The Darkest Road

I’m beyond proud to present the video I created for Australian Metalcore/Powercore legends A Breach of Silence. Logistically this was one of the biggest clips I’ve created in my time working within the Music Video medium. Here’s a few notes on the filming locations, process and equipment used:

Story Elements:
The story footage was shot on a private production farm in the outer Brisbane area. With the help of Jacob Schneider (Actor/Photographer) and William France (Photographer/Musician) we headed off into the dark of night toward a private farm near Caboolture. I’d always wanted to film at a location with greenhouses so it was nice to finally make that happen. All moon light in the story footage is provided by a 1000 Watt Lupolux light at 2 O’clock, obviously the light would move with framing etc. I won’t lie it was amazing to finally get to film a big bonfire as well, another shot I’ve wanted to get for years! The only set specific gear was the Lupo and 2 x Fresnals for the greenhouses.

Dan’s Treatment:
Huge thanks to Frankie Nasso for booking someone to get the shots for us. Cheers!

Band Performance:
This part of the shot was logistically more intense than anything I’ve had to create thus far (bigger and better I hope). I recruited a close friend and very competent cameraman Adrian Pagano to assist on the night with lighting. Travelling further north, this time to Elimbah, we made our way to a HUGE private property and setup. The following lighting fixtures were used:
– 1200 watt HMI primary (lightstar)
– 1000 watt Lupolux
– 650 watt Lupolux
– 2 x 350 watt Fresnals (under Green GEL)
– 3 x Honda 20i Generators

Here’s a list of gear used of the shoot for anyone keen:
– Canon 5Dmk3
– Zeiss 35mm Flektagon f2.4
– Zeiss 50.m T*Planar f1.4
– Tokina 11-16mm f.28
– Genus Fader ND’s
– SmallHD DP4 EVF
– rigs
– Magic Lantern raw
– a shit ton of high speed cards
– home made snorii cam, the death rig

– Col B.

You Spin Me Right Round Baby – The Lords of Salem review

Witches scream and cackle as they strip themselves bare to the flesh and conspire in acts of ungodly debauchery. Yes The Lords of Salem is a film with witches, not broomstick flying ones, but none the less. Think more along the lines of The Wicker Man or even in some cases The Town that Dreaded Sundown. So if the whole cauldrons and Satanism isn’t your thing, then you may wish to avoid this one. Thankfully old school horror had something that the modern medium is often missing, atmosphere; thankfully this is not one of those films. Nostalgia literally oozes from every interior and into each frame of film. We’re taken for a ride that is also decidedly old school as we get to experience not jumps scares or shock tactics but a legitimate building of tension; as to whether that pays off is up to you and your opinion.

Sherri Moon Zombie – The Lords of Salem

We follow Heidi (Sherri Moon Zombie), a now reformed drug addict working on a late night Howard Stern style radio station. Rob’s other half Sherri is not the best actress in the world and struggles at times to make her character work. That said it’s a horror film of the late night type so I don’t expect little golden midget winning performances here. A vinyl (yes vinyl, not MP3 thank f**k) is sent to her workplace with no information other than it’s for her to check out. After some taunts and jokes from her workmates she takes the record home to give it a spin. After some drinks and late night listening we begin a dark and twisted journey. It’s a crazy ride with abstract visions, uncomfortable locations and even weirder people. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go with story though, as part of the fun is seeing how out of the norm this film really can be, particularly compared to say Rob’s Halloween remakes.

It’s amazing how simple the skewed angle of a shot or the uncomfortable droning of the soundtrack can affect you when you’re not being force fed queues like ‘Jump scare here’ or ‘must kill this person’. It’s refreshing to see a Director move from the completely violent to the abstractly barren. Honestly a lot of the discomfort comes from how long, Rob and cinematographer Brandon Trost (the dude shot Crank, The FP, MacGruber need I say more), choose to hold a shot and when to finally make that decisive cut call. John 5 also provides a score that is more than a little unsettling and gives that extra discomfort that a tale such as Lords requires. That said the sound design in this film is impeccable and really helps add that weight of dread to many scenes.

Rob Zombie has suffered from a mixed bag over the last decade while trying to break from his musical trappings into the world of cinema. Many find his films too odd, or confronting to be seen as a commercial let alone watchable film style. His new one will be no different, as he yet again makes some changes to his formula and just lets the ball roll. Now before you go into the film remember this… it’s not a ten million dollar horror film, this doesn’t have earth shattering scares or effects, but it does have atmosphere in spades and a rather old school appearance. This is a creature of nostalgia as much as it is a tribute. Every frame glows with a sense that Rob’s appreciation for all things John Carpenter (In the Mouth of Madness comes to mind) and Stephen King (specifically The Shining) is the centre piece of this film.

– Col B

Quarantasette – The Art of Murder

Tonight is a dark evening, the streets of Chinatown are cold and crowded as I make my way to a nearby Apartment building, the fourth floor though I could be wrong. Streets are filled with the sounds of commerce as I snake my way past a small crowd into a near by building. Carefully positioning myself in a window overlooking a Chinese ornamental garden. In hand an attaché case, it’s contents both as cold and calculated as the world they inhabit. From within the confines of this room I assemble my messenger of death and move toward the windowsill. Placing the rifle down I align myself with the sights and hold my breath as a shot is squeezed off into a local businessman. Within seconds I’m running through the building, down the back alleys and eventually to my escape. Real life this was not, it was the world of Agent 47.

