Thursday, December 29, 2011

Killer B3 Gets Creative

If you haven't noticed, a Hammond B3 organist has a lot going on when he plays.  One foot works the volume pedal, the other works the 25 foot pedals.  Up top, both hands go back and forth between the two keyboards, and they toggle between a row of 36 sliding drawbars as they flip the Leslie Speaker into action.  If he's singing, the B3 player is running his mouth too.

Murv Seymour's fingers:  Captured this shot by sitting a digital camera on the keys of the organ and turning on the camera's timer.
How and the hell do you capture all the action going on when a B3 player is going full throttle?  We knew we would need more than one or two cameras, and we knew it would take some creativity.

Joe ended up creating some real cool systems to capture the B3 being worked.

Shawn Brown:  Shawn doodles around during shoot at WEDU-TV, Tampa FL.  You may notice, Shawn's wearing sweatpants.   He wasn't supposed to be on camera during this shoot.  The music was so tasty, we ended up using some of it as a sound bed in the film.
In our shoot with Shawn Brown, Joe actually mounted a camera at the bottom of the organ to capture Shawn working the foot pedals.  Because it was kind of shady down there, Joe also mounted a florescent light beneath the organ.  When Shawn plays bass pedals, he likes to do it shoeless.
Pedal Cam:  Joe mounted a florescent light beneath the organ, and another  camera outside the organ to catch Shawn Brown working the foot pedals on the B3.
He actually complained, the florescent light was making his foot hot.  Lol!  Sorry, I just wish you could hear him complaining about it.  There is no crying in playing the B3!  Honestly, we appreciate "Ole Hot Foot" weathering the heat for us.

Pedal Cam:  A shoeless Shawn "Hot Foot" Brown working the foot pedals during shoot at Riverbank Studio's (WFLA-TV) Tampa, FL
Joe also created a really cool mounting system to show an overhead view of the B3 being brought to life.  The system allowed us to hang a camera above the organists head.  It turned out to look really nice.

Joe sets up mounting system:  Joe preparing the mics after setting up  an overhead camera, and another camera to catch the foot pedals during Shawn Brown Shoot on Easter Sunday in St. Petersburg, FL in 2006.

Joe Mounts up system:  Joe mounted a camera on wheels to capture the upper register of the Hammond B3 during shoot at WEDU-TV (PBS) in Tamp, FL
In some scenes, we actually had six cameras pointed at the action on the B3.  We really wanted to give viewers a better sense of what it takes to play a B3.

Shawn Brown:  This is an actual image from the camera Joe mounted above Shawn's head as he played during Easter Service in St. Peterburg, FL in 2006
We didn't just have the challenge of capturing shots of the organ, we had to get the other musicians in the band in action too.

Tom Leobold mounted a small camera above drummer Walfredo Reyes, Jr.  Walfredo plays with Steve Winwood, Carlos Santana and too many others to name.  The day of our shoot, he was playing with Shawn Brown and Guitarist, Wille Lomax in Tampa, FL.

Tom Leobold mounts camera:  Tom Leobold mounts camera above drummer Walfredo Reyes, Jr. @ Riverbank Studio's (WFLA-TV) shoot with Shawn Brown.
Oddly enough, we ended up not even using the overhead shot of Walfredo in the body of Killer B3.  We are thinking about putting together a DVD of all the music from the film.  Perhaps we will use the shots then.
Walfredo Reyes, Jr. plays:  Angle from up above as Walfreydo Reyes, Jr. plays with Shawn Brown.
One tool that really came in handy for us, the Glide Cam.  A Glide Cam is like a floating tripod for your camera.  After balancing a few weights around, It allows you to be on the move, while keeping your camera angle smooth.
Joe works Glide Cam:  Joe works Glide Cam on Robert Kraut during Tony Monaco concert at Park Street Tavern in Columbus, OH (photo by Michael Ivey)
In motion pictures, you usually see a Glide Cam used in foot chase scenes.  Sometimes you will see them used to simulate an actors point of view.  How can you tell?  All you have to do is look at the horizon or top of your screen.  A Glide Cam provides a smooth look at action while on the move.  Is the camera giggling up and down?  Is the horizon of the shot smooth and steady?  A smooth shot usually means a Glide Cam or some other stabilization system was used.
Joe works Glide Cam:  Joe works Glide Cam on Robert Kraut and Tony Monaco during Tony Monaco concert at Park Street Tavern in Columbus, OH (photo by Michael Ivey)
Joe used a Glide Cam to shoot the Tony Monaco concert at Park Street Tavern in Columbus, Ohio.  In the film, you will notice it during some of the smooth moving shots of Tony playing the organ.
Joe works Glide Cam:  Joe works Glide Cam on Robert Kraut during Tony Monaco concert at Park Street Tavern in Columbus, OH.  Oh yea, Robert Kraut makes a Stanky Face! (photo by Michael Ivey)
It was used even more to capture Guitarist Robert Kraut.  Unfortunately, none of those shots made the cut in the film.  I guess look for them on the DVD when Killer B3 the Music gets released.

That's all we got this go round.  Check out our Youtube channel too, we have added some new clips this week.    In fact, one of them is down below.  Don't forget to like Killer B3 on facebook.  You can also visit our website @ for the latest on KB3.  Happy New Years everybody!

Murv & Joe
Producers, Killer B3

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trailer Time Takes Work

Where do you start when you have to condense a feature length documentary down to two and a half minutes?  The beginning, I think.

Some of the many tapes from KB3 waiting to be put in the system
From what we have read, a movie trailer can can make or break the buzz created about your film.  We have shot more than eighty hours of video over the five years we have been working Killer B3, and somehow, we still have one more shoot, which just came up.

