My father, Thomas Geoghegan, is a lifelong composer and classical guitarist of the old school variety. As a young lad, he was trained on the guitar by Andres Segovia and later, in composition, by Samuel Barber - not exactly lightweights of their respective fields. Often declaring himself to have been born in the wrong century, and despite the wondrous technological leaps of the past 20 years, my father- much like his predecessors- still chooses to write his music with pen and paper. Likewise, he still edits his recordings on analog tape… you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks. For this video, which was meant to help usher my father’s artistic presence into the 21st century, I chose to employ some newer tricks.
The premise was simple: to showcase my father’s compositional skills as well as his technical prowess – a work which anyone could watch to appreciate the music in itself as well as something other guitarists could study for technique. I wanted it to be casual, straightforward and without pretension, simply capturing my father in his element. In other words, no tuxedo, no immaculate white background and no ponderous cutaways of snowy vistas or black & white abstractions of silk and marble.
How I Did It:
From a production standpoint, I wanted to have several angles with which to view the performance so that the finished piece would not only impart an intimate perspective of his playing, but also be engaging to watch. Since I only had one camera (a Canon 7D), I had him perform the piece four times, capturing each run from a different angle. Luckily, my father is an incredibly consistent player, and this made editing the takes in post over a final composite of the audio a relatively painless endeavor.
The audio was recorded into four channels- 1 stereo pair on a H4N zoom recorder and 2 condenser mics recorded dual-mono close up on the body and neck of the guitar, just out of frame. Once a final edit/mix of the audio was put together in Logic, I imported it into Final Cut and lined up all the video takes with the final mix. I carefully identified beforehand which takes were used in the final mix, so that I could match them as often as possible to their ‘true’ video counterparts while editing, and then adjusting other secondary shots left and right on the timeline to give the appearance of aligning with the music. The final result is largely seamless and therefore a pleasing and editorial success.
As a final touch, subtle color grading accented the already moody lighting, giving it a somewhat warm and rustic feel. My father, who built our house in the style of a log cabin using little more than a chainsaw and a hammer in the way of tools, approves of rustic.
There are currently more videos like this one in progress, and they will be available at thomasgeogheganmusic.com and his youtube page (youtube.com/ThomasGeogheganMusic).