By David Simon
We pride ourselves on doing good, interesting lighting (and sound) on all of our studio shows, but we got a new request this month for a music shoot: “Can we look to give the group film-noir-style lighting?”
So studio tech Andrew Chen rolled up his sleeves, read up on film-noir, and lit the band in film-noir style. We positioned the band to make it easier to light them from the side, put in lots of back light, and brought in our fog machine to enhance the mood. You can see the results in the photos here.
And that band? That’d be the Meredith Edgar Trio—there are four of them, but they haven’t figured out a better name—which plays music Meredith characterizes as a “blend of folk and jazz and Americana.” The music was “amazing,” writes studio crewmember Cathy Keys, “The band worked together with precision, talent and a lightness of flow. And the noir atmosphere created by a fog machine added a nuanced mystery to the music.” The trio plays regular gigs in the Bay Area. More information is at www.meredithedgar.com.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” says Meredith. “I didn’t realize what a big production it was going to be.” But: “Everyone was friendly and helpful and hardworking and generous. It was as comfortable as it possibly could have been.”
Robert Edgar (yes, related!) produced the show. “Working with the Media Center over the past year convinced me that this was the group to work with,” he says. “I knew most of the crew members personally,” he adds, “It felt like family.” Robert produced and directed the monthly Indivisible show, with discussions by members of the Indivisible political movement, throughout 2017. (That show is now produced by Eitan Fenson.)
“That day in the studio was absolutely special,” says studio crew member Asia Dubarenka. “And her voice, along with the sound of violin, bass and guitar …”
The request for a noir look came because the studio photographer who photographed Meredith for her publicity and website used noir-ish lighting for the photos, and the look suited. “The photos were taken when I had my hair black,” says Meredith, currently much blonder.
Band members Meredith Edgar (vocals and guitar) and Paul Griffiths (guitar, mandolin, and banjo) wrote all but one of the songs the band recorded at the Midpen Media Center. On gigs, the band plays a mixture of their own songs plus jazz standards and some other covers. Sean Silverman (stand-up bass) is a regular with Meredith and Paul; for the Midpen Media Center shoot, violinist Benito Cortez joined them.
The ten songs that we recorded are being edited now. Listen to a few of the songs <a href=”https://vimeo.com/257413689″>“Blue </a>” and <ahref= “https://vimeo.com/257320576”>“Louisiana Rain.” We used our studio’s capacity to record four camera images and all of the audio tracks for later editing. When the edit is finished, the show will appear on our cable channels and website.
Show director David Simon and audio engineer Byron Binns both teach our studio classes ;. Rounding out the crew were Cathy Keys, Asia Dubarenka, and Dan Tunturici on the cameras. Andrew Chen was the tech.