INTERVIEW: Experimental 1/2 Hour

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We got a chance to chat with Brock of Portland’s cable access show Experimental 1/2 Hour in the interview below.

s.o.t.r-For everyone out there who wants to start their own cable access show, can you give us some insight into hosting Experimental 1/2 hour at Portland’s Community Media ? How did you go about getting the slot? Can you tell us about the equipment that is available to you guys?

Brock-Getting a cable access show in Portland is very easy, all you need to do is take a short class and pay the yearly usage fee. After that you need to make two episodes of the same content before applying for a series.

The equipment at the studio is going to be upgraded to HD shortly but they have two studios: Studio A has a 5 camera setup with numerous video decks (DVCAM, D9, SVHS, DVD Recorders) run through a switching console, a multi-channel audio mixer, along with lots of other gear like lighting, gobos, gels, carpets, curtains, and other incidentals for shooting. Studio B is the same, just smaller and more setup for chat shows.

s.o.t.r-You use a lot of trippy video effects. For instance, the mirrored effect for the Operative performance, and also the body melting effect used on episode 10 for Blood Beach. A Green screen also seems to be a staple for you guys. What are you using to get all the cool visuals? Are these effects offered by the Community studio you use??

Brock-We create some of our own by patching and feedback and we have collaborated with other artists in the community such as Jamie Potter of Brother Raven, Eric Mast of E*Rock, and Brenna Murphy of Oregon Painting Society. We don’t want to give away all our secrets but there’s a lot of awesome consumer gear out there from the 80’s that can be found on eBay and Goodwill.

s.o.t.r-How much editing do you guys do after the fact…. or is the show broadcasted ‘live’ with effects in real-time??

Brock-Lately we spend a lot of time in post.  But it really depends on the episode, with some of the music videos we sit down with the artists and hammer it out in a night over some beers and other times we simply use the best take and add titles to it.

s.o.t.r-The show is produced by both you (Brock Fansler) and Eva Aguila. What are both of your roles when it comes to pulling episodes together? Do you guys have helpers, stage hands, etc?

Brock-We both do numerous things in the studio and editing and switch off here and there. There isn’t any real defined role for either of us, we just work together to make the show happen. We have a great set of volunteers that help us out with more complex shoots on cameras and sometimes bands will bring in their own audio engineers.

s.o.t.r-How long have you guys been doing Experimental 1/2 hour? Is their any sort oftime limit you can have your program on cable access, 6 months, a year, etc??

Brock-We’ve been doing the show for a year now, but have done a few other one off projects before. There’s no time limit for having a program on cable access aside from how long you feel like doing it. Currently, we are about to celebrate our first year anniversary!

s.o.t.r-Can you tell us about any upcoming episodes, and bands/artists you plan to feature in the future?

Brock-We just released Soft Metals today and will have a performance from Thrones and Swahili soon too.  We have plans to do a children’s episode and an experimental cooking show at some point. Also this fall we will be curating a live multi-media performance as part of Time Based Art (TBA:11) festival. Lucky Dragons, Pod Blotz, another installment of Princess Dies, and Flængegod, along with video works by various artist. We will be using the facilities of Portland Community Media’s mobile production van to tape and produce the live stage show.

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