Dear music video directors:

Why is that "RGB split effect" still not going away?

I have a new theory on it, though: it's nostalgia for the kind of gear that everyone had back in the 19A0s -- back when we all watched our LaserDiscs on small 3-gun front-projection televisions, and every time someone slammed a door in the house, the guns would twitch out of alignment. You remember that, don't you? Don't you?

Seriously though, I think the only time this effect has been put to good use was in Extraball by Yuksek and Amanda Blank, but in that case the halftone dots make it clear that they're referencing mis-registered print, not video. Most often you see it used as an apparent reference to "old, broken televisions" but televisions never broke that way so what the hell.

Here's a more typical offender, which I happened to see just today. Raised black-level 20% to make it feel "old-timey"? Check. Inserted video "glitch" effects that have never, ever occurred in nature? Check. (e.g. 0:36, 1:03).

See that filter-sweep knob on your fancy DJ mixer? Yeah, don't use that.

Other things that make me immediately hit "next" on a video without watching it:

  • Precocious children. Seriously, stop having ten-year-olds lip-sync your music while doing cute or terrible things. It's not original. It's not creepy. It's just boring. (Ok, I will grudgingly make an exception for M83. And there is a Zombie Exemption. But these outliers are very few and far between.)

  • Traditional animation of the hand-drawn, paper-cutout or stop-motion variety. I feel weird saying this, but I have come to despise hand-drawn animation. Every time I see it in a music video I assume that what happened is that someone's final project for their first-year animation class just had a soundtrack slapped onto it. (That goes double for anything that was obviously made with Flash.) It seems cheap and lazy.

  • Live performance videos. You have to be almost-impossibly charming to make a two-camera live shoot not be boring. It is not the same as being there.

  • Videos made entirely of repurposed "found footage" of old industrial films. I have a huge amount of respect for the Prelinger Archive, but come on... seen it.

  • And of course anything set next to a pool or a car, but that's an indicator that it's not really a music video but is actually a softcore porno with a soundtrack extruded from some kind of autotuned Ministry of Sound pink slime machine.

I watch a lot of videos. I have opinions.


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DNA Lounge: Wherein this battle station is now fully operational.

On Tuesday evening, we held our first-ever event in the new Above DNA space: a semi-private party featuring performances by local bands Books on Fate and Happy Fangs (their second-ever show!)

If we didn't invite you, I am terribly sorry, that was an embarrassing oversight! Please stop by on Saturday or Wednesday to see it!

Anyway, it was amazing. It went better than I would have expected in my wildest dreams. Flawless victory. Here are some photos.

The plan had been to finish construction late Sunday night, spend Monday cleaning, and get a nice, long gear-check on Tuesday afternoon. As you might imagine, the reality was very different. Table saws and hammers were still in full effect late Tuesday afternoon, and someone had to go to the store and buy the audio snake about 30 minutes before the first band's sound check.

Despite this, both bands sounded fantastic, the lights looked great, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time! I sure did.

We have a really amazing staff here, and our construction crew (heroically wrangled by Devon over the last couple of months, give him a hand) really pulled it all together at the last minute, and made us all look like we might actually know what we're doing!

The new rooms are awesome. I can't wait until you see them.

Also, the soundproofing turned out shockingly well. Now that we have the duct liner all the way up to the second floor ceiling of the stairwell, once you've taken two steps inside the doorway it sounds like someone has closed the door behind you. You're halfway up the stairs before you're sure that there's a band on stage. Also it kind of looks like one of the interior Death Star chasms, so bonus points for that. And though you can see the band playing from the street, you can't hear them at all through the windows. Yeah, we might know what we're doing!

We started negotiating to buy the pizza restaurant in mid-2010, closed escrow on it in February 2011, and finally began construction upstairs in February 2012, so we've been at this for a bit over two years -- and we're finally done. I don't even know what to make of that.

And the Seven Days of Halloween begin tonight. Gird your loins.


Things I Learned as a Field Biologist #639


3) When your feet start to bleed - and boy, will they ever - don't panic. The hole that appears to be eating its way into the space between your 4th and 5th toes on your right foot won't go any deeper than a full centimeter (you know this because you stuck your finger inside of it and then measured the extent of the bloody seepage on your pinkie finger... the hole is that wide and deep).


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