Hitman (2000)

It’s late 2000, around December from memory and the above was my first experience with Hitman: Codename 47, the game from creators IO Interactive. I liked it, a lot, and while it may have been a little rough around the edges and the AI was average at best; it held so many ties to the staples of Genre cinema and French Film that I couldn’t let go. Sometimes suffering under it’s own attempts to be something wholly substantial and yet so stylish that the later out weighed the former. Its story, while interesting, can be a tad on the convoluted side. Your handler Diana could be both frustrating and engrossing in equal parts. There were glimmers of genius hidden within this beast, yet it struggled to escape. This was the first point in my gaming life where I felt freedom to decide my path of choice, do I take the role of the aggressor, do I stealth in and let no one know or do I only take out my target of choice and negate all other casualties. It was up to the player to initiate acts of violence; the provocation was solely yours.

It’s ideals were as sophisticated as they were crude. Yet out of this mixed bag of gaming we saw an anti-hero of a man whose origin we had yet to experience. He was the figure of the cold and calculated man he was Agent 47. With his uniform of Black, Red and White and his branded neck, he was the constant within the ever-changing worlds of Hitman. From the first game on we were given a character that would not be redefined from game to game. He would be the pillar of stability in an ever more traumatic and crazed world and he would stay true. The symbolism of this was not lost, as there are few games where the character has not received visual upgrades from game to game. The shortcoming of his first foray was to be easily overlooked when the challenge of the hit was at hand. The rewarding experience that was learning the maps, hunting your prey and finishing the job were just so satisfying.

The other stand out was the often dark and suitably subtle score of Jesper Kyd. Now if you don’t know who Mr. Kyd is then you need to really 1) do your homework and 2) get every soundtrack he has ever worked on (Assassin’s Creed, Borderlands, Hitman series, Forza etc.), as few other sound designers are able to draw comparisons to both Vangelis and a gamut of classic composers in one fell swoop. He cemented the character, made him whole and made the world that much more confronting with his dark electronic score.

Hitman: Silent Assassin

After two quiet years 47 returned in 2002’s Hitman: Silent Assassin. While the previous game had suffered from various glitches and some lack luster reviews, it was soon to be overlooked when the sophomore effort from IO Interactive was unleashed. This was a true masterstroke of gaming; the controls while still stiff had somehow been tightened up. The levels while previously diverse and creative were now artistic and intense both in design and mass. This sequel placed 47 as the now retired killer, now settled in a humble lifestyle in a monastery. Soon to be pulled back into the seedy underworld by villainous figures. This game rang true with me, from its epic scope to its pseudo Django Strikes Again inspired warrior monk story. A true homage to the work of both Puzo and Corbucci. This was a refined and beautiful ode to both it’s predecessor and to what many had desired from the original. The brilliant thing was IO’s ability to retain the no hand holding approach of the original, yet add more dynamic options to reach your outcomes. The dark electronics of the original had also now been replaced with a soaring and grandiose score again provided by Jesper Kyd. It’s classical inspirations as well as cinematic score influences were an audio delight. This still holds as the greatest adventure of Agent 47.

Hitman: Contracts (2004)

The next release would be Hitman: Blood Money in 2006, and before you get all upset and say what about Hitman: Contracts from 2004. Well I’m going to cover those two together as Contracts was essentially a remake of levels from the original and some new levels. Though I’m not going to lie, it was nice to see The Meat King. Its story took place between two levels of Blood Money. 47 is out cold and Contracts plays out as a video gamers best of in his head while tying up some loose ends from previous games and creating new open ones. Blood Money on the other hand was a true sequel progressing 47’s gameplay further with the addition of the Tension meter as well as a larger agility set for the player. It’s colours more vibrant along with it’s locations; the streets of New Orleans a standout for sure. The Tension meter was an interesting concept and added that much more challenge to the 47 gameplay formula. It’s implementation meant that guard and civilian awareness carried into your next mission thus intensifying your experience if took the run and gun approach. The question was were gamers willing to go that extra step and man up to it? Sadly I don’t think many people bought it.

Hitman: Blood Money (2006)

It wasn’t until late 2012 when we would find out how 47 had fared from his previous adventures. The character was back finally in Hitman: Absolution, the dynamic elements were intensified from previous experiences with a now more versatile and reactive game engine. This was a brilliant return that rode the knife edge in it’s difficulty levels, if you took the easier road you had a Batman Arkham Asylum style detective mode that would help you in your quest for vengeance. On the harder side you had a no holds barred, hands on experience where you could approach the game as if you would one of the originals, just you, your suit and your twin ballers. The only element that really stuck as lame with me was the lack of Jesper Kyd’s score, who sat out on this affair. This was a just and fare return for the hitman and hopefully it’s not so long before we see him again this time.

Hitman: Absolution (2012)

In an era where everyone is used to the slap dash release schedules of the latest Call of Duty or Zombie inspired shooter. It’s refreshing to know that within the gamut of sequels there is still a few series waging a war on ever simplified gaming and I’m glad to call Hitman one of them.

– Col B.

A Million Dead Birds Laughed at Me

Another one of my recent videos for Melbourne based Grind/Death/Tech/Groove/Whatever masters ‘A Million Dead Birds Laughing’. If you haven’t heard their stuff before, then I highly recommend it. You can get both their albums for free (swing some cash their way if you love it) at the following address:

– Col B.