Lyrics from the Grabbitz song “If I Came Back Home”
Mike’s day job is producing video content for a company in Portland. His love of the music video started early while playing video games, and then he began listening to game soundtracks in his car — imagining the visuals with every beat.
His videos are all performance videos,* and you can tell he is actually performing in them. Not only are the sets very intricate and full of light and color, but he sings each song as if he were on stage. He says he makes these videos for his girlfriend (soon to be his wife) — especially when she is away — and it is her reaction to the videos that inspires him.
Realizing he is the sole member of his production crew brings a jaw-dropping appreciation for what he has accomplished. The amount of time involved in planning a shot is recognizable when you see a garage door open in pitch black to reveal a spotlight from inside. A cross-fade to him, with colored vertical lights and smoke on the set, grabs your attention and draws you in. At some point you are reminded that this is a fan-made music video, and then it hits you — the amount of work required for this level of production quality. It’s obvious there is a passionate person behind this production.
*Mike Rhine also has another YouTube channel where he demonstrates and rates tech products. You can find that here: https://www.youtube.com/@MisterBoZiffer
As with most creative people, he usually has an idea about what his finished project should look like. Sometimes this involves taking risks, but usually it means just using the resources at his disposal. He also works with some type of deadline in mind, even if it is as nebulous as having it finished by the time his girlfriend returns, or a birthday, or sometimes just for fun! Again, being creative means he is his own worst critic, and he talks about the constant battle with himself about what is good enough.
We all know what happens here: “Can this edit be better,” “What if nobody likes this part.” While aware of the constant criticism that could await him, it is a sign of a mature producer to trust his instincts and know when to stop worrying about what others think. He knows that he has to please himself. And therein lies the secret to the quality of his productions.
Mike admits to having run up against a wall with his productions. He says he has used all his resources and is looking for new ways to use what he has available. One example of this is in the video “Comedown” by Grabbitz. What looks as if he used a green screen in the window behind him is a bit more complicated. He says, "The funny part about that, it's actually not a green screen. I did the first take during the day then did an identical take hours later when it was dark out." And yet he still was able to maintain perfect continuity with the movements, and making the perfect edit.
With his latest video to “It's Gonna Be Me” by N’Sync, Mike has brought his production full-circle. He says he started this video during the beginning of the pandemic lockdown as a way to keep sane. Revisiting the production and completing it, he applied many of the techniques he learned along the way — and it shows. The lockdown was a very creative time for many people. We at TikiKiti saw a wave of music videos from people usually not inclined to make the unofficial video. Mike’s video highlights many of the same features we saw in all these videos; that is, the isolation and the desire to get outside.
Earlier we mentioned that Mike said he has reached a wall with his production capabilities. Who we see is someone working to jump over that wall and explore new territories. Mike Rhine is on the way to creating a niche for himself and his creativity. We will be keeping a close eye on his projects.