BEEHIVE PRO: Vlog
Koehler & Kelly spent a weekend at Beehive Productions in the beautiful Adirondack village of Saranac Lake, NY. Jeff Oehler and Susan Bibeau specialize in capturing live music performances in intimate settings. They film both "on location," and in a studio in their Victorian home, conveniently located an hour south of my home in Northern New York. Daniel made the trek north from the city, and we gathered in Jeff and Sue's kitchen to get to know each other before we got to work.
We were greeted by three curious cats and their dog, a sweet old soul named Ella. Sue poured me a cup of coffee and encouraged me to add a shot of maple syrup (their house favorite). We soon noticed I was holding a North Country Public Radio mug and I told her that it was my friends at NCPR who had originally recommended BeehivePro to us. We smiled as this seemed like a great sign that our day was going to go well. Daniel and Jeff talked about jazz and living in Brooklyn and Jeff and I enjoyed our similar last names (Koehler & Oehler!) and the many ways people pronounce them. Conversation was easy and we were ready to do a sound check.
Daniel needed to "meet" the grand piano. As a fiddler, I have literally played the same violin for 30 years and am continually amazed at how adaptable pianists are. Today, Daniel was introduced to a charming little 1923 Chickering with a warm tone, loads of character, and a couple lower keys that, from the looks of them, could tell a great story. For our shoot, the piano lid had been completely removed to allow maximum light into the room. You don't see that every day and I took advantage of watching the inner workings of the piano while he warmed up. Jeff and Sue were able to grab some fantastic close-ups of the hammers flying, especially during Daniel's solo on Johnny D's.
As we filmed, I was surrounded by my favorite sounds, fiddle and piano, as they bounced around "the set" which was artfully constructed of glass panes from salvaged windows, a couple antique washboards, old glass doors, and hard wood floors. The cozy room heated up as the four of us worked on this summer's afternoon. Even though Beehive capitalizes on natural lighting, a few large studio lamps added to the warmth. For our last film, The Fox's Wedding, I decided it was time to pull my hair back, which also gave me an opportunity to show off the earrings my eldest son had made for the shoot. (Many thanks, JumpRingJewelry!)
Quietly bobbing and weaving, Jeff and Sue filmed us in tandem from different points in the room. Amazingly, we did not find it distracting. In fact, I was actually startled when I gently leaned into Jeff who had, unbeknownst to me, crouched down by my knees to film Daniel's hands during The Killavil Set. It's no surprise that the team has been recording bands from all over the US and Canada since 1995. Even Ella seemed like a seasoned pro as she lay quietly on the floor and listened to our entire session, occasionally letting out a sweet sigh of contentment between takes. We really appreciated the relaxed and positive vibe they have created in their studio.
Et voilà! In a few short weeks, they sent us the finished films. Many thanks to our new friends at Beehive Productions for their hospitality, their care and their time given to creating our unique and wonderful videos.
Thanks for watching and we'd love to know which one is your favorite! ~Gretchen
Saranac Lake, NY