soundstage

St. Vincent // All Ages Productions

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A few weeks back we had Philly based visual artist, Alex Da Corte join forces with All Ages Productions at our Brooklyn soundstage to shoot a hyper modern, color drenched video for "New York", the charming new single from  the one and only St. Vincent. Alex Da Corte is known for his installation work that has appeared at the Secession in Vienna along with the Whitney Museum in New York. He has collaborated with a number of other artists and musicians, incorporating his visuals into their music and eventually crossing the line into video work and directing. When he was approached by Annie Clark (St.Vincent) a while ago about working together, it was a no-brainer as he was also a big fan of hers.

Most of the video was shot in our studio rental space while the remainder was on location in Manhattan. The beautiful sets where built on site in-between scenes by Alex and his talented art department. The minimal yet incredibly intoxicating world they created fits in nicely to "New York" as it's already a fairly stripped down song in comparison to the rest of St. Vincent's work. For more info on the making of the video, check out this interview with our friends over at Pitchfork. Enjoy!

Words & Photos by Justin Buschardt

 

 

Alvvays "In Undertow" // Jog Films

We recently had the pleasure of opening up our Brooklyn soundstage to Canadian based, indie pop shoegazers, Alvvays to shoot a music video for their new single, "In Undertow". The band joined forces with Director/Filmmaker, Joe Garrity and his team at Jog Films to bring this rather ambitious concept to life that front woman, Molly Rankin describes as “aquacosmic psych meets public access TV,”

The setup consists of a homemade revolving stage with an infinity mirror built into the center, minimal lighting and some steady-cam trickery all enclosed by a panoramic projector screen displaying a slew of animations from 4 separate projectors stitching it all together. To add even more dimension, they created an epic low-fi wash over the entirety of the video with the use of an old VHS camcorder against the projections to create an endless feedback loop. It was Garrity's goal to capture the length of the video in as few shots as possible with the use of timing and some well executed choreography from the band. The end result is quite beautiful and trippy to say the very least.

"In Undertow" is the first single to be released off of their new record, "Antisocialites", which is set to drop on Polyvinyl Records in early September.

Check out the video here

                                               ~words & photos by: Justin Buschardt~

Be Electric Studios // Adventures In Soundproofing

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This week we closed down for business to start construction on a new and improved phase of soundproofing for our Brooklyn studio rental space. We were lucky enough to bring on our good friends from Greenpoint's very own Windmill Studios to offer their time and expertise to bring our space to the next level. These sound and design gurus have not only soundproofed their own studios, but a number of other spaces around NYC as well, so we are very thankful to be in good hands.

The main operation that took place was the installation of two massive Elephant doors to close off the area of our offices and loading bay from the soundstage NYC. These are built with two layers of dry wall on inside and  three on the outside; all sealed with green glue which also acts as a dampening compound. Any possible outside noise from the streets will now be sealed off completely by simply pulling these sliding doors shut. The crew also designed a laminated acoustic double door system in the wall next to the Elephant doors for people to be able to walk in and out of the studio with ease. They used decoupled construction throughout the entirety of the build so there are no mechanical connections whatsoever, which leads to a far more secure noise free zone.

These are just the first steps of our Brooklyn Soundstage makeover and we are excited to share more as we continue. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Mikaella Ashley // Rockabye Acres Productions

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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.

Elephant Media // The Dental Dating Game

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.   

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  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,

Sensorium Works// George Saunders' "Lincoln on the Bardo"

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.

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      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.

Russell Elliot // Reimagining R&B

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. 

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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.)

 

Kamal Ahmed // "The Martyr Maker"

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. 

Kamal and his film crew setting up the shot in front of the studio.

Smokestack Films // Maggie Rogers

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. Maggie, fresh out of NYU recently made her way onto the scene 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. Since then, she has put out a couple of music video Studio and will soon be embarking upon her first big tour. For this music video for her latest single, she brought in a crew of dancers along with some whimsical choreography and some excellent use of lighting to make use of our giant Cyclorama. 

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Herring & Herring // Metallica

A couple of months back, we were approached by Herring and Herring to shoot a couple of videos for Metallica. They needed a studio to shoot the music videos and the album artwork for their recently released album, "Hardwired...To Self Destruct", their first album to come out in over 8 years. Each song is accompanied by it's own unique music video, which is quite ambitious to say the least. The first one they shot with us is called "Now That We're Dead", which is an epic live video of the band performing in all of their glory against our cyc walls. The second link is for a track called, "Am I Savage?" which is more of a narrative that shows all the possibilities that can be achieved in the right studio setting.  We've had to keep this information to ourselves until now, so we're excited to finally share what we've been up to. Enjoy! 

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Sensorium Works // George Saunders // VR Adventures

NYC's very own Sensorium Works came in for a rather extraordinary green screen production, shot entirely in 360 virtual reality for a short film based on writer, George Saunders upcoming novel,  'Lincoln In The Bardo'. Before coming into our photo studio in Brooklyn, their team was out on location at a local graveyard where they shot and mapped out what would the setting for the film with director, Graham Sack. Once in the studio, everything had to be precise so the placement would line up perfectly on green screen. You can tell that this crew was well versed in this process as they certainly made it look easy throughout their few days with us at the studio. Looking forward to see the final product in this interactive film experience.

Iris Media Works

Iris Media Works transformed our studio into a massive set that felt just like home for their commercial for a new independent insurance company. Not sure how they managed to pull off such an intricate build in only a day, but it certainly made for some beautiful shots. Check it out here.

 

Kafka, the studio pup surveying the scene the night before the shoot.

Kafka, the studio pup surveying the scene the night before the shoot.

Barkbox in the House

Be Electric - We had the joy of hosting Barkbox and their team of furry friends to shoot their promotional campaign. Barkbox is an online service for dog owners that delivers a box of goodies including special treats, toys and care each month based on different themes. Not only did the team have to direct the actors through each scene, but the k-9 talent as well. We've never seen such a well behaved cast. 

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Tru Tv // On set with Victor Cruz

A couple of weeks back, Tru TV came in to shoot a hilarious commercial starring NY Giants very own wide receiver, Victor Cruz and his new line of clothing. This parody loosely based on the Old Navy ads we used to see in the early 00's will be featured on Rachel Dratch's (SNL) comedy show, Late Night Snack. 

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Paper Mag // Kat Von D

More Than Meets The Eye

Paper Magazine teamed up with Kat Von D to highlight seven women who are making waves in todays pop culture and challenging the ideas surrounding beauty and success. Hair and Makeup featuring Kat Von D's new tattoo liner each applying with her own flare. Check out the inspirational video below and follow the link to the full interview. Video was produced by Extra Extra Creative and features Baddie Winkle, Beverly Johnson, Susanne Bartsch, Carmen Carrera, Dai Burger, Chantel Jeffries, and Kennedy Grace.

Enjoy!

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Converse Shoots Greenscreen

Converse was on set this week shooting some pretty elaborate tabletop shots in front of a greenscreen cyclorama. To promote some new winter footwear coming out next season, they used dry ice and a fake snow machine to simulate weather conditions and modified the lighting to simulate the street in New York they filmed in the week before. An excellent use of our beautiful greenscreen stage