The reasons they are challenging or complex vary from case to case, but for today’s How We Built This we’ll look back at the piece we built for the Eminem music video, Berzerk.
When building in the music video industry, you usually are faced with many challenges like budget, restrictions and timeline.
For this project we had the luxury of working with a very talented and experienced production designer named Alex Pacion. He needed a HUGE boom box for Eminem to perform in front of and possibly on top of.
As if building something of this scale isn’t difficult enough, we only had 2 1/2 days from when we received approval on our build design until Eminem would be walking into the studio to record the video.
Alex Pacion has been a Production Designer in the industry for many years specializing in Film/TV/Music Video.
He has worked with many artists throughout the years to bring some awesome visions to life!
We have collaborated with Alex on many projects over the years but this one was early on in our relationship, coming shortly after we built a set for a promotion of a SciFi Channel show.
For this build, we had to create a “larger than life” Boom Box that Eminem could interact with and perform on/in front of.
We had to achieve this high quality build in a 48 hour turnaround and within the approved budget.
Alex had sent us a few images of boom boxes that he liked to use as reference.
Joe (the lead designer) then took those images and created a design that captured all the important characteristics of an iconic “boom box” while making sure it wasn’t so complex that we wouldn’t meet our deadline.
No client is ever happy to receive something beautiful but only half built. An overly complex design can start the project off way behind before any wood has even been passed through the table saw.
This is how we planned out the project:
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Aside from the compressed timeline, we had agreed to make the boom box interactive.
We Installed color chase LEDs to simulate an equalizer, working buttons and a tape deck that opened. If that wasn’t enough, the client had a last minute ask by Alex to make an actual cassette tape that could be removed from the boombox independently.
Our experience making the cassette tape was very useful when we were asked to make a “Purple Tape” coffee table as part of a set we made for a Fuse TV show.
One of the main challenges on this project was we built it before we had purchased our Multicam 5’ x 10’ CNC router.
As a result, every circle and ring had to be cut by hand using routing jigs. This results in many more man hours needed for the build. We ended up working for two days straight in order to get it completed on time.
The large speakers were made with stretched fabric and created a realistic look and feel.
The buttons were attached with European cabinet hinges so they would support themselves and still yield and lock into place when pushed.
For some last minute “pop” the client had requested adding chrome detailing to the speaker rims which had to be done after the Boom Box was complete and installed already.
The Cassette tape was built from start to finish in 6 hours by Brandon with no build drawings.
It isn’t usually the way we like to work, but sometimes there isn’t time to do build drawings and a very skilled fabricator and still build the object quickly.
In the end we were able to create an incredible show piece that was the main focal point of the video.
Beats by Dre (who had sponsored the video) was so pleased that they kept the cassette tape to hang in their offices.
It’s always a great compliment when someone likes a temporary piece so much that they want to keep it permanently.
It also cemented us as a preferred builder with the production designer and led to many more challenging projects.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Having the right tools for the project makes an incredible difference in being able to deliver quality in a short timeline.
This is a huge part of our industry so we committed to prioritizing accumulating machinery that expands our capabilities.
Yes, new tools and machines can be a large expense, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of having the perfect tool for the job…and nothing quite as miserable as trying to force the wrong tool to fit the situation and being left with sub par results.
Remember, the “Right” tools can make all the difference when it comes to delivering on time and
Check out our portfolio site Supermatic to see other dynamic projects we have completed over the years.
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