Down in the Basement at the Li Po Lounge- Sharp Objects

21 Minute single camera music performance documentary featuring the punk band Sharp Objects

Down in the Basement at the Li Po Lounge- Sharp Objects

The Way Back Machine

Think back to 2010. Remember the optimism everyone felt at the beginning of a new decade? No? Me neither. Anyhoo, 2010 was pretty close to the start of a new video revolution of sorts- the dawn of the DSLR era. The Japanese camera company Canon had introduced the 5D Mark II digital SLR camera. This camera enabled users to capture great moving images- because of it’s full size sensor and access to high quality lenses. It certainly changed the trajectory of my career and that of a lot of others as well. These cameras allowed us to shoot usable video in extremely low light with high quality glass (lenses) and finally affordably shoot with a cinematic shallow depth of field look. Amazing!

Sharp Objects Down in the Basement at the Li Po Lounge

So that leads us to this short concert film. I can’t remember if I had bought my 5D MII yet or if I had borrowed one from my friend Sunset magazine photographer Tom Story who was kind enough to loan me his for testing.  

If you know me you know that I love going to live shows. In particular punk , garage ,power pop, shoegaze etc... So on that night when another photographer friend of mine Jenn Hale called and asked if I wanted to see some punk bands at the Li Po Lounge in San Francisco’s Chinatown I thought it would be a great opportunity to bust out the camera and document the night. This film is a result of that night. I shot the headlining band Sharp Objects. I’m pretty sure the band no longer exists. I thought they were fun and that the night was a blast. Who doesn’t love spending the evening in the basement of a chinatown bar listening to loud music and dancing around with a bunch of old sweaty punk rockers right? Right? Hello? 

In case you’re interested here’s a link to a studio version of Sharp Objects playing there song “Misspent Youth” which is the second song and first full song I shot at their show that night.

This is only a test

This whole endeavor really started as a camera test. Here are some brief technical notes: It was really extremely dark in the basement of the Li Po Lounge. I think the camera, a Canon 5D MarkII, performed pretty well under the circumstances but not as well as later versions might have. I shot with a Canon 16-35mm 2.8 version one lens and the audio was from the camera’s microphone. The sound is pretty damn good considering that there was no board feed. I color graded the footage in Final Cut and Red Giant Looks.

From the dustbin of a hard drive to a computer screen near you.

I pretty much had forgotten about this night and this show until I ran across it on an old hard drive and started watching the footage. It was a great night and I had a ton of fun shooting the show. Check it out. You might have fun too.

Eric S. Goodfield

July 12, 2018