Matthew Johnston

chris webby

Chris Webby – Do Like Me Live at the TLA

Another live performance from the TLA in Philly – this time it’s E1 artist Chris Webby performing Do Like Me.

Never one to get comfortable, I captured this video on a 5DM3 and an EOS M.  The M is the newest addition to my arsenal; its small size but quality performance makes it an outstanding B camera.  Fitted with the 22mm f/2 and Technicolor’s Cinestyle profile, it’s a powerful and portable little beast.  Now eol, you can find them for a song.  Highly recommended.

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Stay tuned for the official interview video coming soon.

Chris Webby – Do Like Me Live at the TLA

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Jake Miller – Live at the TLA

“Jake Miller – Sold Out” declares the marquee of the TLA.  I’m back inside, wading through a sea of bodies.  Air Dubai has just stepped on stage, and the crowd is wrapped up in them.  They don’t notice as DJ Beatstreet and I are lead through the bar, behind a curtain and backstage.  As I set up, the crowd begins to chant “We Want Jake Miller” over and over.

I love shooting live performances.  It’s something that I don’t get the chance to do often enough, so I’m always full of nervous energy.  This is no different; it’s a combination of the energy of the crowd, the performer and myself feeding off each other.  It’s exciting, to say the least.

I spent probably three minutes deciding which lens to take with me into the pit (that’s a long time for me).  My final pick was the newest addition to the lineup…a Pentax 50mm f/1.4 Super Takumar from 1964.  Aperture advantage aside, it creates some of the most incredible flares I’ve seen.  And I’m kind of obsessed with flares.  The 50mm’s flares have this elliptical cross shape that you just don’t see anymore.

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Watch the full video below.  There’s an interview coming too, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Jake Miller – Hollywood Live

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Sebastian Mikael “Last Night” Acoustic

Recently, DJ Beatstreet and I had the opportunity to catch up with Slip-N-Slide’s Sebastian Mikael for an interview at the Ill Vibe Collective’s studio in Philly.  Sebastian brought his guitar along to the interview and, at Beatstreet’s suggestion, gave us an impromptu acoustic rendition of his hit single Last Night.

Sebastian was a super chill guy, who’s hand singed poster now adorns the wall of my office.

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You’ll be able to watch the whole interview in a couple days, but here’s an exclusive look at the acoustic session.

Sebastian Mikael “Last Night” Acoustic

Keep your eyes open for the full length interview, plus live music and more!  We are closing the year strong here at MRP.

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Gilbere Forte Interview with DJ Beatstreet

Recently, DJ Beatstreet and I had a chance to sit down and chat with Epic Records artist Gilbere Forte.

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Gilbere Forte Interview

In the honor of #TBT (Throwback Thursday) if you aren’t in the loop I am reposting my lost interview with Philadelphia area rapper Gilbere Forte. Gilbere is a good friend of mine and his content and concepts from everything to his songs and mixtape concepts have always been a head of his time. Here we talk about his previous record deal, new record deal, his song “Pray” and what we can expect from Gilbere and his camp before his major label album release comes out.

Read more…

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Nicky Romero Interview with DJ Beatstreet

Recently, DJ Beatstreet and I sat down with Protocol Recordings artist Nicky Romero to discuss the face of EDM, production and his Legacy track.

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Nicky Romero Interview

Hey everyone, here is an interview I did with Nicky Romero, when he stopped by Philly during his North American tour. I am a big EDM fan myself, so when the opportunity came to sit down with Nicky, I couldn’t say no. Nicky is a cool down to earth dude working on some new music as well as VSTs for all the production nerds out there. So be on the look out!!  Nicky and I sat down and talked about new tracks, future projects with Avicii, EDM in America and the songwriting process for his single “Legacy” ft. Krewella.

Read more ->

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Pulp Photography – For Love or Murder

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Another entry in my catalog of pulp/suspense photography, this is For Love or Murder.  This image is based off The Glass Triangle, old pulp magazine cover that I discovered recently, at the excellent pulpcovers.com.  They have been my muse for the past few months.

Making the Image

This image was lit with two LED light panels, my new toys.  I used a 7100T 312 as a key on Elizabeth and Spectro-LED 9 as a fill on me.  The “daylight” setting on them is not a perfect match (the 7100T is a little more purple), but they are close enough that it  doesn’t seem to be a true problem.  If I was to invest more money in the kit (and I probably will) I would drop it into the 7100’s anyway.  They have custom color temperature controls, magnetic diffuser panels and run off rechargeable batteries.

This was shot on a 5D Mark III, using the 24-105 f/4.  I had intended to shoot this image a while back, but during setup the weight of my 5D broke the head of the cheap tripod I was using.  The camera fell lens first, and shattered the UV protector on my lens.  The drop wedged the frame of the filter tight enough that I couldn’t remove it and had to take it to a WebbCam, our local photography specialist, for repairs.  The lens escaped unscathed, luckily.

