Before we commence this little article, let’s remind ourselves of how stupidly creative and attention-grabbing Mike Diva’s video for Savant – Kali 47 is…
Since receiving this video some members of the UKF team have vowed never to wash their eyes again.
Other members have declared that they want to be steampunks when they finally grow up.
ALL of us have joined the Mike Diva fan club. Actually, we were members anyway… Have been since we saw dubstep dog and THAT Kill The Noise video. Turns out Mike is in a fan club too… Savant’s.
“Savant has been one of my favourite artists for a while now. I randomly hit him up and asked if he wanted to work together on something. He got straight back to me and did some music for me with the Mortal Kombat fight short.”
“We wanted to do something bigger so he told me to pick a song off the album and that struck me the most visually. It’s got so many layers, it lent itself to a great visually. He definitely has a very cinematic style of composing his stuff. I love that complextro style.”
The album in question is Cult. Released in 2013, this gives you an idea of how long the project has taken from inception. Once Mike picked Kali 47, Savant launched an Indiegogo project to raise enough money to help Mike realise the madness in his mind. It hit the target with almost a week to spare.
If you invested in this project, thank YOU… This really is a piece of work. Electronic music needs more visual like this! We caught up with Mike to find out a little more about the creative process and how he works and how the video came together…
Actually I have never seen one really cool action steam punk movie or short. Ever. League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Wild Wild West don’t count because they suck!
Western + Steampunk = winning combination
“My buddy and producer Max had the idea of making it a western. The minute he said that I couldn’t shake the vibe from the song. So we started tinkering around with that. The main reason I added steampunk into the mix is because it’s such a cool subculture that’s so striking and open to creative potential. Also it doesn’t have many good music videos or shorts. Actually I have never seen one really cool action steam punk movie or short. Ever. League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Wild Wild West don’t count because they suck!
League Of Steam supplied most of the costumes and were super, super helpful. Their work is more light-hearted, comedy based stuff and they have the most amazing costumes and props. That arm is created by Thomas Willeford and I’m pretty sure it’s the same one Justin Bieber is wearing in his steampunk video!”
People see me directing from this on set. They’re watching me watch a video that just looks like me and my friends dicking around. I’m sure many people are like ‘why are we trusting you?’
“With every video I ever make, it’s imperative that I sit down with the director of photography Jan-Michael Losada and go through every second of the song and really think about what would fit each sound. These ideas will form a shot list. And from that we do a previz.
Everyone does a previz differently; some will story board it, others will use CG but acting out each shot works best for me. You can get a real feel for what things might look like and how the story develops. So when we’re not on set I’m never like ‘oh I think it might be cool if you do it this way or that way’ A pre-vis gives me a very clear vision on what I want and what needs to be on the screen.
I know it looks really dumb if you don’t know what it is. People see me directing from this on set. They’re watching me watch a video that just looks like me and my friends dicking around. I’m sure many people are like ‘why are we trusting you?’
The main dark rider guy Brandon Melendy has played Captain America for a scene in The Winter Soldier. He’s doubled for him in one scene and had a fight with him in another scene.
“We actually shot this with a brand new Red Dragon which is a top of the line, state of art camera. We had access to it and thought ‘why not use the best camera around to shoot this?’ This was a great opportunity, but it came with its challenges later on down the line.
Anyway, we had three weeks to pull everything together; the cast, the costumes, the props, the set, everything. It was pretty intense… This has been one of my biggest operations and we even built a bar out of nothing. There was just a hallway! None of the saloony type of places were in our budget. It was cheaper to make one!
The cast were all a joy to work with. And many of them are all stuntmen. Even little things like slamming to the ground when you’re shot… They’re very carefully orchestrated stunts. The main dark rider guy Brandon Melendy has played Captain America for a scene in The Winter Soldier. He’s doubled for him in one scene and had a fight with him in another scene.
The stunt coordinator Caine Sinclair plays the Clint Eastwoody type of character at the start. I love building up hero characters and killing them off straight away. He’s on Supernatural – if you see a werewolf type creature, he always plays that.”
