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CineForge Media Discusses Their Work on "Here Comes Your Ghost" Music Video Using ActionVFX

CineForge Media Discusses Their Work on "Here Comes Your Ghost" Music Video Using ActionVFX

CineForge Media likes to joke about how their Phoenix, AZ office is basically a grown-up's club house, with seven gaming chairs, a ping pong table, retro nostalgia memorabilia everywhere, video games, LED lights, and artwork all over the place. While their "club house" might be the dream office for most adults, they still focus on their work and are impacting the industry one project at a time.

The production company was established to fulfill a need for high quality independent films and creative content. With deep roots in the cinematic arts, their approach to filmmaking embodies a sense of wonder and immersion only found on the silver screen.

CineForge Media consists of three full time employees in the office on a daily basis, along with collaborators, artists, musicians, and students dropping by to shadow and share a place to work. We were given the opportunity to chat with Co-Founders Jeremy Tremp and Scott Conditt on their most recent work on Vinyl Station's music video, "Here Comes Your Ghost."

Before we dive into the interview, check out their 2K17 reel below!

CineForge Reel 2k17 from CineForge on Vimeo.

Scott and Jeremy both went to film school around the same time in 2006-2007 and started consuming as many After Effects tutorials as possible on YouTube. They applied the skills they learned to their own work and eventually were asked to perform VFX for client projects, and the passion for VFX integration grew over time.

After blazing their own trails for some time, they began intertwining their trails into an inferno in 2016. Originally connecting on Facebook, the two shared a mutual love for film and how to go about creating it.

After the success of a short film they combined forces on - 'Show No Mercy,' starring Marty Kove from the original 'Karate Kid' - premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, the embers were stoked and CineForge roared to life. CineForge started as a motion picture company, with the goal of creating higher end cinematic content and producing their first motion picture independently.

What Projects are you guys working or have worked on?
Collectively, we have been writing/producing/shooting/directing/editing and doing VFX work professionally for over 20 years on music videos, commercials for major brands, and feature films - we've worked on them all.

Now, we are working on "the big one." Our company's very own first feature film, titled REBOOT! It's definitely a challenge keeping a production company running while producing a feature, but the final product will most certainly be worth it.

What inspires you guys artists? What was the thing that made you tell yourself “I want to do this as a career?"
I was always a very creative kid growing up. I wasn't a great artist, I didn't have the patience for music, so in the traditional sense I didn't quite know how to express my creative side. This is probably why I was always in trouble for my schemes and practical jokes!

After high school I worked odd jobs here and there, almost when to college for graphic design twice but pulled out at the last minute. Finally, when I was on vacation back in MI my aunt told me to check out a film school that had just opened up. Sure enough, after one meeting I was sold.

Four months later I was back on a plane with two suit cases, 1000.00 bucks in my pocket, and a determination to succeed. I told myself this was it, success or failure was up to me and me alone. No fall back, no part time job, I had figure it out!

Scott: Inspiration comes from the weirdest and wildest places: Long road trips, overly quiet nights, or just rambling with friends and waxing poetic about life and crazy "what if" scenarios around the campfire has spawned more inspiration for me than anything. Telling stories that make me, and hopefully others, feel something is the real core of that inspiration though.

I was obsessed with movies as a kid. An uncle, who was also a filmmaker, showed me how an 8mm camera worked, and I was hooked. It was such an awesome feeling to be rewarded for doing something that I loved, like when I was paid to record live performances of bands I liked as a teen and then get hired to make music videos for them. There was no turning back and no way I was going to be chained to a desk inside a cubicle.

Check out the new Vinyl Station "Here Comes Your Ghost" music video CineForge Media produced below!
Tell us about Vinyl Station's music video, “Here Comes Your Ghost."
When Vinyl Station reached out to us, they wanted us to pitch them on 3 music videos. We decided to divide and conquer, Scott had a treatment, our buddy Dan Fusselman, who is an incredible filmmaker and VFX artist, threw in a concept, and I tackled "Here Comes Your Ghost."

I wanted to do something kind of obscure with a hospital patient that was stuck in a coma. The idea was that she was stuck in her mind with photo memories of life, but not sure what year it is, if she is good or bad, if the nurse is good or bad, etc.

We wanted to give the video a little more flare with some fire VFX. The motivation behind the effects is that she is actually unlocking the ability to conjure flame (This will be explained more in future videos!). In one of the videos we produced along side this one it is almost a prequel to this one as to why she is in a coma.

