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  • Writer's pictureMark Heim

Behind the Scenes: Navigating Music Video Production with Dr. Chrispy

Updated: Mar 26

We get a lot of music video submissions here at Maximum Flavor and they run the gamut in terms of commitment, budget, and feasibility. While very few get produced, we’re proud that our name is out there for Bay Area music video production, and we encourage any local artist to reach out to us so we can talk.

Creative Collaboration with Dr. Chrispy

Recently, we received one submission that was almost impossible to believe. An artist by the name of Dr Chrispy reached out and told us that not only had been to actual space, but he had also written three songs about his journey and was looking to get music videos produced for each of them. It was obvious from his proposal that he was taking this project very seriously, which in a medium known for being inconsistent at best, was a breath of fresh air. We immediately spent a bunch of time listening to his music and imaging ways to help bring his adventure to life.


Rethinking our Storytelling

The Submission had a tentative list of deadlines, with the songs being released in a certain order. But with our storyteller hats on, the more we listened to songs, the more rearranging their release dates felt important to create a more cohesive beginning, middle, and end - which would in turn allow us to tell his story in three acts. It made sense enough to us, so we put together a detailed treatment deck and pitched our idea to Dr Chrispy (AKA Chris Boshuizen).

You never know how it’s going to go when you suggest a creative change to an artist, but ultimately there was nothing to worry about. Chris was totally open to our ideas and ultimately it was the fact that we took the time to understand what his music was about and why the arrangement we proposed would help tell a more cohesive story, that convinced him to award us the opportunity to produce his videos.

Behind-the-Scenes: The Making of "The Great Unknown"

One of the items we offered to sweeten the deal was a Behind-the-Scenes featurette for the making of the first video to be released – The Great Unknown. The video speaks for itself as it tells the story of the genesis of the song itself, touches on how we developed the concept and our internal debate of shooting this on 16mm film (it’d been while!), through to the day of the production. Music videos are incredible journeys to go on, and to keep the BTS video to a reasonable run time we had to gloss over or altogether omit a lot of the twists and turns the production took.


The following is a quick story that had to be left on the cutting room floor:


Film is Not Just in the Camera!

Yes, you need to ensure the film is properly loaded, exposed, and downloaded. But to be perfectly honest, that’s the easy (and fun!) part. Once you’ve spent all that time and effort rolling the camera, you thenhave to get that film developed and scanned into a format we can edit on our non-linear software. There used to be a myriad of local labs that we could walk into and hand our negatives off, but now the only places that could take care of us were a shipment away. So, we packaged and taped (so much tape!) the rolls and mailed them off to Los Angeles and held our breath waiting for their return.


We already knew we had a short turnaround. For a few important reasons, our shoot day was a mere two weeks before our deadline, so with an expected rush turnaround of 3 – 5 business days, we needed to get our digital transfer on our hard drives ASAP. The third day came and went, the fifth day came and went. The seventh day came and went – still nothing back.


Thankfully Chris provided us with over 20 terabytes of laser-sharp digital documentary-type footage that was captured during his training and the flight, so we were able make some moves on the edit before our footage came back. We went through all of that with a fine-toothed comb and found the moments we wanted to use to provide the counterpoint to the grainy, organic images that we captured on the days of production. But we were more than anxious to get our scan.


Finally, on the eighth day, it arrived, and it looked GREAT! We were thrilled. But since we opted for the 6k scan there was another 5TB of footage, so we decided to make 1080 proxy files from the scan to make it more manageable to edit. We leave the export to work overnight, get our proxy footage ready and, finally, truly get to work in the editing room. Thankfully the edit came together rather quickly. We knew the story we wanted to tell, we knew the footage we shot, and we knew we had the support of Chris to let us bring our vision together. What we didn’t know, however, was that the hard drive that was shipped to us with the 6k scan imploded. It would mount, but there were no files to be found.


We hopped right on the phone with the lab, and they got another drive in the mail immediately. We should have the time to get a drive back and replacefootage before the deadline. It should be easy enough to link the proxies back to the master files. If nobody panicked there should be enough time to get it all done!


And there was. Just barely.

Everything came together with very little time to spare – but having a little time to spare or a whole lot doesn’t matter in the end. All that matters is how the video ended up. All that matters is if the story we told inspired our artist and our viewers. And ultimately, we’re very proud to say that yes, it did.


So, should you shoot on film for your next video project? Absolutely! It provides for a wonderful image that has an ability to add a layer of meaning to your story that digital simply can’t. But if you do choose film, prepare for the unexpected, keep a smile on your face, and shoot for the moon!

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