Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Things that make me go WTF....then LOL hard...

I know I haven't bitched much in this blog the last few posts, even though it's my "Bitchin'" blog. A phone call form my maternal uncle (or mama, as we bengalis call it) got my blood boiling though and I couldn't help but write this up.

My mama is a rockstar. He's a big celebrity here in Dhaka, as well as Kolkata, since his a big name in the food industry. He has countless TV shows, hundreds of publications and most importantly, he's one of the coolest people I know of. A true inspirational figure, something this country seriously lacks. I should point out that this post isn't about him.

It all started when my mama hired me to DP/Edit a music video he was directing, starring his friend Iman Chakraborty, another celeb, from Kolkata, who was touring Dhaka at the time. She had just released her album which was a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore. I must admit, unlike many Bengalis, I don't have a "thing" for Tagore. One of the few fights I had with "big time celebs" here in Dhaka was when I told a prominent actor/TV host, how I felt Tagore was boring and in terms of music, guys like Miles Davis and Johnny Coltrane were far superior. To him it was almost blasphemous, that resulted in diatribes about everything from me being a snob to how inferior my upbringing was. Anyways, thats for another post.

So after a month or so of talking over the video and the feel of it, we finally got into shooting it. No crew, no lights. Just me, my (now stolen) 7D camera, the director and the artist. Since we were in a time frame, it had to be done quick. No time for tripods and elaborate lighting. So I thought I'd go the Bruno Aveillan way, since almost everyone is doing it these days. Long lens, handheld shots, something in front of the lens blocking the scene. The shoot was done in about 2-3 hours. Then I went home, edited and color corrected the material and brought it back to my uncle. He saw it, along with Miss Chakraborty and my cousin, who is a photographer. They all liked it and my mama was very happy with his first directorial debut. The finished material was then put on a DV tape and sent back to India to premiere.

That was 2 months ago. Today I got a call from my mama and he said that the "TV" peeps over in Kolkata said the video was too dark and way too jerky. Too jerky I can live with, since thats the effect I was going with and its a hit or miss with most people. It wasn't like murder/thriller jerky, but you can definitely tell it wasn't put on a tripod. Clearly, David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky and Bruno Aveillan himself can't make a living in Kolkata.

Now, this is where I got really pissed. The lighting was apparently too dark. ROFLMAO. Here are the color corrected screen grabs that made their way to Kolkata. Please feel free to comment.

The funny thing is I actually wanted to grade the shots so they were at least a little more on the darker side. But this was a love song, so bright saturated tones were necessary. I couldn't go the Fincher route and make the next Judith. 

The song got rejected for the "darkness" and the "jerkiness" and a disappointed phone call from my mama followed. I was at a loss for words when he said those thing, so I really didn't have anything to say after.

Clearly, this level of bad production is not fit for the glorious Kolkata scene. They'd rather see videos like the rock remakes of Tagore, where chicks are "trying" to sing and play instruments on stage, with smoke coming out from the background and some HMI lighting that and some christmas lights hanging on the background. Oh wait, it's handheld too. Well played Kolkata, well played.... 

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