Reel Metal: A Day To Remember – “2nd Sucks”

Artist: A Day to Remember

Song: “2nd Sucks”

Album: What Separates Me From You

Director: Drew Russ

First and foremost, it’s time for everyone to say goodbye to the rating system in my Reel Metal column. I’m no longer giving a 1-5 rating on videos, but rather just focusing on pros, cons, and notable moments.

Disappointed, I know you’re not.

I was nervous upon clicking play for obvious reasons, but was welcomed with open arms by a 16-bit video game intro. Alright, I’ll stomach the music to watch this. Little did I know I would spend the next 5 minutes catching myself bobbing my head to an incredibly paced, nerd extravaganza that made my inner child jump with joy.

I typically love when music videos have intros. It enriches the storyline and builds suspense for the actual song to begin. At first, I was extremely intrigued by the story’s beginning, but after about 2 minutes of terribly forced, almost-funny dialogue, I wanted them to just get to the point. I appreciate what director Drew Russ was going for, as the opening’s set and story execution look phenomenal. It was simply too long for its lack of need-to-know information and jokes that fell just short of making me laugh. The only line that made me chuckle was Snake saying, “this is the latest in 16-bit technology.” But by the end of the video you realize you really didn’t need to know any of those characters that well or all the details they spent feeding you in the opening 3 minutes. Bottom line of the intro: could have been wrapped up in a minute and would have left the viewer wanting more instead of being overfed.

It’s always better to tease the viewer than give them too much.

2 minutes and 48 seconds in and now we’ve arrived at the actual video.  The concept is based around a retro Mortal Kombat-esque video game depicting the band members defeating “haters” like “Pretentious Music Critic” and “Shady McScenester.” As much as I love the video game aspect, the characters bugged me a little. Guess I’m just the “Keyboard Warrior” or the “Pretentious Music Video Critic.” Regardless, the video game’s attitude does match A Day to Remember’s overall lyric style: whiney and slightly bitter. Which make his lyrics such as “get the fuck over it” pretty ironic but I’ll leave the music review aspect to the other writers here that actually know what they’re talking about.

The performance opens with a breakdown cued up by a “FIGHT!” sample from Mortal Kombat. It’s a good thing the cinematography and editing delivered well in this aspect, because it could have been really awful. From here on out I find this video extremely well done. The camera has a lot of great motion and positions, using the pit and crowd as a foreground element and keeping the band in focus the entire time. Most of the time, hardcore dancing and pits are portrayed terribly in videos because of the blunt angles and direct shots. I really liked how well they used the crowd to participate to the energy of the video while still keeping them in the background and maintaining the band as the direct subject. After all, the band is the product of the video and that’s what labels want the focus on –– not the attention hungry pit dancers that want to be internet famous in a music video.

The performance lighting isn’t anything too special. Slightly dim with strong backlights and lens flares. What else is new? At least the lens flares are somewhat natural-looking and were not the product of that same piece of shit Magic Bullet blue lens flare filter I see on almost everything. While I’m on the subject, directors: stop being lazy and at least get your After Effects on with some Video Copilot Optical Flares.

Where the creativity really shines is the opening set within the story. The cinematography throughout this part was pretty cool with its slow side scrolling of a dolly shot through the Snake Pit. The green tones of the color correction combined with the mix of warm and cold lighting proved very pleasing to the eye.

Not to mention the set design and art direction of the Snake Pit, which you can tell was some great work.

On to my favorite aspect: the editing. This video gets an A+. Surprisingly, they managed to incorporate a retro fighting video game as the cut away story flawlessly. It transitions well between the two and does a great job at keeping the energy up. Like I said before, I caught myself actually bobbing my head to the music and I assure you it’s all the editing’s fault. The camera’s constant dolly motion and whip pans combined with perfectly timed speed-ramping certainly got my pacing stamp of approval. Also, the speed ramping is smooth. There are only a few things that irritate me more in a video than poorly done slow motion.

Of course, the graphics deserve some mention. I’m not sure whether they shot these as footage on green screens and snatched selected frames or shot the characters as individual photos on a shoot, but my guess is, from a compositing standpoint, the latter would be easier in the long run. The composites and, I suppose I should say, level design were just downright awesome. It looked and animated just like an old Mortal Kombat game. This cut away story was extremely fun to watch and really gave me a nostalgic video game feel while still managing to entertain me with well shot performance of the band.

Lastly, I want to mention the boss battle because I almost spit out my coffee when I realized “Beardo” is played by one of my favorite teachers from Full Sail, one of the coolest guys I know, and the man that taught me how to rig my first light, Matt Nelson. Seeing him topless, fighting the vocalist of ADTR in a video game was hilariously awesome and a great finale.

Pros:

–       Great camera movement.

–       Perfectly paced performance shots.

–       Well executed editing and speed-ramping.

–       Unique video game concept.

 

Cons:

–       Cinematic intro was a little lengthy.

 

Notable Moments:

–       :00-:21 – Retro video game intro.

–       1:46-2:10 – Dolly tour of the Snake Pit.

–       3:10 & 3:37 – “OH!” breakdown, great use of speed ramp/slow motion.

–       4:07 – Another great slow mo breakdown combo.

–       4:56 – Defeat of the Beardo boss.

– CC

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