TUTV will now be airing “Miss Carmen San Diego,” a music video shot by Jake Rasmussen, writer and co-creator of The Grog Show, in one take, featuring Sebastian Ade, who wrote the song. Read the interview below to learn more about how it was made.
Which class was this for?
Jake: It was for Moving Camera, a film course where we learn different techniques of shooting, such as using Steadicam rigs, Dollies and other rigs. It was an assignment called “Long Take”, where we had to create a shot that had no cuts in it, and was continuous. This worked for the project, since it was a steady 20-minute shot from beginning to end.
Tell me about how you shot the video.
Jake: It took a lot preparation. I slowed down the song so instead of being 2 minutes, it was 20 minutes. I used the Pro Tools session that I recorded him in, stripped out the guitar so it was only his voice, and then added in cues for him to bounce off of while filming. Then, I gave him this 20-minute version one week before filming, so he could rehearse. I put the long version on two iPods for shooting day. I used my HDV camcorder and a Steadicam from class to film this. We took a taxi down to Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive. I gave him one of the iPods, and then behind the camera I have ear buds in my ears too. We listened to the same 20 min track, and in the beginning of the music video you hear me saying the tracks are in sync. Finally, I set up the frame, and just tracked backwards while he walked normally, yet sang very slowly with the slowed song.
How many takes did you have to do?
Jake: We only did one take. While filming, I was listening closely to my iPod to make sure he was staying in sync, and since I didn’t see any errors, I said, “Alright, it’s cold. That was perfect. Let’s go home!”
How did you get it to sync up correctly?
Jake: This was tricky. Though the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Since I slowed the song down from 100% (normal speed) to 10% (slow speed), the ratio was 10:1. Therefore, if I wanted to flip it around and make what was filmed fast and what was slow to appear normal, the speed would need to be multiplied by 10. After importing the 20-minute footage, I sped up the speed at 100% (normal speed) to 1000% (fast speed), and it worked perfectly. I practiced before filming just to make sure all of this would work.
When did you write/record the track in the video?
Sebastian: I wrote the song spring semester of my freshman year, and we recorded it the same semester. A friend of mine, Michael Johnson, actually accompanied me in the recording. He is an awesome guitarist!
What is the significance behind the song?
Sebastian: My main inspiration for all the songs I write are my friends and the stories I hear. I don’t have that many stories about love, but there is a lot to be said about the picture I paint about heartbreak and being in love. My songs are about what goes on in my head when I do think about infatuation, loss, and falling in love. “Carmen San Diego” is about loving someone who doesn’t take you seriously. Someone who is leading you on and can move on just like that. So I call her Carmen San Diego because she is smooth and mysterious like the TV character Carmen Sandiego.
How does songwriting fit into your studies?
Sebastian: The art of storytelling is still something that I trying to get a good grip on. It’s hard! For a TV show, you have to tell a story in half an hour to an hour. In pop songwriting, you have less than 10 minutes. Commitment-wise, it’s hard to do both. Some weeks I’ll write one verse to a song. When I’m not busy doing homework and I’m inspired, I could write three songs in two hours. However, it’s hard to find the time to really work on music. I know it’s there though.
Why did you two decided to team up?
Sebastian: Jake lived in my hallway freshman year and always made videos. I would always help him with his projects. He is good at what he does, so when he reaches out to me for help I trust that he will make both of us look good.
Why a music video?
Sebastian: If you put a filmmaker in a room a musician, what would you expect? I feel like it combines both of our strengths equally.
Jake: I have had this idea for a while, so it fit perfectly for this project in a long take. I loved his song and thought it was perfect for this idea I had.
How did you decide the location?
Sebastian: I have never walked on Kelly Drive and Jake was explaining how the scenery is nice and how there are runners and cyclist there all the time. It seemed appropriate for the concept he envisioned.
Jake: I wanted to pick a location that I have never shot at before, and get off campus. I also needed an area that I could follow some sort of path on, so that way I could concentrate on the shot and follow a walkway. Plus, I thought Kelly Drive would be cool to see the heavy traffic speed by when sped up.