Get Your Pump On

When I started at The Q, I felt I kind of sucked at open videos and pump videos, but in Akron, they were kind of the same thing. Just kind of highlight videos. Over the years I was able to take on now what I consider opens and have made some strides. While I was doing that, my pump game never really developed. So this year I thought I’d work on that a bit.

Now, a lot of pumps are serious and motivational. Those are not my kind of pumps. You want those, you go to my boy Kevin Libal. I do the weird shit.

Exhibit A: The Pencil Case Pump

I was scrolling through Reddit one day last week when I saw this short video going around. Probably an attempt at viral marketing for a new pencil case product, but hell… the damn thing’s screaming. That’s about 90% of game ops is telling people to scream. It made sense to make it into something. Especially because of that song. Had to track it down to get better audio, then I just accentuated the beats and filled the rest of the screen to make it work on our big ass Humongotron. The letters flying out aren’t perfect, but I could also argue the fact they’re flying by so fast fits the bombast of the lyrical performance. I like this type of stuff where you can see something current, make some time to add on to it in a way that fits the show, and bring something fresh in to it. This premiered right before overtime in a wild game and I think this’ll become a go-to, hopefully for all Q teams.

To the other side of the spectrum from New and Current, “Calm Like a Pump” was inspired skipping around randomly on Spotify. Exhibit B (I mean, used the exhibit motif earlier, so it feels weird to not come back to it):

I always enjoyed the bass line, and the whiplash shift into the rest of the song works great for the pump genre of “Lull Into Silence”. Making people read also quiets them up pretty quick. The quiet works well as a signpost for the crowd that something different is about to happen, especially after whatever wackiness we were up to earlier in the timeout.

While relatively simple, there were some tricky aspects to this. De La Rocha’s use of the word “funk” throughout Rage’s track made me want to avoid it. Despite the popularity of “Uptown Funk”, I try to stay away from it in-arena because, uh, ya know… it sounds like “fuck”. So I tried to find an instrumental. But there isn’t a legit one, there’s panned or Audition-tricked version that I use in the back end. Which is why the drums sound like ass. Because I was also being sensitive about the recent mail-bombings, so a song that yells “bomb” a lot seemed like a bad idea. Back what I was trying to say, even those versions during the opening bass line have whispery repetition of “bring the funk back.” So I tried to find bassists covering it on YouTube, because this is such primo “Look What I Can Play” line for kids learning their instrument. And there were plenty. But they all did it along with original track. Except for one stringy, shirtless teen aged boy I found pages deep. I mean, usually when I’m watching that sort of thing, I’m good with whatever’s on the front page, finish in a few minutes, and then fall asleep. And, hey! He recorded it clean! It was performed…. okayly! But I had to “tune” his bass for him and clean up his tempo, along with helping the low end on his crispy tone.

Other than that, a little typing, zippin’ that star around, toss some echo on it, change the background color e’ry now n’ again, then slather grunge all over everything and screw around with leaks, blend modes and adjustment layers. That’s a basic ingredient list for a noise graphic. It’s like Mexican food. Tortillas, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, beans, peppers, sauce. That’s basically every dish. The specifics make the difference between tacos, burritos, and chimichangas. Hard to mess up, too.

These ain’t technical masterpieces, but the more of this kind of stuff you can keep in your inventory, the better. There’s a lot of games, a lot of time outs, and even if not for the fans, you don’t want to watch the same four videos over and over again. Keep building that bench of content. Opens are cool and all, but they’re only 1-2 minutes of the show. It’s these videos the keep the energy up and sustain a whole game.

I got all kinds of weird ideas this summer, some simple like this, some more involved. More to share soon.