Chapter One

I was in my second year at McMaster University, unrolled in the Music Education Program. It was that dreaded time of year, exam week. I needed a break from studying and my ears also had enough of Chopin. I had just purchased my first DSLR and I hadn’t even opened it up. There it was, the Canon Rebel T2i sitting on top of my book case, waiting to be snapped. I had the slightest clue on how to operate one, but looking at those grainy pictures from my cell phone just made me cringe. The was the second reason why I had bought a camera. The first reason was because I wanted to make short films. More on that later.

I decided to take a "small" break from Chopin and cracked the seal on the box. "Welcome to the Canon T2i." Looking back at that complicated manual now, who would have thought it was Chapter One to The Midnight Media.

I looked in the box and discovered a whole new world; a world that I now see through my viewfinder. The buttons, manuals, cables, indeed it was overwhelming; however, I put in my 4GB memory card and headed out of my residence, not knowing what was about to happen. The clock read, 2:30AM.

I started to walk around the campus, finding myself in places I probably shouldn’t have been in. I had a camera in one hand, headphones around my head and a tripod over my shoulders. The cold air, the emptiness of the fields that were usually filled with the hustle and bustle of students, the deer eating the fresh-cut grass, everything felt right. I wanted to switch the camera on and capture something incredible, but I had no clue what I was doing. I walked myself over to a bridge somewhere on Main Street, where I stood under a street light to figure out what some of the buttons did. ISO, White Balance, A Random Q, it was like a foreign language. I pushed some buttons and turned some dials and heard my new instrument make its first sound. “Chik-Chik.” I had looked at the preview that showed up on the back of the LCD screen and I was completely blown away at what had been composed. I had seen similar images in magazines and on the internet world. I had miraculously managed to take a long exposure of a bunch of cars driving by, capturing the light trails. It was luminous! Of course, I didn't know what a long exposure was back then.

I got excited and tried it again, but failed. Moved the buttons and dials around some more. Failed again. Mashed my fingers rapidly to change some settings, only to find images of out of focus cars. I was disappointed; moreover, I was so motivated and inspired to learn what had just happened. I failed my exam the next morning. The content I started to read when I got back to my room, the Canon T2i manual, wasn’t exactly on my music history exam. 

Not trying to fail any more exams, I tried to limit my time with my new toy - kind of. At this point I had learned a fair bit of information on how to get a correct exposure. Of course, there was still so much more to learn. I started playing around with still life photography and experimenting with off camera flash.

The name, The Midnight Media, came to me after realizing that my creative process reaches a climax during the midnight hours. From as long as I can remember, film making, photography, composing music, writing a script, story-boarding – it all happened when everyone else was asleep. The world changes at night for me. It comes alive. 

I have a strong background in music theory. I graduated from Recording Arts Canada in 2008 with a diploma in Sound and Audio Engineering. I had released multiple albums on iTunes, built a project studio, performed worldwide, and continued to write music throughout my time at McMaster University. During my second year of Recordings Arts Canada, I had the chance to mix and edit sound and music for an independent film. The film didn't do well at all. I don't even remember what it was about to be honest, but it was at that moment I realized I wanted to score music for film. The following year, I was enrolled at McMaster for Music Education and Composition, in hopes of learning how to score for film. I took a class on music composition for film and I was inspired to write a short film. I started to write my first short film titled, Pay-Off during my second semester. Looking back at that moment now, I can't remember if I was I more excited to write a film, or score the music.

 

Vinay Dhalla