Constantine - "The Devil's Vinyl" - Moonrise Studios acetate record

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I am slightly hoping that there will be a licensed replica release, but last week's Constantine showed off an intricately designed record.

It is explained as being Willie Cole's last recording before he disappeared and it gains its power from having the voice of the First of the Fallen.

I find it odd that all the characters continuously call it as an acetate, which was made from a lacquer-coated aluminum disc, yet the episode title refers to "vinyl".

I made a couple of screengrabs here.
http://imgur.com/a/aYfXo

Here are some squared up versions of the Moonrise Studios record sleeve and label.
I might try to vectorize the designs in Illustrator if the prop doesn't surface.


label square.png
Moonrise Studios
Willie Cole
June 18, 1938

Most likely a 78 rpm record.

cover square.png
Double-Sided Electrically Recorded
Probably only one side was recorded on for obvious reasons.

Some equipment from the episode:

record player.PNG
Most likely a Technics SL-1200 turntable. Tape is covering the RPM buttons and the logo, but "Quartz" can be discerned. Oddly, none of the speed buttons are lit up from 33 and 45 rpm. Was it modded for 78 rpm?

machine.PNG
We get a lovely view of an RCA record cutting machine. Unfortunately I don't recognize the model.

It does look like it's an actual working machine, so they might have really recorded something on the set.


bright.PNG
Side view of the machine, please ignore the blood.

record player 2.PNG
Another record player. Tonearm is similar to the Audio Technica AT-LP60, but it's too dark to see much.

The episode should still be up for viewing at the NBC website.

You can listen to the entire song here:
"Reaper Man" sung by Martin Yarbrough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivGeuo5k84I
 

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I was hoping that NBC would upload better pictures of the record, or even the period recording studio.

No such luck as all the "Photos from the Set" appear to be from the last few scenes.

http://www.nbc.com/constantine/photos/behind-the-scenes-of-the-devils-vinyl/2018571

http://www.nbc.com/constantine/photos/photos-from-the-devils-vinyl/2018461


Though to their credit, they've uploaded Zed's charcoal drawings.

http://www.nbc.com/constantine/photos/zeds-charcoal-sketches-of-constantine/2050451


I've been tinkering a bit with the largest images I can find and squaring them up.
record label 1st draft.png
It's a rough draft.
I've been trying to use Century Gothic for the "All Rights Reserved", but the kerning doesn't quite match

Can anyone can help with identifying the fonts used? Especially the "Moonrise Studios"; it looks vaguely Art Nouveau.

If not, I'll probably have to trace them as with the floral design.

label square.png

Also the design seems to be heavily inspired from the labels of 30s Brunswick records.
Brunswick-1.jpg

As for the record and record sleeve, I've had some experience with making my own 78 rpm records on laser-cut acrylic.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Playable-Laser-Cut-Gramophone-Record-from-B/

Actual record lathes do exist, but at a price. In addition, the acetates were never meant to be played for extended periods as they'll wear out on the needle.


Imprinting the design on a sleeve is also a problem as most print shops either don't have the right paper or their machine is too small to handle the flattened envelope shape.
 

Dann

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I work on this show. I've actually got a record sleeve from this episode.

Don't have the record, though.

The record cutter was a rental, and was treated like it was made of glass. I don't believe it was used to actually "record" anything.

I'm pretty sure the prop record was just an old wax record with a label pasted over the original. (You can actually see the original label underneath the Moonrise sticker in that first screengrab.)
 
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I work on this show. I've actually got a record sleeve from this episode.

Don't have the record, though.

The record cutter was a rental, and was treated like it was made of glass. I don't believe it was used to actually "record" anything.

I'm pretty sure the prop record was just an old wax record with a label pasted over the original. (You can actually see the original label underneath the Moonrise sticker in that first screengrab.)
That's really cool. Shame about the record cutter. They add a sort of unearthly period tone to an otherwise modern recording. Some examples of the results can be heard at the78project.com where they use a Presto record cutter the same way Alan Lomax made his Smithsonian field recordings. (Coincidentally it's the same model used to record the infamous "Oh the humanity!" quote from the Hindenburg disaster.)

Speaking of model numbers, would you happen to know the one used? I can only discern the RCA logo.

I would assume the side shots of the needle cutting into the material were either stock footage or from test cuttings.


record.PNG

As for the prop record, I suspected as much. I've been working on another project recreating the Cloud Altas record. Stills of the record label spinning show that it wasn't originally bonded to the vinyl when it was pressed; otherwise the label and record surface would have been flat or smoothly bulging. The label also looks like it was hand-cut with scissors with parts of the label exhibiting bubbling where the adhesive is coming apart.

Since you are in possession of a record sleeve, could you take some clearer pictures of the design? Is it the same on both sides?

Or could you convince NBC or somebody to post more behind the scenes photos of the earlier parts of the episode? The period flashback was completely glossed over and we didn't get shots of the record itself.




Some Other Finds
Oddly, there hasn't been much official recognition of the record or the song. I had a devil of the time finding Dave Blass' original twitter post showing the full version of the song.

https://twitter.com/blackhawkdesign/status/531092632748175361

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By the way, he provides some nice cover art of the single with better closeup of the design along with other props from the show's course.
He also adds some font tips.

B148NR5IEAAtNdA.jpg
Apparently, the recording equipment used in the studio is the same from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
B143U_mIUAAZZLU.jpg
 

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Dann

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Yeah, that microphone was from O Brother. I hung up that "recording" light!!
 

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Alas no.

I'm just working on this in my spare time. I'm focusing on historical accuracy, trying to make a record to play on a 78 rpm phonograph that would have been appropriate to the period.

There used to be a couple of messages in this thread from "AgentSonOfCole", but the account has been deleted, but I suspect that it is the same person.

A key difference he shared was changing the speed to 45 rpm, which is admittedly more accessible as people tend to have only 33/45 record players. However, it makes the track width comically short in comparison to the full surface of the 10" record.

The episode title refers to vinyl, though most records were made of shellac in the 30s. And yet, the characters constantly refer to it as an "acetate". Real acetate cutters are difficult to come by, while cut acetate records are less durable and not meant for repeated playback.

I know it's possible to make small-run vinyl records, but a) the material wouldn't be appropriate to the time period and b) the softer vinyl would be gouged out by the steel needles. But yes, it's a simple matter of notifying the cutting service to change the speed to 78 rpm to play on modern turntables, but that's not really my focus.

I have some test cuts on acrylic from the instructable I linked above. Haven't been able to do extensive testing because of the holidays, but it's playable on a phonograph at 78 rpm with a steel needle. It's something else to hear modern songs played through a 100 year old machine.

This is an example of another laser-cut record I filmed earlier.


Surface noise is a major factor and the relatively quiet vocal with guitar looks like an exercise in equalization to get it to playback well
 
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Mister Kite

New Member
Sorry, I somehow missed your reply...

Those records you're making are sweet, but how's your Constantine version coming along?

I guess that other guy did all right, because the production designer tweeted about it! That's how I first saw it.
 

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