interview with Teen Vogue, Nadya speaks up about her inspiration for this project and the fact that getting rid of these institutions simply puts peoples lives in jeopardy. "I'm angry that instead of protecting our rights the government are ceasing them. I'm sick of it." With an ever growing list of provocative demonstrations and politically charged music, Nadya is probably best known for her group's 2012 guerrilla performance in a church protesting President Vladimir Putin and the church's support of his presidential campaign. This resulted in a 2 year prison sentence for her as well as another member of the all girl group after being charged for "hooliganism". In turn, Pussy Riot became an international symbol of Putin's crackdown on free speech. This of course carries over to our current situation that seems to be unfolding under the rise of Trump in their previous video depiction called, "Make America Great Again".
Back in March we had Pop Sugar on site at our photo studio rental space filming a piece on NYC entrepreneurs and their experience working together while being together romantically. They teamed up with LA based Paige Denim who not only styled the shoot, but helped to fund the collaboration. The overall approach to the shoot was fairly simple with minimal lighting against our cyclorama wall to keep a tight focus on the subjects. Check out the final product here!
Throughout the course of history we've all been exposed to a handful of "family bands" whether it be such names as The Jackson 5, Hanson or The Partridge Family. The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, also known as the "Bad Boys of Jazz" are simply on a whole other level when it comes to the term. Originally based out of Chicago, this group consists of 8 brothers who all grew up in the same household, each playing horn instruments since they were old enough to hold onto one. Though they played together throughout their childhood with their dad, Phil Cohran, it wasn't until the early 2000's that they formed what is now the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Aside from having nearly 10 studio albums under their belt, they've accompanied a list of influential artists on record as well as on stages across the world. They've performed with the likes of Wu Tang Clan, Mosdef, Gorillaz, De La Soul, The B-52's, Erykah Badu, Childish Gambino and perhaps most fondly, the late Prince.
The band joined us at our Brooklyn soundstage this week to shoot a video for their new breezy summer single, "Mary". When trumpet player, Yosh told us they were all brothers it was easy to assume that he just meant they were very close friends that grew up together. Something about the idea of 8 siblings playing music together successfully all those years seemed difficult to imagine. He clarified what he meant and from that point on it was very apparent that they were in fact family. Everything from the way they moved and played together, the warm way they joked around and especially the way the backed each other up when it came to creative input for the video process. Everything they did seemed to be framed with a certain kind of harmony that only siblings have the ability to share.
The set was fairly minimal, showcasing the band in black suits against our white cyclorama wall accompanied by their instruments and even our very own piano that usually lives in our bathroom. Some of the members had their children join in on the fun wearing matching attire while making their film debut. We even had a friend of the studio come by with his well-trained Doberman Pinscher, Lincoln to make a special appearance for the final scene. We are definitely looking forward to seeing the final product. For now, catch them on tour in a city near you!
The last few weeks have been scattered with such a plethora of different shoots across our multiple Brooklyn soundstages that it's been difficult to keep up. One of those just happened to be for an all new Payday candy bar spot guided by the the talented vision of the This and That production team. Though the overall layout for the shoot appeared to be rather minimal on set, we're sure that they have big plans to go above and beyond with their concept. Never have we ever seen so many literal nuts in our studio rental space at once! If this is anything like the 2014 Payday commercials we all remember, then I'm sure the This and That crew has their sights set on delivering the goods.
We recently had the opportunity to work with one of NYC's go-to sources for pop culture and celebrity news, Pop Sugar, at our Brooklyn soundstage. They teamed up with Los Angeles based Paige denim to style the shoot along with producer Lauren Sofair to do a collaborative piece about power couples in the city. The idea is that each couple sits down face to face and takes turns interviewing one another on their experience and what it's like to work together. Since nothing is scripted, they along with the audience get a pretty good insight as to what the others true thoughts are on the topic. The crew kept things pretty simple as far as their setup went on our cyclorama. Some minimal lighting, a few chairs and decor helped keep the focus on the subject for this fun piece that should be online soon for your viewing pleasure.