“So all that really cool CG you see? That’s done by my friend Kial Natale AKA Megasteakman. He’s an amazing artist who can create scenes from nothing. He’s the master. We go back and forth. I give him examples and he’ll build it up. So that took a long time. Especially as he’s in Canada and I’m here in LA and the files we were sharing we so large.
That was the biggest challenge: the whole thing is in 4K. It was shot in 6K but we encoded it at 4K. I’ve never worked with such huge file sizes before; the 4K MP4 took five hours to export alone. This makes the smaller details take longer to fine-tune. I’m a huge perfectionist and I go through every single shot with a magnifying glass to make sure everything is perfect. This is always the way with any music video I make… I don’t make these to make any money, I invest all of the budget into production to make it as awesome as possible. There are some seriously talented video makers like The Daniels, Corridor Digital and Megaforce in the field right now… And I’m proud to be part of this movement.”
Director: Michael “Diva” Dahlquist (http://www.youtube.com/mikediva )
Director of Photography: Jan-Michael Losada
Produced by: Lord Danger (Josh Shadid & Maxwell Reisberg) and Maxwell James
HUGE THANKS to: The nice folks that gave us their hard earned cash on Indiegogo for being so patient and for helping to make this video possible!
League of Steam (https://www.youtube.com/user/LeagueOf…) for providing amazing props and costumes ,
Thomas Willeford (http://www.bruteforceleather.com/) for providing the badass steampunk arm!
Corridor Digital (http://www.youtube.com/corridordigital) for providing equipment and the sweet mini gun
Visual Effects: Kial Natale (http://www.youtube.com/megasteakman)
Mike “Diva” Dahlquist
Aaron Nelson- Purcell
Steven Ray Helton
Story By: Maxwell James, Mike Dahlquist and Jan-Michael Losada
1st AD: Tim Attewell
2nd AD: Sam Shapson
DIT/Monitoring: Rob Anderson
Cameras provided by: Blackwood Cinema
Key Set PA: Joel Blacker
Set PA: Matt Greiner
Set PA: Kyle Castellanet
Set PA: Chris Alexander
1st AC: Rich Hawkinson
2nd AC: Joe DiBartolomeo
Gaffer: Jeffery Peters
Best Boy Electric: Kurt Yochum
Key Grip: John Mijares
Key Grip: Donato Bragnanolo
Best Boy Grip: Edgar Gomez
Costume Designer: Jennifer Newman
Costume Designer: Kai Norman
Set Costumer: Patrick Glendening
Key MU & Hair: Daniela Grasso
MU Assistant: Sydney Hunt
SFX MU: Eric Fox
Coloring by: Mark Wilenkin & Mike Dahlquist
Production Designer: Paul Bianchi
Art Assistant: Stephanie Reese
Stunt Coordinator: Caine Sinclair
Stuntman: Solomon Brende
Stuntman: James Hutchison
Stuntman: Brandon Melendy
Stuntman: Alvin Hsing
TALENT AND EXTRAS:
Cyber Indian: Christopher Cole
Cyber Shaman: Del Zamora
Saloon Dancer: Whitney Moore
Dark Rider: Solomon Brende
Dark Rider: James Hutchison
Dark Rider: Brandon Melendy
Dark Rider: Alvin Hsing
Robo-Arm: Chris Webb
Head Stab Patron: Bryan Mcgowan
League of Steam: Andrew Fogel
League of Steam: Trip Hope
Gun Shot Patron: Matt Mercer
Waitress: Alyssa Onofreo
League of Steam: Kate Walsh
League of Steam: Duane Matthews
Tough Patron: Caine Sinclair
League of Steam: Glen Freund
Piano Player: Russell Isler
League of Steam: Conrad Wright Jr.
Screaming Girl: Marisha Ray
Crawling Patron: Maxwell James
Betty & Richard Antly
Drake & Sparky McTrowell
Brassy Steamington and Aether Pendragna