Citizen Doug does Vari-speed Music Video Playback

Varispeeding audio playback while a camera over or under-cranks is not a new technique. I am able to match a variety of camera frame rates on set, on demand. I was hired to do the first three days of on set playback in Houston on Solange’s short film “When I Get Home.” The second video release of this material “Almeda” uses some of the images shot while I did playback. Solange spent a lot of time crafting this work as can be seen by the number of scenes that obviously are Houston and many that are not. With so much rich material, many of the scenes we shot were not used or were re-purposed. The whole piece is psychedelic and reminiscent in tone. The mixture of images generated at different time base rates help build that mood. It would be difficult to claim or reveal very much at all about the process. A clear example of a shifted base rate that I supported is the spinning cowboy hat. Notice that Solange’s lip sync performance is spot-on while the hat moves a little slower than it would naturally.

So since I couldn’t easily explain the process, I decided to make a demo
for Instagram of the varispeed playback rig I assembled. I couldn’t get all the elements of this special rig demonstrated in under two minutes and Instagram is limited to one minute. No problem! Varispeed that! You will notice that the clocks are running at double speed and the demonstration of the director’s mic, recorded live, is pitched up. This goofy little demo is the opposite of beautiful divas languidly dancing and lip syncing. It was shot and edited over a single take as a one man band.

As a side note, it was a tremendous honor and pleasure to work with Chayse Irvin, CSC (DOP “BlacKKKlansman”). He is a remarkably gifted and pleasant professional. Film pros of my vintage and local always wonder if we will ever get to work in 35mm film again. His insight and requests helped hone the techniques that I used and both conserved film stock and saved film related budget. Like me, I know that he didn’t work on every frame in this expansive work, but his early influence set the bar high

Equipment in the demo includes Zoom F8n, Zoom F8 Control app, Apple Mac Pro, Apple iPad, Avid Pro Tools, Denecke Time Code Slates, Yeti Source Zero 1400, Lectrosonics IFB, Lectrosonics digital hybrid wireless

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