In the Studio with The Garuud Effekt

Marti Christopher is the sole member and creative force behind The Garuud Effekt, but you’d never know how minimal the behind the scenes are by listening to the intricate arrangements in this powerful blend of electro-pop.  Also, burried beneath his witty charm and playful demeanor, is the fact that Marti Christopher is a super talented classically trained artist in the media of pencil, charcoal and paint.  All of these, not so obvious attributes about Marti were fun to discover along the way, but this was only the beginning.

From the set of Cut Me, Photo by Kit Chalberg Photography

The process of creating an idea for this video stemmed from a string of multiple late night conversations where we would bounce ideas off of each other to see what which ones would consistently come back around…  we both agreed that the cream usually rises to the top during these kind of interactions, so we embraced it and ran with it.

Since Cut Me maintains an almost pop 80′s sound, I felt like shooting a video shot in the studio would suit this tune very well.  Considering Marti is the only member of the band, it made sense for me to keep the video simple without any other distractions and focus on what mattered most…. Marti.  So we decided on a stark black and white color palette for the video and went shopping.

H&M clothing was first on our list.  We browsed through the mens’ department where we found a handful of great suits.  After a session of iPhone photos in order to compare the best looking options, we agreed on a stellar suit and moved on.  Next, we took a trip to Home Depot to buy some painting supplies and then we headed over to Man Made Media -owned and operated byMarin Biegunajtys- to paint the green-screen cyc white.

Marti Christopher trying on some suit options for the video shoot. 

While working through 3 coats of white, Marti told me his theories on how capitalism have all but removed the -tried and true methods of- communal style parenting and that monogamy is directly influenced by the advent of farming in early tribes.  After he completely blew my mind with these revelations, he told me stories of how he spent time in Jamaica as a child, how his mother met his German father and how his family spent many years together in Canada when he was growing up.

Kit Chalberg and Jeffrey Knudsen joined us for the day of production.  Both of these guys were a huge help to the process in addition to just being a ton of fun to be around.

I had never seen Marti perform live prior to rolling camera that day, but I did caution him that the success of the video relied entirely on his ability to “turn-it-on” once we rolled camera.  To my delight, Marti showed up looking stellar in his new suit, hat and color matching guitar.  Once he slid his sunglasses into place, Marti instantly transformed into the rockstar mode, we turned on the cameras and Sir Christopher brought-it in a big way!

On that day of the shoot, we shot with the new RED Scarlet and the SONY FS-700.  After playing with the footage in REDCINE-X Pro, I decided that the RED looked SO good…  that we weren’t going to even try to mix the two cameras together in the final edit.

 Most of the time in the studio was spent shooting the extra setups with the signs and the props.  Marti’s actual performance while singing and dancing was done in an astoundingly minimal 3 takes.

In the editing room, we worked to give the footage a very kinetic feel to match the vibe of the upbeat song.  Since the song title Cut Me, is a very visual line, we had decided early on that the stark black and white color palette would be a great setting to use a strategically placed splash of red during the choruses.  During the shoot, we played with things like red spray string and confetti during the choruses only to find them less effective than I had hoped on screen.  Finally the idea came to me that we should use animated opaque color fields.   After trying out the concept on a few choruses we were hooked and decided to keep these unique color moves in for the final cut.

Overall, I was very pleased with the results of the production, I look forward to the next project with Marti and working once again with all of the fine folks that made this project come together.