Mikey Georgeson: Bringing Rocks Back From The Moon
This is the latest video from Mikey Georgeson & The Civilised Scene.
We met up several months ago to discuss the next video. Mikey and I both have young sons and we had both seen the children’s book “Man on the Moon (a day in the life of Bob)” by Simon Bartram. What we liked about it – apart from its glorious artwork and story of an astronaut who can’t see the aliens was the mix of space exploration and the everyday business of keeping the moon spick and span.
The back story to the track is worth reading and is described nicely in the press release: “A couple of years ago Mikey spent a few hours on a spinal board wondering if he was paralysed after the police chased a transit van into his car. It turned out that the van was stuffed with two tons of gold royal wedding coins, many of which glinted on the wet tarmac that fateful night. Bringing rocks back from the Moon then is a song about a certain vision of the absurd and the quirks of fate offered up by that night’s dramatic events.”
Mac (from pop-Z, the record label) and I spent an awfully long time trying to sort out the essential spacesuit for this video. In the end Mikey found the helmet – which is a US Navy High Altitude helmet and my lovely wife Sally crafted the space suit from our big box of space suit parts and sundry fancy dress things. She did a fantastic job and the suit really makes the video.
The video was shot in two days. All the green screen, space ship interior and exterior shots were done in one day, where I was once again assisted by the lovely Sue. The interior shots were done a week later.
I originally thought I was going to have to composite the interior of the space craft in post production. Practical stuff always looks more plausible and it’s so much better if you can do these things in the room. While I was experimenting with lighting I decided to put an ENORMOUS silver umbrella behind Mikey and illuminate it with a big LED panel. This gives a nice blown-out sci-fi background, which along with some big CRT monitors they had in the studio, does the trick. There was lots of shaking the set and flashing lights to give the shot some energy. Mikey was a very good sport about all this.
That’s them on the telly
The scene of the chaps from the band watching Mikey on the telly was done by creating a special 4:3 ratio version of the video with some After Effects processing to make it look like crappy 60s moon landing footage. I synched it to the track along with some footage of the song actually being played live (from the Live At The Ivy house video that we shot in July). This seemed like a great way of getting some live performance into the video. It also meant I could get the whole band in the video despite patchy availability for the shoot.
I then created a DVD of the whole thing and played it back through my old portable telly. So the guys are really watching the footage you see on screen, which is a mix of two performances that is all in time with the track. Except the bit at 3:00 which I composited in later. I don’t think you can really tell the difference, which makes me feel like I wasted a lot of time doing all that clever stuff to get it really showing on the telly. Hey ho.
I spent a bit of time thinking about how light works on the moon and as well as green screen, some of the footage was just shot against a black background with a single very bright light with a snoot. This creates the very high contrast deep shadows you would get on the moon. I think the effect, combined with some fake anamorphic lens flare, is really good.
Moonwide on the widest screen
I decided very late in the process that I wanted to produce the video in the cinematic 2.35:1 aspect ratio to make it look more Hollywood. It took about an hour to re-compose the whole thing and I really like the effect.
Anyway: You can buy the song here http://mikeygeorgeson.bandcamp.com/album/rocks-back-from-the-moon
Here’s the video: