Jamie Gardner 5 p.m., July 20
Local Lab Catches Pop Duo’s Criminal Love in 3D
Memphis, Tennessee teen pop duo Memphis High is the latest band to have one of its videos converted to 3D by local PassmoreLab, which has been carving out a rock video niche by working with Slash, Plain White T’s, Osaka Popstar, and others.
“Criminal Love” features 16-year old Witt McKay and 17-year old Grant Vogelfanger in full stereoscopic 3D amidst bustling traffic, hoisting signs up to passing cars and wooing girls on the beach. The video follows up the company’s recent 3D reworking of Linkin Park’s “Iridescent,” from the Transformers: Dark of the Moon soundtrack.
“Last month, we saw the release of the first 3Denabled smart phone, the HTC Evo 3D,” says James Humann, Executive Producer with PassmoreLab. “With the recent launch of the Nintendo 3DS and with LG’s Thrill and Samsung’s Galaxy 3D hitting the U.S. market soon, the entire music industry is excited about the growing opportunities to deliver 3D music videos via ‘glasses-free’ handheld devices. Band managers and labels are seeing 3D as a visual innovation that can transform a music video from primarily a marketing device used to promote record sales into a legitimate source of consumer entertainment.”
Memphis High’s “Criminal Love” video is currently running on MTV-U as a Freshman feature, as well as on in-store video networks at Wet Seal, Journeys, and -- hitting the kids where they hang out -- at all Six Flags theme park locations.
The Bay Park–based PassmoreLab was founded in San Diego in 2003 by company president Greg Passmore. "One of the really great things about the 3D conversion we're doing," he says, "is that a lot of content that otherwise may be seldom seen is now getting a new and fresh look. It also creates a more immersive experience for the viewer.”
Earlier this year, Chicago rock band Plain White T’s worked with the company on a 3D conversion of their “Rhythm of Love” video, off their Wonders of the Younger album.
Plain White T’s frontman Tom Higgenson says the album's songs designed to create a feeling of nostalgia. “We wanted to take our fans to an unexpected place with the record, and that carries through to the 3D video version of 'Rhythm of Love,'" says Higgenson. “You feel like you are on that beach, right there next to us.”
“It really works well in 3D, and surrounds the viewer with a feeling of summer romance,” says Steve Glum, PassmoreLab’s head of Branding & Distribution.
Plain White T’s “Rhythm of Love” 3D music video is highlighted on the current Mitsubishi 3D demonstration reel, used (potentially) in over 11,000 North American retail locations.
Last year, the company produced a video with Slash.
“We converted the original video into 3D for Slash and did the deal with him,” says Glum. The company produced a 3D version of the guitarist’s sci-fi music video “By the Sword” from his self-titled solo album. “Slash was on tour during the conversion but was on top of every aspect of the video. We do many music videos, but this one was special because it was Slash.”
“By the Sword” is set in a postapocalyptic future, in a deserted power plant where music-starved survivors are rocking out to Slash and his band, which features singer Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother. “The 3D conversion took about four weeks to complete,” according to Glum.
“We found the underground setting of the video quite demanding. The quick camera cuts, sweeping movement, and low lighting gave us some challenges. But the final 3D video looks cool, especially the audience stop-action cuts, where Slash is wailing on his guitar during the solo. I can tell you that Slash in any form is cool, but Slash in 3D is awesome.”
All stereoscopic aspects were produced in San Diego. The company’s multimedia 3D production studio now boasts an extensive library of 3D content for licensing. Slash’s 3D video is also screening on television in Canada, and Glum predicts the broadcasts will result in Canadians buying twice as many 3D-capable TVs this year.
“They’ll have to buy another 3D TV because their kids blew out their speakers in the first one.”
One of Passmore's early on-site creators was Michael Page. Though best known for his stint with Iggy Pop (1979 to 1984), bassist Page has also performed and recorded with David Bowie, Chubby Checker, Jerry Lee Lewis, and New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, with whom he formed the band Criminals.
“Iggy introduced me to Johnny Depp around ‘92,” says the Kearny High graduate (1968), “and Johnny put me in charge of throwing a band together with him, the Vipers. However, that project ended up clashing with his movie shooting, so that’s when I bailed on live road gigs in favor of working at home, scoring for films.”
Page, who grew up in North Park, lives near Banker’s Hill. “We teamed up with rock photographer Bob Gruen,” says Page, “to convert his well-known iconic images to a format that can be viewed on stereoscopic displays.”
Gruen was the personal photographer for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and served as tour photographer for the Clash and Kiss. His extensive photo archive includes the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, the Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Patti Smith, Bo Diddley, Blondie, Bob Marley, and the Sex Pistols.
“It would be incriminating to say how far back I go with Bob, so let’s just say that we’ve both seen a lot and are blessed to be alive to tell about it,” jokes Page. “We had the recent opportunity to bring Bob from New York to the lab in San Diego, to see what we were cooking. I knew he would flip, and boy did he ever! As I recall, after his initial shock reaction at seeing our work, his first whispered words were ‘I’ve seen the future.’”
Bassist Page prefers his current gig to the rock and roll lifestyle. “It’s a lot less dangerous than dodging bottles with Iggy Pop,” he says.
Another 3D Passmore video was done for glam act Semi Precious Weapons. “Including the champagne and a gallon of gold body paint, it ran about $30,000,” says Page.
“We shot the entire project in one long day but spent a considerably longer time building the sets and even longer time cleaning up afterwards. The cost for a 3D production is significantly more than 2D, partially due to the complex editing processes.”
PassmoreLab didn’t recruit a local band for the video (which included “taxidermy and glam ghouls spewing metallic body fluids,” according to Page) but used a New York City band, the Semi Precious Weapons.
“The band was awesome and ripe for 3D,” says Page. “The front man Justin is so full of energy and so animated.… They seemed to muster up an artistic concoction that had similar tastes and sensibilities as my old cronies the New York Dolls, sprinkled with a bit of Iggy Pop flavoring.”
“Magnetic Baby” was shot in San Diego, in both 3D and 2D format. “We are interested in releasing the 3D version in Japan, where they have been successfully broadcasting 3D television for a while now.”
So why make the investment? According to the titular head of the company, “PassmoreLab is in the business of producing films and as part of this function finances and performs production services in exchange for back-end revenue off the resulting content.”
Other PassmoreLab 3D rock video productions have been done with Johnny Ramone, punk-rockers Osaka Popstar & the American Legends of Punk (“Wicked World”); Sammy Hagar (“Loud”); and the company is currently in pre-production on “Run You Down”, the first 3D video for Hollywood Records’ all-girl teen rockers Cherri Bomb.
Here's the 2D version of "Criminal Love":
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