Archive for Holidays

Silent Night, ScareHouse Night

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2012 by deliriumdog

Warning: No Children Should See This!!

This is the second of two videos we shot on a warm Summer day to promote a Christmas-themed haunted attraction that will run through the Fall. Make sense? No? Good.

As before, the performers you see are actually lip-syncing to scratch tracks recorded by my wife and I. Then we hauled them upstairs after the shoot to capture their voices in small groups to get that choir-like sound. The final mixed track synced up magically with their creepily vacant, animatronic performance. Why? Because if you wish for something with all your heart, it must come true.

It also helped that the guide mix that they lip-synced and sang to had a prominent drum track to keep everyone together. Without it, it the organ alone was difficult for them to sing to in unison. Adding drums tightened things up considerably. Removed for the final mix, nobody’s the wiser. Except you, because you read this.

The last song we twisted was a fairly safe, secular holiday piece, and it received very little in the way of blowback. This take on the more sacred Silent Night…also has not produced any controversy that I know of. Obviously, we’re not trying hard enough.

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‘Tis the Season to be Creepy

Posted in Music, Music Making, Scarehouse with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by deliriumdog

Please make sure that no children are in viewing range or earshot of the video below.

This was a fun project for me because it was driven by the music, which means I was involved early in the process. The concept for this new ScareHouse trailer was that we’d have a creepy chorus (made up of ScareHouse regulars) sing a twisted version of a classic holiday tune followed by your favorite clown, Creepo, in a Santa suit. Creepo is a pretty frightening dude no matter what, but the Santa suit raises it to a new, inexplicable level.

I knew right away that keeping it simple (good advice that I often ignore) was clearly the best way to go. Anything getting in the way of the fact that they are singing “Deck The Halls” with different lyrics could only hurt the message. I also knew that the chorus would have to learn and perform the music in a very short period of time–like thirty minutes while they were being costumed. So I stuck with a simple piano arrangement and two-ish part harmonies with the basses and sopranos branching out to hit a couple notes in their specific ranges.

The lyrics, while few, did not come easy. Five of us bouncing emails around finally arrived at two rhymed couplets that told the story, fit the melody, and also rhymed.

It had to all be “musically correct,” which is to say that I needed to put it down in actual notation that a music reader would understand. Years of using the far-superior piano roll method of composition has made regular notation seem alien to me. Those little black dots now feel like a quaint and arcane way of doing things, but it all came back to me pretty quickly. Logic Pro made it easy to create and print out some nice readable sheet music for the chorus–one reason I still compose in Logic rather than Live.

During the video shoot, the chorus lip-synced to a scratch track sung by my wife and I. There were many takes from many camera angles, so the chorus had a chance to mouth the words over and over. Afterwards, we recorded them in two’s singing over the scratch tracks. The voices of my wife and I were mixed in with the eight chorus members and just a wee bit of editing in post was needed to clarify some of the diction.

I haven’t noticed yet anyone getting angry about this form of blasphemy, but “Deck The Halls” is a pretty secular tune to begin with. Maybe that will come once we mutate a more sacred song.

As @ScareHouseScott recently tweeted, “I wonder if this will still be funny when I’m in hell.”

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