HD Video, 8:51 min.
Directed by Geoff Groberg and Wei Ying.
Atomic Retro Customs is a short documentary about Matt Nowicki, a luthier in North Carolina building electric guitars that have become famous for their retro designs and custom details. This film explores his process for constructing electric guitars and the inspiration behind his designs: classic science fiction and old-world craftsmanship. The film screened at regional festivals in the South in 2015 and 2016.
The Silence of War is a transmedia storytelling project about a small group of African American Vietnam Veterans from rural Eastern North Carolina. Their stories are told through interviews, photos, videos and other media.
The project was created by faculty and students at Wake Forest University. I was a co-director and also led the web development and design.
The technical side of things
The framework is built for storytelling. Stories are created with a series of slides that contain all kinds of rich media. Video, audio, images, text, gradients, and more can be layered in interesting ways and navigated with smooth transitions in between. There are lots of interesting techniques I used to help with things like positioning text, creating rich full-screen backgrounds (including video backgrounds), overlaying transparent vignettes and gradients, and creating smooth background audio transitions.
Building the framework gave me some new ideas and changed the way I think about storytelling on the web. Background audio is especially interesting to me in this type of application and I’m planning on doing more with it in the future.
“You know Cecilie I’m just calling because you are a friend of mine and I want to tell you that you have a pretzel in your ear.”
I was digging through some old video tapes and found this, from 1996. I took a video camera with me when I toured with the International BYU Folk Dance Ensemble. I was musician and I had the time of my life traveling around on a bus in Scandinavia with a bunch of college students.
I apologize in advance that not everyone from the tour is represented equally here. But I hope this brings back some good memories. I had forgotten a few things and it made me laugh out loud more than once.
Here is a movie about kids making a movie. These are my kids: Eira, Lucy, and Amanda feeding and playing with the neighbor’s chickens and ducks. Our dog, Natasha, wishes she could join in, but she is a well known chicken killer.
When I was a younger film student, I made a short documentary titled “Il Contrabasso.” It’s about Brady Ward, an acoustic bass player, and his thoughts about the instrument. Here’s the film (about 4 minutes long):
As Brady mentions in the film, the acoustic bass, and really all acoustic instruments, have a quality that is soothing and natural, almost healing. For me, the acoustic bass is sort of the epitome of acoustic-ness. You add that acoustic bass sound, and the whole recording is suddenly four times bigger, organic and rich.
I suppose most musicians who specialize in a particular instrument have an irrational love for their instrument. I remember my piano teacher looking at me and, in a sober tone, explaining what to her was a simple, obvious fact. She said, “You know Geoff, the piano is actually the most beautiful instrument ever invented.” And that was that. It wasn’t an opinion. And it certainly wasn’t to be argued with. It was as if this fact had been proven by irrefutable scientific study. The earth is round, not flat. And it really doesn’t matter what other instruments you play. The piano is the most beautiful. Period. (By the way, I kind of agree with her.)
I’d love to hear about your favorite instruments and why you love them. Even if it’s totally irrational.