Back in December we had our friends with Time Inc. over for a few days at our film studio rental space to do a special time lapse product shoot for bedroom pieces. This week they are back at our production studio for the week with director Matthew David Wachsman to focus on a new line of IKEA dining room, living room and outdoor patio furniture for the new season. Similar to their last project here, they are capturing each look with a stylized hyper lapse in 28 minute shots to show their customers interesting ways to set up their home using different variations. It's been interesting to watch the constant flux of the art department moving things around to achieve this goal on our cyclorama without the use of a greenscreen to superimpose each idea. Always a pleasure housing such innovative work.
We recently had up and coming singer/songwriter Mikaella Ashley into our studio rental space to shoot her very first music video for her single called 'Me Encanta'. Mikaella has been in the entertainment world for awhile now but mainly spent her time focusing on acting. After appearing in a handful of films along with a TV movie, she decided it was time to shed some light on her musical talents. In 2016, she put out her first single called 'Give It A Try' and has been juggling the process of writing new music and acting ever since.
The thought of a music video didn't come along until one day when Mikaella was on set for a new pilot and met producer Nathan Holsenback, who happened to be working grip for the shoot. They immediately hit it off and stayed in touch. The following week, Nathan met Bronx based mural artist Ian Sullivan at a video shoot, and it immediately struck him that these two new acquaintances of his were meant to be on camera together. It was in that moment that Nathan realized that he wanted to produce. He reached out to long time friend Conor Stalvey with Giftshop Productions and decided to partner up for what would be their first creative effort together.
While speaking with Nathan during their shoot at our Brooklyn soundstage he went on to explain what drives him to collaborate: "I like finding hidden talents in everyday ordinary people. I personally feel as though a lot of people don't receive the credit for how great they can be and filming projects like this just really brings out the best in everyone involved!" All the elements were there. The concept for the video came to life organically with the combination of choreographed dance alongside a live artist painting a mural in the background while Mikaella performed her song. With a minimal approach and a diverse pool of talent, we look forward to seeing how this joint labor of love turns out.
Just before Thanksgiving rolled around we had a last minute shoot with Smokestack Films for a new music video for up and coming singer/producer, Maggie Rogers' new track 'On+Off.' Maggie, fresh out of NYU recently made her way onto the scene virtually overnight after a video went viral of Pharrel Williams listening to her track, "Alaska" at his masterclass at NYU's Clive Davis institute back in February. He was speechless to say the least. Since then, she has put out a couple of music videos, played a handful of shows around NY and is now currently embarking upon her first big national tour, most dates of which happen to already be sold out. Maggie and her production team went in a more stripped down direction for this video at our Brooklyn soundstage, bringing in a small crew of dancers along with some whimsical choreography and some excellent use of minimal lighting to make use of our giant Cyclorama. Take a look here!
We had the chance to sit down and talk with writing partners Cory and Brian of Elephant Media. These two are the brains behind this charming commercial for Long Island based, Pure Dental who are known for their spa-like treatment at an affordable rate. Elephant media has actually shot two commercials for this company previous to this at our Bushwick soundstage and have since built a strong relationship with Pure Dental based on trust and creative liberty.
This time around, it was their goal to draw their audience in with marketing that would not only inform but make them laugh as well. It's not necessarily common to see a commercial about dentistry that has this ability, so it was important for them to take a fresh approach. "In the end It's all about having fun, and if it makes us laugh, we feel like we're doing something right." They mentioned that since their first commercial dropped, Pure Dental's bookings have tripled which is something to be proud of and also proof that thinking outside of the box is quite effective in this case. For this particular shoot, they were inspired by the good old fashioned, "Dating Game" show, creating well thought out characters in more of a modern light.
Check out their finished piece here,
We had the crew from the A&E Television Network take over our Brooklyn soundstage for a few days this week to shoot a series of videos for online content focusing on a new DIY home design show. They spent the first day and a half transforming our studio rental space into an elaborate set featuring two different rooms that would serve multiple functions throughout their shoot. From bedroom to workshop, the art department changed the scenery to serve the needs of the script. As involved as the sets were, the crew took a fairly minimal yet effective approach when it came to shooting the content needed. We really enjoyed this crew and look forward to working with them again in the future.
