Category Archives: Music Videos

Music Video: Naughty by Nature – “Written On Ya Kitten”

Post by Paul Devlin:

I was a “fixer” on this music video. Treach, of Naughty by Nature, was not happy with the cut. It had been through several editors by the time it got to me. If I remember correctly, a record company rep supervised the edit rather than the director. Treach sat in the back couch with his girlfriend at the time, Pepa, from Salt n Pepa, and did not speak to me at all, only addressing the rep, who then gave me instructions.

For me the problem became clear fairly quickly: the video was overcut. Fast cuts can be a crutch for music videos. It’s a sure-fire way to add energy, so when in doubt, make more cuts. But it can also make a mess. Apparently, the previous editors had a lot of doubt, because the over-editing was interrupting the flow and distracting from some great shots. My solution was to remove some edits and let the nice shots play out, especially the evocative shots of Treach in the darkeness. For example, the shots at about 2:17 might have had 4 or 5 quick cuts interrupting Treach’s move in and out of the shadows. I got rid of all of them.

I knew I was on the right track when I would preview an edit, and Treach would exclaim his approval from the back. But always to the rep, never to me. When the edit was over, Pepa had already left, the rep went to retrieve the master tapes, and Treach and I were alone in the room together for the first time. As he was walking out, he surprised me by giving me a big hug and a Thank You.

“See you on MTV,” I replied. And I did.


Music Video: Dinosaur Jr. – “Start Choppin’”

Post by Paul Devlin & Ernie Fritz:

Before video editing could be done on a laptop, it often involved a complicated tape-based off-line/on-line process. A music video, for example, would be worked on for days on inexpensive equipment and low-quality video, generating an edit decision list (EDL). That list would then be used to on-line or conform the final edit on the high-end very expensive equipment and tape. Lot’s of time off-lining, quickly as possible on-lining.

I on-lined edited dozens of music videos back in the day. This one was off-line edited by my friend Ernie Fritz, who has the back story:

If there is a video that is the definition of “fucked up”, this is it – – and looking back at it now, that’s why it’s great. I was the editor and this video, and I must admit, I thought it was doomed the first time I saw the footage. My friend Drew Carolan directed and I had no idea what he wanted or what was on his mind. I don’t think he knew either – – no let me rephrase that; he clearly didn’t know what he wanted but he was director who loved to have fun and always pulled something out of the hat.

And so it was that we set out to edit it. He had some vague idea that he would key in some footage behind the band and then the girl with green paint on her hands would have some of that same footage keyed onto hands. What the guy in the net was, nobody knew. On top of that, I don’t think he actually had any footage to put in the background. Did I have anything that would work? I found some old tape of fish that I laying around in the machine room. I think Drew found some other footage of a field also somewhere else.

To make matters worse, The green screen that they shot was actually terrible and would not key right. In fact, you can see the seam on the floor where it meets the background. Were they high when they shot this?

If this was not enough, we were working on 3/4 tape(U-Matic) in a 3 machine room. (for those of you who don’t know what that means, the simple answer is that it was like drilling teeth on a wiggling dog) It was painful, but according to Drew we were going to have a great time doing it. We had to; Jay Mascis (the lead singer and leader of the band) was going to be coming down and hanging out while we were doing this. This meant that the edit session would have to start at 6PM because he wants to be there, but he couldn’t get there before then.

I went in early. I wanted to try to get a head jump on this edit before anyone got there and see if I could work out a plan…

Whoops, I think Ernie lost the thread somewhere. Hey, Ernie if I remember correctly, that session got a little crazy, especially after people like Matt Dillon started showing up. Don’t leave us hanging, tell us what happened next!

Kenotia – “Decorating for Cinco de Mayo”

Posted by Rina Svet:

Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

Seems like the perfect day to share this music video with everyone! This was one of the really fun projects I’ve worked on.  If you’re at all familiar with my AMV background, you may know that I started off editing mainly music videos set to anime, and somehow after film school I’ve drifted away from my roots and now I mainly work on short videos and corporate projects, which are fun in their own way of course!  

This was a project I edited during the summer before my senior year of film school, and I really had a blast doing it!  No pun intended! 🙂

Syncing up visuals to music is just, well, awesome.  Despite the long and sometimes painstaking process, there’s not many other words for it… and the result is so satisfying.  You won’t find yourself watching that 20 minute medical corporate video you just finished editing together on loop for a day and a half for fun, but a music video is a whole other story!  So I hope you enjoy this one!

The band is Kenotia, and this is the official performance piece of the song, from the album “You’ve Dug Your Grave, Now Lie In It”  The official music video came be found here and was edited before I came on board, so I didn’t edit this one.  Both videos were directed by Erica Ford.

Music Video: The Blasés – Time Walks Away”

Posted by Paul Devlin:

“Time Walks Away” is the third music video I worked on with the popular New Jersey indie rock band, The Blasés (the other two are “All Night Long” from Rockin’ Brunswick  and “You Don’t Know Me.”) This video was featured on MTV’s 120 Minutes.

I had recently moved to New York City after ski bumming in Colorado and the band’s record company (Permanent Rave Records) had already chosen a director, George Mitas.  The band wanted me involved so I agreed to edit the video.

I knew that singer Rob Wagner and keyboardist Billy Donohue had been childhood friends, so we collected home movies of them together and matched this with the performance footage. Ideal for the theme of the song.  So is the “perfect little nugget” (as Jim Wood calls it) of Rob with his Volkswagen bug during childhood and then adulthood.

The band was spectacularly popular in bars and clubs in New Jersey in the ‘80s and ‘90s but this song is from their only album. The themes of these tracks, including “Time Walks Away,” were influenced by the death in 1985 of bassist Paul “Rock” Verdon in a train accident.

Power Trip Extra – “Paraskiing Music Video”

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This is a fun, extended scene that was cut out in the final version of Power Trip.

One of the fringe benefits of going through the struggle of living and working in a developing country, is that you also have opportunities you could never get away with in developed countries.

Everything is cheaper and less regulated. Piers would have never been able to build his own chalet in a ski resort in the States. Paraskiing straight off the mountain would be a nonstarter and helicopter skiing would be prohibitively expensive, if it were allowed. But for an expatriot in the Republic of Georgia, all this is possible.

Not that regulations are bad. I had no intention of going Paraskiing myself – looked way too dangerous. But then I realized I needed to get the POV shot to make the scene complete, shrugged my shoulders and almost got killed when my guide bungled the takeoff.

The version of this scene in Power Trip generated criticism at some festival screenings: “How could Piers and his colleagues be enjoying themselves when they’ve created so much suffering for the people of Tbilisi. Shame on them!” Fair enough – I’m documenting, not defending. On the other hand, I suppose you could make that argument against any fun, any time, anywhere, when people are suffering elsewhere in the world.

So enjoy this little adventure – but not too much.

Power Trip DVD
Power Trip Trailer