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Pulp vs Suspense

I like to classify what I do.  It helps when people ask “What do you take pictures of”, expecting you to say “flowers” or “weddings” or something like that.  I’ve struggled with what to say and finally landed on the phrase Pulp Photography.

As I described before, I draw a lot of inspiration from the pulp of the 40’s and 50’s; Suspense Radio, EC Comics and the like.  These simple stories strike a chord with me, and beg me to recreate, interpret and breathe life into them.

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Armin Van Buuren Interview with DJ Beatstreet

DJ Beatstreet and I caught up with Armin Van Buuren recently.  Check it out below.

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Armin Van Buuren Interview

A few weeks ago Armin Van Buuren came into town and smashed Festival Pier in Philadelphia. I luckily had the chance to meet up with him before his set and talk about his new album “Intense” and about some of the new musical trends in EDM. From a musical standpoint Armin tells us the stories behind some of his songs as well as his music making process.

Enjoy and keep on Trancing!

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Lebanon Family Karate 2013 Black Belt Test

A promotional video for Lebanon Family Karate.

Kim Studio Karate is oddly linked to my career as a filmmaker.  The first paid work I ever had was a series of instructional videos produced for them, shot on my little Sony Handicam.  Later, I captured a black belt promotion test way back in 2009.  And here I am again, this time with a 5DM3 and another promotion test.

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This was a Mother’s Day Present.  My mom shows up every now and then.  See if you can spot her.

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Music Video – “We Not Done Yet” Lanice London ft Playboii Pain

This is the second music video I’ve shot for Lanice London.  The first, “Chuck Taylor”, was filmed last fall and was much more basic.  For “We Not Done Yet” Samuel Hall and I pulled out all the stops.

Making the Music Video

When Lanice London first came to me with the idea for the music video, I knew it was going to offer some unique challenges.  We wanted to create an underground party scene in an abandoned warehouse.  The aftermath of the party forms the central point of the music video: Lanice goes missing and her friends have to find her before the cops do.

The entire music video was shot in and around Philly, including Love Park.  The warehouse was an actual warehouse, which posed some of its own obstacles during filming.

Production

Filming took place over two days.  The first day found us in a dark warehouse in Fishtown.  Dust and metal shavings covered the floor (and later our bags, jackets and clothing).  This was the essence of “underground party”.

The entire scene, plus several passes of the song, were captured in a matter of 5 hours. Our cast and crew deserves a tremendous “thank you” for being on top of their game and totally committed to the process.  If it wasn’t for their professionalism, the scenes would have never happened in such a short amount of time.

The second day was more of a walk around day, capturing footage as we moved from Love Park up north Broad Street.

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Technical Details

The entire music video was shot on Canon 5D Mark III’s, using a huge variety of lenses (Sam brought twelve himself).

The underground party, which forms the backdrop of the music video, was lit using a Lowel light kit and a set of DJ bar lights, the latter of which was primarily a set piece.  We used lots of side lighting to create the flares and signature anamorphic streaks.  Exterior scenes were captured using available lighting exclusively.

The video was cut in Adobe Premiere and colored in After Effects, which should come as no surprise to regular readers.  The most obvious digital effects shot (superimposing party footage on Pain’s phone at the beginning of the video) was also created exclusively in AE.

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We Not Done Yet

In addition to the usual gang, I need to thank Beth, who provided many helps and moral support along the way.  She was an incredible producer, which doesn’t even do her justice.

For more info on Lanice, head over to her website or reverbnation page.  Same deal with Playboii Pain.

sofar sounds

Sofar Sounds Philadelphia (#333)

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Noah Dickenson and I were back with Sofar Sounds, shooting in the cramped confines of a living room in west Philadelphia.  On the bill this month were Alright, Junior, Kingsley Flood, September Call Up and Christopher KP Brown.

This was the first video I shot with my new 5D Mark III.  I’m the kind of guy who gets almost immediate buyer’s remorse over big purchases, even if they are necessary ones. At the time, the 5D felt like a splurge, something I didn’t quite need.  I mean, my 7D was functioning perfectly, why did I need to upgrade?

Within minutes of the start of the show at Sofar Sounds, the 5D proved its worth.  I cranked the ISO up to 2500, a daring move on my previous camera (I could push ISO 2000, but that was my cut off).  When we got back and reviewed the footage, the grain was barely visible.  I immediately chastised myself for not pushing further.

Check out the videos below.  While you’re at it, head over to the last Sofar Sounds show we shot and watch those videos too!

Sofar Sounds (#333):

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