Wednesday, December 19, 2012

long time no see

Ok, so I've ignored this for awhile. While reviewing my stats just to see what traffic was coming my way, I noticed there has been a particularly high amount of visitors from China recently.  Hello my Chinese friends! Just out of curiosity, what brings you to my neck of the woods?  I love dim sum, come to Chicago and I'll take you to my current favorite restaurant: dim dim -- dim sum and bakery.

Anyhow here's something I finished back in September: my first real gig.  It was a promotional piece for Bacardi's new drink Bacardi Plus.  To help promote the product their team held a contest to see who could raise the most amount of money for charity via social media and the winner won a private concert for 200 friends with Girl Talk.  This young man from Minneapolis, MN won the contest and decided to have the party near his hometown at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA.  I was asked by the great people over at DoStuff Media to do a short documentary style piece on the show including an interview with Girl Talk brain child Greg Gillis.  I grabbed my buddies Adam and Dave to come help out and off we went on our road trip to Iowa!

I think we did a great job capturing the excitement of the show; it was a really fun piece to shoot.  Dave was able to get a couple of photo sessions in with Greg, which I incorporated into the piece.  I really love still photography and utilizing it within video pieces.  Check out Dave's blog for more of his work from the shoot.

And of course none of this would look or sound so good with out the extraordinary work of Katie Kapuza (color correction) and Katie Hoban & team over at Noise Floor (sound design).

Thursday, August 16, 2012


As I launch my own production company this summer, I needed to put together a reel of my work.  For those not in the know, it's like a calling card or resume: simply a record of the work I've done.  I tried to pick the best scenes, even including pieces that have yet to be completed.  As my buddy Kevin said, "It's marketing, doesn't matter if it's finished or not."

Know someone in need of video work?  Send 'em this.

Reel from Chris Batte on Vimeo.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Here is my latest piece, a video for my friends Alex and Billy Watson and their band Rivals of the Peacemaker.

Growing tired of my framing and how I shoot stuff I got Alex and Billy's friend Aubrey, who is a still photographer, to be the director of photography.  I think she did a great job having never shot any video before.  With a lot of input from Adam and myself, Aubrey learned how to utilize a slider, fluid motion head and rack focus.  I did this, converting a still photographer into a DP, once before with my buddy Jackson on another video (too be posted soon).

I purposely choose the locations (Dock6 and the Green Eye) so we could blow out the windows at both locations.  I'm a big fan of utilizing as much natural light as possible.  My good friend and post production queen Katie did the color correction and VFX, per usual she kicked ass.

The video only features part of the band due to scheduling conflicts; would have loved to have all of the guys but it didn't work out that way.  The bar scene features Sara Jean, Ryan Murphy and Chris Durkin (of Shit Durkin Says fame).  The actors did a wonderful job and were a lot of fun to work with.  Sara Jean doubled as our hair and makeup artist, a lot of talent to go along with those good looks. You should check out her musical chops too, here she is tearing it up on bass.

Frankly I think this is the best work I've done so far; I'm very happy with the way this turned out.


Rivals of the Peacemaker "Day After the Rapture" from katie kapuza on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

movie for a party

My good friends Jackson and Vit over at Bracketstudios have been working on a project for Lowe's called 3Flat.  It's a website geared towards urban home design and shopping.  Bracket asked me if I could do a short piece to show what goes into making some of the photography work they are doing for the project.  I spent 2 days shooting the build out of the set, shopping for props and the shoot itself.  They showed the video at a launch party last week and from what I'm told (couldn't make the scene) everyone seemed happy with the results.

We used Starfucker's Rawland Gregory Erickson the Second for the music; I cut up the song and used only the instrumental parts.  Great song by the way, Target used it in a commercial a couple of years ago.

Of course this was used without permission or any sort of compensation.  I actually do this pretty often, that is use music I don't have the rights to.  I justify this personally because I'm not making any money off of these videos, I give credit where credit is due and usually include a link to where a viewer can buy the song.  This time it's been a bit of a conundrum because the video is associated with a corporate entity who is definitely making money though not from this video.  I welcome your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, May 28, 2012

50 years of shit durkin says

It's been awhile since I've posted.  I've been working on a lot of stuff recently and will be posting a little more frequently over the next couple of months.

Here's a video I did with some friends from the Green Eye for our buddy Chris Durkin.  Chris is one of the most generous, thoughtful, kind, wise and funny guys I have the pleasure of knowing.  He's touched the lives of a lot people and a few of us got a chance to remind him how much he means to us.  Happy 5-0 Chris, hey there buddy, we love ya.

After watching it again, the video has it's flaws.  There are a couple of choppy edits, a couple of bits go on too long and I would have rearranged one or two things.  But the the performances were great and everyone had a lot of fun making it.  Overall it's pretty funny if you know Chris or spend any time in our neighborhood bar.  Enjoy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

what's coming between sally and release?

January turned out to be a very busy month for me and movie making.  Early in the month I was able to do a shoot for my friends Billy and Alex, it was a music video for their band Rivals of the Peacemaker.  I finished editing another video for my buddy Josh's solo project and I sent that off to Katie for some post work.  Then I had to assemble the second installment of 3MinuteMovies which includes a lot of downloads, format changes, titles and graphics, and cutting together intro and outro pieces.  Last but far from least was the need to create my own 3MM piece.  It was a lot of work and kept me chained to my computer.

The theme for this most recent 3MM screening was release.  I teamed up with one of my 3MM co-creators, Neil, and we came up with a pretty funny short.  I'm a big fan of the Prelinger Archives which are a resource of old films that are in the public domain.  (We used a lot of these films for early incarnations of Left Field.  Ultimately we didn't use the footage for the final film but in the early trailers you can see how we were utilizing them: both in the first trailer, which I did a post about recently, and a later one.)

So Neil and I came up with a concept to take an old educational film from the archive, recut it and create a mostly new video to tell our tale.  We first picked the film which ended up being Toward Emotional Maturity  This film from 1954 is about the need for young people to learn how to control their emotions.  Then Neil and I spitballed some ideas.  Neil went to town on a script while I did some preliminary cutting.  We had a rough cut with just our voices along with some temporary audio, creating a piece that came in around 7 minutes.  We recruited our friends Erin Baumrucker for voiceover work and Karen Schmidt for some graphic help, cut it down to around 3 minutes and it was done.  I am very pleased with how this came out, it still makes me laugh.  We titled our story What's Coming Between Sally and Release?  Enjoy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I believe it's imperative to pay tribute to my influences.  Sometimes I have trouble recognizing who or what they are but usually they jump right out at me.  I have a ton, all with different styles and abilities.

Film can create a detached or sub-reality that has always amazed me.  It's one thing to be able to create special effects or utilize tricks effectively in moviemaking but when those skills are deployed to advance a story is when they can become beautiful and awe inspiring.  No one does this better than Michel Gondry.  His work NEVER ceases to amaze me.  I can watch most all of his films and music videos over again and find something new and fun each time.

Frankly everything I've done pales in comparison to his work but I do have a specific project that is lying dormant right now but is directly influenced by Gondry.  It requires models that are taking a long time to make but will be very worth it in the long run.

Anyhow check out this trailer for a film I hope you've seen.  If not, change that immediately.