Robert Peak has been making films since he was old enough to pick up his parents’ VHS camera. This music video for The Midnight was a passion project that his roommate, director Trevor Hancock, developed on a free evening.
Robert Peak – the interview
I have been working in film with my childhood best friend, fellow filmmaker Nathan Mowery (Kind Punk), since we were old enough to pick up my parents’ VHS camera. Freshman year in college I led a class on producing a TV show and developed it for broadcast on the local TV station with other students.
Following graduation, the original students and I produced a string of surrealist TV series on the same station in their studio – an abandoned hosiery mill at the time. We were allowed to broadcast whatever show we wanted to make in exchange for working on aiding the production of their other programming. Stylistically we were omnivorous, so we made everything we could on that platform in our free time.
A few years later, I received the opportunity to work in the film community in Atlanta, GA. I was employed by the in-house production team at DDP Yoga, a health and fitness company led by the former WWE hall-of-famer Diamond Dallas Page. I function as an editor, production team member, camera op, colorist, audio guy, etc – whatever is needed.
On January 1st of 2019, a new Professional Wrestling company by the name of All Elite Wrestling was announced. From the very beginning in January of that year I worked with several colleagues in film to help develop the Road To Double Or Nothing web series that led to their first major PayPerView, and we have been actively involved in the production of their pretapes, docuseries, and promotional videos ever since. I continue to work with DDPY, the weekly broadcasts of AEW on TNT Drama, and my childhood best friend’s company Kind Punk in the wrestling, broadcast, rock and roll, and documentary scenes.
Currently, my role is a combination of things. I travel with the wrestling company AEW to contribute to the production of the weekly show, I work with my DDPY team on their many different projects, and I contribute to Kind Punk wherever I can. I function as a colorist, shooter, and editor primarily. Color is my primary passion.
How did the project come about?
[Trevor’s] visual aesthetic is deeply influenced by the 80s and nostalgia, and he wanted to give a song with that feeling a visual compliment. The Midnight uses a lot of fan-made music videos for their work, so we felt contributing to that would be a fun way to escape the intensity of the work we do on sets and just be artistically loose for an afternoon. He got two friends, actress Deanna Schaekel and David Travisano, to come to our house and he directed us through the visuals. I shot the video and did the final color in post. The direction was clear, but still flexible enough for us to have fun. Color was the most important tool in my arsenal for the music video to have the right feel, so I shot on a clean BMPCC4K and a simple string of lenses to make sure everything in post had room to breathe tonally.
How did you hear about FilmConvert?
Many of the independent filmmakers I work with and trust in the Atlanta area seems to use filmconvert as an ingredient at some level, so I have heard about it for several years. They generally say they have tried not to be dependent on it, but they are always drawn back to filmconvert for their final grades. I avoided the plugin for a few years because I couldn’t have it on the multiple computer setups we use for work, but in 2019 I gave in and have been loving the grit it can provide.
What made you decide to use FilmConvert for this proeject?
When it came to the texture and nostalgic grit this project needed, filmconvert just made the most sense. I am omnivorous when it comes to different softwares and I tried several, but filmconvert was the best fit.
Tell us about stylistic look and creative intent for the film
The look of this was a challenge because I don’t usually get to do happy or warmly sentimental videos, so I had to search for a visual texture that brought that out in me. Overall, the feel of the piece was influenced by what I remember from older TV reruns and shows that I experienced as a kid when I was more upbeat. The basketball court scene in particular feels like an episode of Full House I can’t place, for reasons I find it difficult to articulate. The director also loves pinks and blues, so I dabbled in splashes of that around the warm nostalgic orange of the sunlight.
How did you use FilmConvert in your grading workflow?
Based on the tools I was using at the time, I had to keep the coloring process within Adobe Premiere. I dove in to the cut with my usual treatments to get the BMPCC footage where I like it. I did several passes within Lumetri, and applied filmconvert for texture and the unique effect it had on the blues. Camera profile was exclusively for the BMPCC4K, and the film stock the director liked the most was KD 5207 Vis3 for 16mm. Per the director, we went heavy on the grain and embraced the messiness, the grit, and the fun of the piece.
The other effects were just for the title cards, primarily the Red Giant plugins that the director selected. The rest were just in camera or in premiere.