October 15th, 2013 by Ben

The day has finally arrived!  Here’s my music video for the Max Levine Ensemble’s “Ghost Song”!  Just in time for Halloween!  From the album “Mr. Gikokovich 2000-2005: A Retrospective”.  Available for download HERE.

The video is loosely based on a comic David (aka Spoonboy) drew for the original release of “Ghost Song” on the TMLE split with Spirit Animals.

I’m going to try and give a little backstory here, and forgive me if I’m incorrect on everything – I have horrible memory.  I first heard the Max Levine Ensemble around 1999/2000.  I was in high school back in Maryland, and had just recently formed a ska band with my buddies called the Konami Code.  Our guitarist, Darrell, told me that some other kids in the DC scene had started a band, and he played me an mp3 of “Spoonboy’s Revenge” on his computer.  And I remember thinking something like: “Oh this is good.  Like this is actually good.  And they’re a year younger than us?  Wow.”

The Konami Code broke up around 2003, but the Max Levine Ensemble kept going.  And ever since hearing them through those shitty PC speakers, they’ve continued to blow me away with their awesome, ever evolving music, their ability to be sharply political but maintain a sense of humor, and their lyrics.  It’s always seemed like Spoonboy has had the ability to effortlessly convey complex relationships and ideas with a couple of sentences, and then make them rhyme.  Which is always cool.

What I’m saying is, I’ve been a fan of them for years and I’m super glad to have been able to collaborate with them on this music video.  I hope you like it and I hope you check out the Max Levine Ensemble here:

Or was the song I first heard “Curly Brown Hair Love Affair”.  I can’t remember.


September 18th, 2013 by Ben

I finally finished my music video for The Max Levine Ensemble’s “Ghost Song”!  I’m so excited that it’s done after working on it for so long and that it didn’t turn into my own personal Thief and the Cobbler.  Especially since it’s only a minute and a half.  Anyway – I’m still working on release details, but in the mean time, here are some teaser stills.

Ghost Song - Girl at Dawn

Ghost Song - Press

Ghost Song - Girl Point

Ghost Song - JB Ghost Head


July 24th, 2013 by Ben

Some more junks from the music video I’m working on.

Ghost Song - Lonely Girl

She is sad.  I’m getting close to the finish line with this video.  I have about a dozen shots left to animate, but I’ve been compositing each shot as I go – which is why I have all these pictures to share.  Working in shot by shot has allowed me time to tweak my colors – which is good because color theory is not the theory I’m best at.  If I had to pick, I’d say the theory I’m best at is the Theory of Gravity.  I almost never float up off the ground… almost

Ghost Song - Ghost-Pal-Sharp

I’ve also been experimenting with compositing.  Now, I’ve been out of the After Effects games since CS4.  And I’ve noticed all the cool peoples on the internets make their digital animations look more appealing to the eye by blurring the lines slightly.  I found out this effect was called diffusion.  I also found out a plug-in to do this effect costs like 800 bucks.  But I think I found a work around.  I duplicated my entire comp, added a slight lens blur and then dropped the opacity of that layer down to 30%.  The final result:

Ghost Song - Ghost Pal

A slight softening effect that nobody will notice once it’s on Youtube.  Oh and I also added a bit of grain.