It's all very loose and free because I don't like to spoon feed what is going on. I like people to draw their own conclusions as to what is happening. For the performance, I wanted to do a ghost in the machine feel.

We found this crazy old ultra sound machine from the early 90s, So we decided to use that as what would be monitoring her vitals. I shot the singers on a black background, then comped them into the plates and added a VHS style filter.

How was working with everyone on the set?
We always have a great time on set, and the guys in VS are really fun to work with. Riah, our actress was great! She mostly had to lay in the bed with her eyes closed on this one. We had a great time shooting her dream sequence shots. After we wrapped, we stayed in a cabin and had a great time playing ping pong and retro games!

What was your thought process during the compositing of the music video?
I think everything turned out about exactly as we imagined it would. I usually have the idea in my head and just roll on set with the master plan. I try to be fluid and find my shots that I know I need the day of.

Since I edit as well, it's easy for me to know what I have, what I need, and how it will all cut together. For me, it's like building legos; I see all the little parts I have to work with, then I start to fit them together.

Another cool thing about this video is I shot on my set of vintage Russian lenses. This is a kit I have been putting together over the years with cool vintage glass. I wanted it to have a different look than my clean Zeiss lenses. So we shot on those and my RED Raven.

Scott: The imagery Jeremy captured on set was beautiful. We went into the compositing phase with the idea of enhancing the overall aesthetic with your elements in a way that walked that razor's edge between looking organic, but playing out on screen in a way that had a touch of surreal to it.

I think the ActionVFX implementation on this video suited that effect perfectly. Your products served to amplify and enhance an already interesting composition and aesthetic. They elevated it to new heights and also increased production value greatly.

Take a look at CineForge's BTS video they made for Vinyl Station's "Here Comes Your Ghost" music video!
How did you find out about ActionVFX?
I saw one of your posts in Facebook and followed the page. We became big fans of what you were doing. You guys seemed to have the same spirit of just making cool stuff happen. We loved that, and to be honest, we believe ActionVFX has the best stock assets on the market. When it came time to fill out our projects with visual effects, it was a no brainer to team up with you guys.

Discuss your work with ActionVFX assets on the music video.
The assets developed by your team are, by far, some of the most expertly produced and easy to work with on the market today. They look great, and because they were produced by fellow filmmakers and VFX artists who understand the intricacies of the post-production VFX workflow, they integrate within timelines inside of After Effects or Premiere flawlessly, with little effort to achieve an amazing result. 

Not only were the Fire, Smoke, Ember, and Atmospheric elements used in "Here Comes Your Ghost" a dream to work with, your team gave the initial edit a review and provided some extremely beneficial suggestions on how to tweak the fine tuning and settings on the assets within the After Effects interface to truly achieve the most appealing and organic look we were after.  

How were ActionVFX elements different from other assets you’ve used in your VFX work?
Aside from looking incredible in 4K, the way that the ActionVFX assets were captured allowed for no image cropping on the asset Collections we worked with. When embers appear from off camera, they don't suddenly disappear at the top of the captured frame into nothingness. 

Your Team had the foresight and intuition to record the assets in a fashion that allowed for this. Other VFX asset companies often times do not produce them in this same manner, and as such, you are limited in terms of how much the stock effect may actually be applied to your composition. 

Motion tracking the scenes, keying, and scaling the elements was a breeze. Applying color masks to "warm up" the hot spots around the light source of the flames seen on screen before applying a final color grade to the image, as suggested by your team, really helped sell that the fire was in fact living and breathing on screen.    

What are some things that help you stay creative and innovative?
I think just knowing that I always have so much to learn keeps me going. Whenever I finish a project, I see it and think, eh.. its good but it can always be better. Not in a negative way, but I guess I just always look for what I can be doing better and compare myself to my inspirations and the guys doing huge films.

Collaborating with others that have different ideas always gets me refreshed and ready to roll. That's one of the things I love most about this industry.

Scott: Accepting challenges, ESPECIALLY when you're not sure you can handle them, and asking questions, especially "Why not?" There's a million opportunities to create, and the tools have never been more accessible.

For me, it's like an ever-present wave of guilt if I'm not actively pursuing the next challenge, the next opportunity, and surrounding myself with likeminded creatives who are pushing themselves, and one another to do better. It becomes a positive momentum that's hard to slow down once it gets rolling.

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

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