Content Is King: McHenry Bros short feature shot on mobile phone


Some of us, especially in the recording/studio sector, spend a lot of time arguing about sometimes very small differences in characteristics between competing bits of kit…

Some argue about what the most important element of the signal chain is — but many of us will argue that in a signal chain, every element of the chain is important.

But, what if, in an otherwise top-level project, one takes just one of those vital elements — one where there can be a wide range of quality — and substitutes a really cheap piece of gear for an element where that quality is considered crucial?

That’s what Nokia did to demonstrate the video quality in the built in cam on their new N8 smartphones, hiring the McHenry brothers to create a seven and a half minute, high production quality video shot entirely on a mobile phone. (Post-production, I think it’s safe to say, was not done in the phone.)

[I have no connection with Nokia, business, consumer, or otherwise. I use a Blackberry.]

Movie music — and how it got that way…


I can barely watch 70s and 80s movies because of the obligatory insertion of numerous pop tunes. Hard to believe how utterly annoying and distracting they typically are.

I saw both Easyrider and Midnight Cowboy the night they both debuted in Westwood (the upscale residential area near UCLA where movies often premiered in the 60s and 70s).

Of course, not only would both become huge — if somewhat unlikely — hits, their mega-hit status would all but ensure countless marketer-mashes of inappropriate or clumsily chosen music wedded with typically formulaic hollywood drivel.

Unfortunately, the marketers missed the fact that it was probalby more the unexpectedly contrarian charms of those movies that sold audiences on them, rather than the post-Graduate soundtracks dominated (like the enormously popular Graduate) by pop tunes.

To my way of thinking
, movie music should serve the movie — not the marketing agenda of some multi-national megacorp looking to pump up ancillaries.

That said, the brain-dead, soulless lumps of nescience we laughingly describe as the movie-going public sucked it all up like so much high fructose corn syrup, one horrible movie wedded to one annoying soundtrack after another until I could barely stand to go into a theater.

In the online conversation that got me thinking about all this, someone mentioned that a shining exception to distracting pop tunes in movies was the truly beloved Bogart-Bergman vehicle, Casablanca, and the song, “As Time Goes By.”

The saving grace in Casablanca is that the song is performed onscreen (or a good semblance of it, anyhow), and in a very human, real-feeling manner that completely fits the plot and the song’s place in it.

You can see the wedding of music and movie done right in this clip  from the movie at YouTube [of course, it may be gone by the time you get there, that’s how it goes in the netherworld of online IP]. You’ll see Sam and Ilsa during the first performance of the song, ending when Bogie’s character comes in.

Then, in this particular clip, someone has made  an edit and we go into a visual montage from the movie and stills of the radiant Bergman, with Frank Sinatra singing the song from a later recording. (Feel free to come back to this page while you listen to Frank’s fine but still not-quite-there performance.)

But the first sequence from the movie shows how great music can be when it’s really married to the movie.

A thought provoking — and funny — view of music biz management in the early 21st Century

THIS not-entirely-tongue-in-cheek speed-tutorial from music biz manger Peter Malkin is actually quite good, both informative (in providing a quick but semi-encyclopedic catalog of many of the services a young artist or band manager might enlist) and thought-provoking, both on his punchline message — but also about specific aspects of the virtual world processes that we all know won’t be going away any time soon and that someone involved with shepherding bands to marketplace will have to deal with.

But it’s directed at old guys who did not grow up in the virtual world.

Like me.

Now, I almost entirely live in the virtual world. My job’s online. Its product is online. My entertainment is almost entirely online (except for 6 symphonies a year), and my social life is mostly online (particularly if you count the telephone system, which one might have the temerity to suggest is the real, historic, conceptual root of the internet). I’ve been online since 1987 (before the web, I was involved in the dial-up BB scene) …

… but I didn’t grow up here. I’m an immigré.

I know my way around, of course, but it’s not — as the science-know-nothing, online pop social crits say — in my DNA. (I’m even somewhat fluent in the local idioms, eh?)

Kids whose first gig isn’t at the local coffee shop or beer bar but rather online do not even need someone to list all those ventures (most of them sooner-or-later-to-fail but some of them certainly due to grow and become integral, necessary institutions).

They already know what’s important now and have the antennae (the smart ones, anyhow) to sense out which up-and-comers to watch — while many of us old-timers, perhaps caught up in out own, long ago, (more or less) youthful dreams of what the internet might become, often seem to focus on what we wish would come true rather than what will come true because of the inescapable but not always visible-to-everyone realities of fifteen minutes from now

More info: Peter Malkin’s