Rho Stone’s Audiovisual Adventures: AC/DC Drop the Ball


Rho Stone is back in action, you cvnting trailerpants wearing daywalkers.

So it’s been a long time since the last article, and a lot of shit has happened to me. Since the last time I contributed to the toilet I’ve got a “fancier” job (less paying but with more ambitious projects and the promise of more paying later on [yes, I’m THAT stupid]) which made me very busy cleaning up the mess the last guys left. I was also hit by three cars going at 50 miles per hour which makes it the third time this year I looked directly at the Grim Reaper, smacked his lifelover face and said “not today.” Now my left leg makes cracking noises now and then, which is going to make it way easier for me to decide on switching it for a rocket booster implant once those nerds at Palo Alto stop trying to make the next app to hook up with random singles in your area and get back to making real science.

So what made me come out of my stasis? The new AC/DC video sucks balls and I’m here to make justice. All this new AC/DC stuff going on makes me realize something: AC/DC should’ve quit with Black Ice. Now, this is coming from someone who used to be obsessed with them. Let me ramble on about my relationship with this band. There was a period of time we’ll refer to “my mid-to-late teens” where I couldn’t get enough of AC/DC. I listened to this fucking band all the fucking time. All that dumb shit most millennials did with Korn or Slipknot, I did it with AC/DC. It wasn’t a “should I wear my AC/DC t-shirt today?”, it was more akin to “Which one of my AC/DC shirts will I wear today?” I could play the albums from beginning to end on guitar without missing a note. I bought all of their albums and with teenager spending money, mind you.

potato quality

I even bought the Iron Man “soundtrack.” The Iron Man “soundtrack” is supposedly the all AC/DC soundtrack of Iron Man II, which is a lie, as the movie replaces the songs for Queen and The Clash and other nostalgia dad bands. This soundtrack consists of:

1. Shoot to Thrill (from Back In Black)

2. Rock n’ Roll Damnation (from Powerage)

3. Guns for Hire (from Flick of the Switch)

4. Cold Hearted Man (bonus track from Powerage, then on Backtracks)

5. Back in Black (from Back in Black (duh))

6. Thunderstruck (from The Razor’s Edge)

7. If You Want Blood (from Highway to Hell)

8. Evil Walks (from For Those About to Rock)

9. T.N.T. (from High Voltage)

10. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be (Let There Be Rock)

11. Have a Drink on Me (from Back in Black)

12. The Razor’s Edge (from The Razor’s Edge)

13. Let There Be Rock (from Let There Be Rock)

14. War Machine (from Black Ice)

15. Highway to Hell (do I really have to?)

I didn’t have to look those up. I can name all of AC/DC’s albums and songs in order by heart. When this was released, I already had the albums those songs belonged to. To be fair, by then I was starting to get sick of them, but still I went and bought it. That’s how into them I was. I’m so glad I didn’t get myself an AC/DC tattoo. I still like them a lot, but like a regular human being likes something.

Back to the present day, Malcolm Young is so old he’s at a nursing home with dementia. They’ve also kicked out Phil Rudd for pulling off a double Lambesis and, well, average rockstar behavior. I don’t blame Phil, there’s so many times you can repeatedly drum to songs about how rocking it is to rock before having a craving for meth and murder. They already got the Walmart endorsement deals, the grammies they once said they’d never get on the grounds that they rocked too hard for them, the guest appearances on Top Gear (best show ever, btw), the beer and the monopoly game.“Rock or Bust” is the least imaginative thing they could call their album. “Rock n’ Roll something” would be a better title. By now their naming of new material is akin to what Apple names it’s new products. They should just kick the bucket as a band.

Now the video, this caught me by surprise because I sincerely thought they were already done. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video for “Play Ball.”

About the song: It’s AC/DC. What did you expect? Of course it sounds exactly the same as all their other songs. Of course is sexual innuendo written by geriatric man-children with the riff they’ve been abusing since 1985. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather literally kill myself than have to see AC/DC play a breakdown. Now they’ve cut the crap and released something that makes way more sense to be played at sporting events. I don’t even need to do research on this when I say I’m sure they already got at least one sports endorsement deal.