A few months back we had the fine folks of Sensorium Works at our Brooklyn soundstage to shoot their virtual reality adaptation of celebrated short story writer, George Saunders' first novel, "Lincoln in the Bardo". Though the book itself doesn't drop until Feb. 14th, filmmaker Graham Sack and his team wanted to contribute their vision of one of the key chapters of the book in the form of a full on interactive short film shot entirely with a 360 degree camera. The New York Times just released this imaginative piece today and can be viewed through the NYT VR app.
The short film focuses on President Lincoln and an encounter between him and his son where Lincoln goes to the cemetery soon after his son's burial, removes his body and cradles it in grief. A list of different characters appear from a number of different sections within the book for the viewer to come across in this interactive representation. Before coming in to our studio rental space to shoot the remainder on our green screen, the Sensorium team shot on location at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, mapping out all of the character placement, inch by inch so that they could stitch it all together seamlessly for your viewing pleasure. Take a look here.
A few months back, we had multi-talented R&B singer/Producer, Russell Elliot at our Bushwick film and photography studio to shoot his latest music video for his new single, "On You". This NYC based artist is quite the unique soul and has been on the scene for nearly a decade now, using his powerful voice and all inclusive ideology to connect with his listeners. He delivers his points of view with a genuine sincerity and a powerful voice that draws you in and grips your attention from the get go, telling stories to shake up the way we've always thought about things. As an artist it's his goal to ask the tough questions in regards to our culture and our values, putting heavy emphasis on equality and steering his genre away from misogyny. Upon meeting Russell, we recognized the fact that there was a constant smile on his face throughout the day at our sound stage. This demeanor is definitely contagious as I couldn't help but notice the joy it brought out in the rest of his crew, myself included. Nothing but positivity all around. we're sure this is the case during his live performances as well. After some research, we found this to simply be part of who he is as a person, as an artist hoping to spread that joy in whatever direction he can.
We had the opportunity to sit down and pick Russell's brain to gain some further insight on his projects as well as some of his day to day routines and current endeavors. Check out the interview along with the new music video for "On You" below.
1. First of all, where are you from?
What's good, Be Electric?! I'm from right outside D.C.
2. When you think of the music you are working on, what are some of the influences that come to mind?
I find inspiration everywhere! And I definitely go through phases with the music I listen to (ask me about that one road trip when I listened to the same Gloria Estefan song on repeat for 4 hours... actually don't). Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is the CD I wore out until it skipped. I still bump R&B babymaker classics like Silk, 112, Boys II Men, and Maxwell. More recently I've been crushing on Kehlani, Jasmine Sullivan, Jack Gerratt, Solange, New Frank Ocean (obviously), Russ, & Leikeli47 to name a few. Prince, Beyoncé, Amy Winehouse, & Aaliyah are my forever heroes.
3. Did you grow up knowing that you wanted to make music?
Music and storytelling were all around me from early on. I was an actor as a kid so I knew I wanted to be on stage and on TV. I also studied classical piano and loved it. It took properly getting my heart broken for the first time to pull it all together and start writing songs. I wrote my first songs at 14/15 and cut my first record at 16 in Nashville (no, you can't find it anywhere. Thank God.)
4. Tell us about your day to day here in NYC. Music and beyond.
I write, produce, and perform all my own music. Most of my time is dedicated to perfecting the live show, writing new music, working on the business, & scheming up video concepts. I dance often. I explore the city often-- though less so now that it's winter. I work with other artists in a producer capacity, helping to refine and clarify their ideas. I just finished up a gig where I helped teach an Entrepreneurship Course at NYU's Clive Davis Institute. I also help a dance studio in Greenpoint with strategic partnership marketing. I stay busy!
5. I notice that your music video's include a large element of freestyle as well as choreographed dance, is this something that you've had some training in?
