50 years of music and film all rolled together in front of the cars that have become the icons of super hero history.
This is one of those projects we’ve wanted to do from the very beginning of The Piano Guys. We love super heroes, the dramatic music that has brought them to life, and the vivid films that have made them legends.
We used piano, cello, handheld cameras, a radio controlled helicopter, and some scrappy special effect techniques in the most creative ways possible to emulate the three epic eras of one of the greatest super heroes ever created: BATMAN!
As we conceptualized this music video, we wanted to take you on a ride through time– first through the 60’s when the wildly popular TV show dominated the networks– the campy, melodramatic colors, gadgets, and the classic comic book components. To capture the character we actually built a super spiffy set to look like the good ol’ days of atomic power, turbines, and speed.
We wrote the music so it was as groovy as possible– to push it over the top we added a 60’s beach bass part in the left hand of the piano. The piano used in this scene is a brushed aluminum/cherry wood Yamaha Neo with a clear Plexiglas lid (there are only a handful in the world) and we painted “Jackie” (one of Steve’s stunt cellos) to match it.
Of course, would this all be complete without a sleek, stylishly finned 60’s Batmobile? This car would come all the way from Niagara Falls from Jett Yaskow.
Next, 1989 Tim Burton’s Batman movie starring Michael Keaton called for lots of brass sounds to pay tribute to Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, accomplished via layered tracks of steel and carbon fiber cellos played with a special technique and at times using paper underneath the strings, and frilly woodwind-like riffs on piano and march-like percussion.
We filmed in a 100 yr-old, dark, abandoned warehouse that actually houses several hundred bats!
The piano used is a 9 ft. concert grand– one of the most sought-after concert hall performance pianos in the world and certainly big enough to make even Tim Burton happy.
The “Batcello” was hand built by Gail Flynn, complete with a bat bridge, a cityscape stained glass front, a Batman scroll and even hand carved bat-shaped pegs. It was an indescribable feeling playing Elfman’s music on these instruments in front of the most ominous automobiles ever built – the 1989 Batmobile!
Finally we pay homage to the most recent Batman series – the Dark Knight Trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale.
Hans Zimmer’s music is the stuff of legend. We worked tirelessly to recreate his epic style of composition and full symphonic sound with piano and cello – writing fast, accented ostinatos and soaring brass-like melody lines.
We used drone flyby shots to emphasize the drama of the series all in front of the buff Tumbler, built by one of the coolest guys in the world: Hans Zimmer’s. It took him three and a half years!
In the end we combined as many elements as we could – musically, visually, and thematically.
It’s a whisper deep within us that life is more than super heroes and villains, legendary cars, more than movie theaters and concert halls.
Even though we were simply recreating all of these components on the top of a building overlooking the city in the middle of the night, we felt we had one of those Superhero moments.
by Skippy Massey
This post originally appeared at the Humboldt Sentinal. Reprinted with permission.