While some may be surprised to hear the term, "music video" put to use, the fact is that there are still music videos being made and aired all the time, believe it or not. You can often find them on MTV after about 10PM - you know, right after "Laguna Beach" and/or "The Hills". Anyways, "Punk Rock Film School" features music video director Darren Doane (who's directed videos for bands like Blink 182 and looks rather like a math teacher gone punk) taking viewers through the process of directing a video. Given all the bands trying to make it big out there, there's certainly a market for a documentary on how to make an eye-catching vid.
The documentary is an unslick (it looks as if it was filmed using a couple of consumer cameras), somewhat dry step-by-step that guides viewers through the various stages of doing a music video, starting with the set-up. The band Oblivion stops by Doane's garage and acts as the subjects for the documentary. Doane chats about electric issues (if you're shooting in your garage, you don't want to blow the power in the house), sound check, working with the drums, getting a sound system together and lip-sync issues.
Moving on, Doane goes into different filming techniques, discussing different angles, lenses and other elements to think about when doing multiple takes. While Doane does discuss the basics of each angle before shooting, we then see as he shoots several separate full takes, with a picture-in-picture window showing us what the camera is seeing. This starts to take up a great deal of time and with Doane not talking while he's filming, one wonders if this section could have been compressed a bit.
Finally, Doane leads us into editing, taking the footage into his computer and going into a multi-layer editing system to try and begin to shape the footage into a final cut. He also discusses different programs, color correction and de-interlacing before showing the final product.
Overall, the program is well-intentioned, but suffers from several concerns. There are times when Doane is discussing different aspects of the process and the documentary is cutting between two cameras that the brightness of the shots differs noticably enough to be distracting. While the goal seems to be to teach how to make a low-budget music video, the documentary itself looks a bit too low-budget for its own good at times. While Doane seems knowledgable in the documentary, he does appear a bit rushed at times during the first and last thirds, and some of the elements (editing, for example) could have used a bit more explanation and clarity.
Bands who are just starting out may grab some good information from this program, but hopefully, someone can take the same idea and build on it, using a bit bigger budget.
VIDEO: Image Entertainment presents "Punk Rock Film School" in a mixture of 1.33:1 full-frame and 1.78:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. The presentation is done on a low-budget with consumer level cameras. Considering that, the presentation doesn't look too bad - sharpness and detail are just okay, but most of the brighter scenes in the garage look fine enough. Some minor noise and shimmering are spotted at times, but neither are particularly distracting.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack does not fare as well. Whenever the band plays during the program, the audio becomes distorted. It's not a completely distorted mess, but this is definitely not a clear presentation, either.
Final Thoughts: While I certainly liked the idea of a program detailing how to put together a music video, "Punk Rock Film School" suffers from some concerns. Aspiring rockers may want to try a rental (the DVD is available on Netflix to rent.)