Bora Yoon recently asked me to do a music video for her new album Sunken Cathedral. I was definitely up for it – there were some things I wanted to try out with cameras and lenses and this was the perfect opportunity. The song is Finite Infinity.
SUNKEN CATHEDRAL is a multimedia release that began with the album release performance in April 2014 as Asia Society NYC. The (Gr)album trilogy launched in November 2014 and is available in the iTunes store (http://bit.ly/gralbum) and the staged theater production premieres in January 2015 at the PROTOTYPE Festival (http://www.prototypefestival.org/show/sunken-cathedral).
/// BORA YOON
Bora Yoon is a TED Fellow, Korean-American composer, vocalist, and pioneering sound artist who explores the connection of sound to the subliminal. Featured on the front-page of the The Wall Street Journal for her musical innovations, she creates architectural soundscapes using found objects from different cultures and centuries, chamber instruments, digital devices, and voice.
We shot for 4 days around lower Manhattan. The footage in the rain was shot on my street corner with a C stand, some plexi and a Hudson sprayer. Andy Dintenfass, our cinematographer brought ideas like this to the table. Andy shot some of the first rock videos for Stevie Nicks and Billy Joel. Art Jones was AC and beyond. It was a three person crew with me directing – having three artists on board allowed us freedom and creative opportunities not possible with a larger crew. We switched roles, tried things out. Bora was a trouper and game to experiment with us.
We shot by the river below Chambers street and on the sidewalk bridge going over the highway. Some of the beautiful color and vintage cinema feel were due to a Dog Schidt optiks lens. It has a very special quality and when attached to an Iscorama anamorphic adapter, it gave us oval bokeh like a classic anamorphic cinema lens.
This location is near the Lower Manhattan Community College looking through to the river. They were loading something the night we shot and it was…well… not a bug, but a feature. We were pushing the camera at night with only available light, but it held up.
Mixing the dynamic range of the raw video and the digital sensor with vintage lenses and the Iscorama anamorphic adapter creates a cinematic quality that I haven’t found before in video. The language of lenses! Beautifully crafted optical machines – seeing machines. I wanted to experiment with an anamorphic adapter, vintage lenses and the Magic Lantern hack for the Canon 5Diii that allows you to shoot raw video. It turns a DSLR into an amazing cinema machine. Here’s the rig we used. 15mm rails and a cage, follow focus, battery pack, and external monitor on a tripod. Very portable.
A Leica R 90 mm f2 modded for cinema by DuClos and a Dog Schidt Optiks 58mm lens with a fixed oval aperture. This is a rehoused russian vintage Helios lens. It’s known for a particular swirly bokeh. In addition we played some with a Go Pro to do some underwater photography. In my bathtub and with footage I shot at the beach on the vineyard to add some dimension to the water.
Please stay tuned for information on an upcoming project. I’m hard at work on a robotic dress cinema interface. Learning about soft robotics, muscle wire and 3D printing. This music video is a rehearsal for the cinematic component of the upcoming piece. More as it develops.