I've been dancing since college! Everything from Ballet to HipHop. Where hiphop and body rolls meet contemporary is where I'm most at home.
6. So, you ran a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2014 to help fund your 4 song EP along with a music video for your single, "Around"; do you feel that the crowdfunding element brought on a certain sense of responsibility to push yourself in a way that you haven't before with your art?
Amazing Question. Absolutely. With Kickstarter, all of the sudden there were new people involved in my creative process. I'm generally pretty private so at first that terrified me. The fact that people were invested--not just in the product but also in the process-- definitely held me accountable, fortified me, and contributed to the success of the EP. It was definitely a process though-- learning to create with an audience.
7. Was the recent video you shot at Be Electric Studio crowd sourced as well or done independently this time around? Or do you happen to have some representation now that helped?
"On You" is a hybrid project in terms of fundraising. Half of the funding was independently sourced, the other half was matched by our extremely generous partners. (They're credited in the video!) No representation. My team and I are 100% independent.
8. You've been performing on some level for a decade or so, how do you feel you've grown over the years, whether it be in your actual performance level or even the message you are trying to convey today compared to when you first started?
The success of "Around" definitely cemented my promise to always be authentic with my work. I think, as humans, authenticity is what we respond to. As Americans, I think it's what we need right now. It's the commitment to authentic material that made me double down on my commitment to hone my craft. I want to do my stories justice.
9. What are your thoughts on the current sociopolitical climate and what that could mean for you as an artist?
I'm just trying to stay intersectional, stay humble, stay authentic, stay joyful...I turn especially to the women of color in my life-- many of whom have being doing agitation and resistance work for a very long time-- to learn a thing or two about how to meaningfully protest. We've all got a lot of work to do to resist Trump. I hope to rise to the challenge & use my platform for good. (I also wrote a piece for Thought Catalog that went live yesterday about how I hope to be of use in tough times.)
Every day is a brand new day at our studio rental space. Without fail, we can count on a new creative team coming into Be Electric to shape something unique, whether it be a fashion shoot, music video, editorial or even a feature film. This week we had Penelope Productions in our Bushwick studio for their first time to shoot a commercial spot for Pace Picante Salsa. Penelope Productions specialize in creating memorable solutions that are highly customized to reflect a brands particular DNA. On their first day, the art department built out a rather extravagant and colorful set, perfectly stylized for the vibe of the commercial.
To keep up with the comedic tradition that we all know and recognize from the previous Pace advertisements over the years, Penelope Productions took that element and pushed it even further. The writing and direction of the concept was not only clever, but a lot of fun too. This NYC Production filled our soundstage with laughter almost throughout the entirety of their shoot. Check back soon for the final product.
Penelope Production crew having a blast at our studio rental space.
NYC based actor/director, Kamal Ahmed and and his crew stopped into our video production studio for a few hours to wrap up some final shots for his new feature, "The Martyr Maker". Cinematographer Scott Cramer took advantage of our rental studio's handsome exterior along with basically every corner inside of our space while using only a very minimal lighting set up.. They basically used every area aside from the actual cyclorama wall. The talent ranged from age 9 to 65, creating a different sort of dynamic then we tend to see at our photography studio on a day to day basis.
MC/Producer extraordinaire, Ed-Ape rented out our Bushwick film and photo studio this weekend to shoot a music video for his upcoming single with Stones Throw Records. Ed-Ape is known for his comedic approach to independent hip hop and definitely made that clear with his time here at our photo studio. The crew was awesome and they were working with a hilarious concept right here in our Bushwick film and photography studio! Not for the faint of heart .
Time Inc came in to produce a series of videos at our video and photo studios for a new line of products from IKEA. Each look was created in our NYC based film studios in 28 minute shots that will be sped up into a stylized hyper lapse to help show their customers different ways to style a bedroom using different variations in our video production studios with their products. This technique was definitely the first we've seen in our photography and video studio rentals. The set was lit with our in house grip and electric film equipment and shot on our camera equipment packages. Nice to see that they were able to achieve this without the use of green screen or CGI. Coming soon!