We have been done with the rough cut of the film for a few months now.  Still, there is so many things that need to be tweaked, not too mention getting the proper clearance for photos and videos used in the film. 

While our extended trailer is getting a lot of great buzz, it's way too long to use as a theatrical trailer.  You've seen theatrical trailers, they are the previews you see before your movie begins when you go to a movie theater.

 The idea with a great trailer is to pull the best and most exciting pieces out of your movie and highlight them.  It has to be captivating, fast paced, story oriented and a lot of other things we are still learning.  Bottom line, the movie trailer should make you want to see the movie without taking more than it takes to heat up a Hot Pocket. 

We are about half done with the process.  In Hollywood, they hire specific editors to do movie trailers.  In Tampa, when you are just a team of two, you create it in your underwear while watching Jerry Springer and snacking on Cheetoh's.

Joe's man cave & edit suite.
 Be patient Killer B3 fans!  Just like the movie, the theatrical trailer for Killer B3 is coming soon.

Meanwhile, Like Killer B3 on Facebook, and visit us on Youtube.  We have loaded new videos from Killer B3 since our last blog.

Happy Holidays,
Murv & Joe
Producers, Killer B3 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hammond B3 Pictures Save the Day

Capturing the story of the B3 and its players on camera is an incredibly gratifying experience.  When it is all said and done, watching this documentary gives us an chance to relive the passion of each artist.  We have been amazed to find, when taken with a creative eye, still photos boil with the same level of passion.

Tony Monaco, Courtesy:  Mike Ivey
Early on, I read that many filmmakers regretted not taking more photographs during the production of their films.  Sure, these days you can make a still from video, but those images don't always enlarge with the same level of quality.  We knew good promotional photos would play a key role in how we could eventually promote Killer B3.  So, it was important to have stills that captured the excitement in the same way we experienced.

We went to Columbus, Ohio for our first out of town shoot.  There we captured the always expressive, Tony Monaco.  You will never see a more expressive organist than Tony Monaco.  Tony wears the passion of playing on his face, and through his body.

Tony Monaco, Courtesy:  Mike Ivey
Joe and I both worked camera during the Tony Monaco shoot at Park Street Tavern.  It would have been tough to shoot stills and video.  What were we going to do?

At the end of Tony's concert, we were pleasantly surprised someone had shot still photos all along.  Michael Ivey had shot dozens of incredible photos during Tony's show.    Mike was a friend of a friend who shares the passion for organ music and still photography.  I had never met him, but we did communicate via email after a web introduction from our mutual friend, motivational speaker Greg Smith.

Jimmy Smith, Jr., Courtesy:  Mike Ivey
Turns out, Michael Ivey wasn't just a hack photographer, he is an accomplished media professional, who shoots big time TV commercials on film and video. Somewhere in there, he finds time to take still pictures too.

We were lucky.   Mike's photos exude so much passion.  With the click of a button, he captured the spirit of Tony's performance, and the other musicians in Tony's band.  If all artistic types supported each other through service, like Mike Ivey did for us, so many more cool projects could be put out there.  I mean, this guy just showed up and started shooting.  The only thing he asked for was the proper courtesy credit for his photos.  Nice job Mike. Thank you so much for helping us.

Robert Kraut, Courtesy:  Mike Ivey
Me and Joe ended up taking some photos of our own.  I shot some of Shawn Brown during a show in New Port Richey, Florida.  While I got some nice moments, my ratio of good photo's too bad ones was pretty low.   That's why I have low standards and a high success rate.

Shawn Brown, Photo: Murv Seymour
Make sure you visit the Killer B3 photo gallery on our website to see more photos by Michael Ivey.  You might be surprised, we have a lot of non-B3 photos from the production of Killer B3.

Louis Tsamous, Courtesy:  Mike Ivey
Check out our Youtube channel too, we have added some new clips this week.  Don't forget to like Killer B3 on facebook!

Murv & Joe
Producers, Killer B3

Friday, December 2, 2011

Killer B3 in Post Production Already!

Well, I feel like we have turned this blog into myspace.  I mean, we started off with great intentions, and then we just kind of let things sit for awhile.  Trust me, this wasn't our intention.

We started working on Killer B3 almost six years ago.  We had no idea how much work it would take to get this puppy up and going.

Somehow, 84 hours of tape, almost six years of time and all of our savings later, we have made it to post production.  Yep, the film is actually done.  We are just tweaking some things, and we're going through the tedious and expensive process of clearing music and photos used in Killer B3.  Here is a link to our extended trailer.  A theatrical version will be coming soon.

Joe and I are really sorry we abandoned the handful of people who have been tracking this project.  Most of you probably have been getting updates from talking to us, or from our post on Facebook. Yep, we've got a like page on Facebook now.  You can find it by clicking Here.

I probably should have written about this, but our website has been up and running now since this past summer.  Just go to  Also just yesterday, we went live with our youtube channel, which will eventually feature lots of content you won't see until the documentary is released.

So far, we have applied to five film festivals.  We had to back off submissions for a few reasons.  First, it's expensive.  Secondly, we need to raise funds to help offset the cost.  You will be the first, well, the third to know when we get our first festival invite.  now that the film is mostly done, things are starting to really get exciting.

I will make this commitment to you the people, I will do my best to update this blog at least once a week, or as often as we have something new to report about our progress.  Truth of the matter, we just have so few resources, and so few time, we find ourselves doing everything.  But, building a relationship with our audience is simply a must that will happen on the regular.

In fact, the next blog I write will be about how we were able to get this feature length film written while I worked from a cruise ship.  You ever wonder how long it takes to edit a hour and fifteen minute documentary?  I will write about it next week.  In fact, I'm going to try and update this blog at least two times week.  It's fun and therapeutic to write, and it's just cool to keep everybody in the loop.

Thanks for keeping up with us.

Murv & Joe