So, where can I begin with this video? I mean, this is AC/DC, they’ve sold 200 million records. I can’t begin to imagine how much that is in dough. They could hire Steven Spielberg and film a video in outer space. AND INSTEAD THEY MADE AN INFERIOR VERSION OF THE “EATERS OF THE DEAD” VIDEO.

Normally on Audiovisual Adventures I have to reverse engineer the thinking and planning that goes into the video-making process to picture what kind of stuff they did on the studio, but this time around I don’t have to, because they did a behind the scenes of this travesty, which is like if Subway made the whole Jared got thin ploy and Jared was still fat.

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This is how Attack of the Clones was filmed.

The video begins with a bowling ball smashing a burning TV in slo-mo, which is the coolest thing they pointed a camera at in all the shooting. Then it dissolves into one of the worst green screens I’ve seen in my life. Seriously. I feel like they were like “we gotta finish this before lunch” and then gave editor duty to somebody’s nephew fresh out of watching after effects tutorials on Youtube. Apparently the editor is one Nick Morris, a man responsible for classics such as “Bill Bailey: Part Troll,” “Gabby Logan: Twins Results Workout,” and “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds” (to be fair, I’ve also done a lot of laughable shit, but at least I go uncredited). What kind of artistic language can be justified in AC/DC floating behind stock footage of lights?

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Pictured: Every awful youtube video green screen ever

If you ever film a band video which is composed of the band playing, YOU DO NOT MAKE THEM PLAY IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. You need dynamics and interesting angles. One dolly going back and forth is not enough. Even if you’re lazy and want it done in an afternoon. AC/DC used to be kings of lazy, unimaginative but appealing videomaking.

The whole point of chroma keying is to make it look like you’re not doing it. This is done by:

1. Correctly lighting the people in the frame. Stage lighting doesn’t work on a green screen. You have to use light on the back and sides of the character in different strengths to separate them from the green background. The band looks green tinted on the video, also everything that reflects the green (like the metal on the drum kit) disappear once you color out the green. All this because they were to lazy to place lights on the correct places. They clearly know how to do this, because the behind the scenes interviews are correctly lighted. Let that sink in: THE BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO IS BETTER THAN THE ACTUAL MUSIC VIDEO. They also make the band look flat. They look like cardboard cutouts that move. That’s because the flat stage lighting erases the shadows. You need the damn shadows for the eye to understand something belongs in the third dimension.

2. If you received fucked up footage, you can always color it. Well not always, but this one was pretty easy to color. Selective coloring is a thing, you can pick and choose the greens and make them into a believable color. You can also add contrast and other stuff to mitigate the flatness of the lighting. One more thing, Mr. Nick Morris, once you apply keylight on after effects, there are some little numbers in the effects window.

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See all that crap, you’re supposed to move it around until there are no more green edges.

Still what’s the point of green screening if you’re just going to put them in front of lights? Why not just put them on a fake stage and put some lights in there, like in almost all their other videos? They have cool videos, like “Thunderstruck” or “Who Made Who,” why don’t do something like that?

The stock footage looks way better than the band footage, which makes it look like it doesn’t belong. It’s actually colored, but still, the colors don’t fit. Some of it is very warm and some is much colder. It’s unsettling, more so because the band footage has not been corrected at all. One more thing about that, it doesn’t matter how cool your footage is (yes all that black and white footage is pretty cool), you can only use it once. Repeating stuff is one of the biggest no-nos, it completely kills any immersion the audience had when they see the same stuff again.

To add to the wrong stuff going on, why does the frame get dark randomly from time to time? It’s like he left an adjustment layer there and never used it? Didn’t Mr. Morris looked at the video before rendering it?

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After that, here’s a bunch of times Angus Young or something else gets cut by the frame’s edge and they use the take anyway.

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There are a lot more times of this happening, but I guess you get the point. Also what is this?

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A motherfucking watermark? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? The stock footage of the dumbass meadow on a rushed juice commercial costs 500 bucks. This is AC/DC, the second best selling band that still plays (first one is Pink Floyd in case someone is interested). Were they really making this on a shoestring budget? Did Phil Rudd steal all the budget to buy meth and murder? If we can take anything from this, is that you and your buddies on a garage can make a better music video than one of the (financially speaking) biggest heavy rock band of all time. Congratulations.

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