"You Make My Dreams" Uke cover by Mark Suszko

My favorite song for haulin' oats.
 
My favorite song for haulin' oats.
Work anecdote; 1980's, I was the new guy on the scene, we're making and editing commercials for the Illinois State Fair grandstand shows, and the guy making the on-screen Chyron text for the spots wrote "Haulin' Oats" for "Hall and Oates" because he was a country bumpkin who didn't listen to rock stations, had never heard of the band, thought it was a country & western band... and didn't bother to check first. Laughingstock of the office, his blunder cost us a lot of money to fix the typo after the fact, and so the job of making the commercials for the next twenty or so years was given to... me:)
 
Yet another great production, Mark! A very enjoyable listen.
I spent a week learning and practicing it in the original key, which is harder to play. Then one morning before breakfast, was noodling and tried it in A, which is way easier to play and also a better fit for my range. It's not that I could't do it in Hall's key, but just that it sounded more mellow and in keeping with the mood I was trying to set in A.
 
Tech talk:
If you're curious about how the video is done, it's one, locked-off 4k video camera wide-shot. The final product will be in 2K resolution, you need the extra pixels from the 4K capture to avoid fuzziness when you do digital re-framing and zooms in post-production.

You start rolling the camera, and never touch it again, until everything is done. I did the main center part first, playing and singing along to a guide track. Then I changed shirts and played back an audio file of the center part, on a loop, and did the egg shaker chair part... change shirts again, do the couch part. And shoot the empty room for a "plate" shot, a backup for helping fix problems, just in case. Only then do I touch the camera again to turn it off; if you bump the camera between takes, or move any furniture, the effect is spoiled, and you have to start all over.

It's roughly three takes each for the two side parts, until I think it's right. In this case shooting all three took about 90 minutes.

In the edit, you pick the best take of each of the three parts, align them in a vertical stack on the timeline by their audio so they are in synch, and use a feather-edged masking tool to isolate the three overlapped parts, cropping out what you don't need from each. That becomes the new, master, wide 3-shot, which I can digitally zoom into and make pans and other framings with, to give the illusion of multiple cameras. I go back to the single shot of me in the center, synch it up, add another copy of that over the top of the wide shot, mark the parts where I want my close-ups to be, slice it up and remove the unwanted bits or make invisible the parts that were covering up the wide shot.

This trick is easy to do if the three people don't overlap; if they do overlap, you then have to hand-rotoscope a mask around the overlapped part, frame-by-frame... which is slow and tedious, for me anyway, because I won't pay the high subscription prices for the new AI-based tools. You can make overlapped shots if you remember to add in a green screen between the three people and the center person position, then the layering becomes "super-easy, barely an inconvenience".
 
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Thanks so much for letting us know how you filmed this, Mark. It was fun to watch it again with this information; to appreciate more of the video artistry involved. I don't quite understand why the "plate" shot is done or how it is used to fix problems. Is this in case of accidental overlaps between the figures?
 
"I don't quite understand why the "plate" shot is done or how it is used to fix problems. Is this in case of accidental overlaps between the figures?"

Just so. Back in early film days, for special effects compositing jobs, an artist would paint a background onto a plate of glass with holes in the painting to let the actual scene come thru. Because the painting and the live action were both in the same lighting, everything matched up pretty well... anyhow I think the name comes from that. How we use it for something like this video is, it's there to allow pieces of it to be used to patch over any obvious flaws or overlaps... but also, if i'd needed to shoot green screen of this shot or a part of it, that's very handy to have as the background for the green screen element as it's own layer. In one of the takes, I laid down a uke on the table runner and forgot to remove it before shooting the take, and it was a continuity error. I wound up not needing that take, but If id' had to use that take, I could grab the table runner area of the plate shot, lay it down over just the problem spot, and magically make it disappear.

This video didn't use any green screen; it's the very old "Patty Duke Show" method, with no real optical tricks needed.
 
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