CASE STUDY: Risikofaktor, a viral music video

Apocalypse ungewiss / Nach vorne ohne Kompromiss / Auch wenn die Zukunft ungewiss

The future is uncertain but to get what you want, you have to take risks.  Rogelio Salinas did just that when he approached the band Die Krupps with an idea for a music video.  But what worked in Rogelio's favor is that he took a calculated risk.  Having been a fan of Die Krupps since the 90s, he understood the band's vision intimately and so had enough understanding of their style to be able to pitch a concept that connected with their music.  And so, Risikofaktor was born.

GENRE: Music Video
DIRECTOR: Rogelio Salinas III
PRODUCERS: Rogelio Salinas III and Rachel Salinas
BUDGET: $130 for props ($65 for the Light Table, $30 Gas Mask, $15 for M80 Canister, $10 Porcelain Doll, $6 for Machete, $4 for Chair)
FINANCING FROM: Self-financing and partnership between the Director and Music Artist
PRODUCTION DATES: 1/12/13 and 1/18/13
POST PRODUCTION DATES: 1/20/13 - 1/23/13
WORLD PREMIERE: various video sharing website and Die Krupps band site on 1/23/13
AWARDS: N/A (Has not been entered in any competitions)
WEBSITE: Die Krupps (wiki)  Die Krupps (band site)

TREATMENT SYNOPSIS: The music video for Risikofaktor tells the story of a man who survives an apocalypse.  But is it all in his mind? Although the apocalypse turns out not to have occurred, he remains cautious throughout the video wary that the pending apocalypse can arrive at any time.

The main elements of Rogelio's  filmmaking strategy consisted of the following: during development and pre-production, (1) do your due diligence and know your client; (2) be credible when you pitch to your client; (3) don't be afraid to cold-call in certain situations; during production, (4) always have a back-up plan and keep your cool;  during post-production, (5) be open to changing your workflow if something is not working; and, during distribution, (6) having a viral video under your belt is a good career move.

KNOW YOUR CLIENT THOROUGHLY SO THAT YOU CAN PITCH AN APPEALING CONTENT THEY CAN CONNECT TO, BE CREDIBLE and DON'T BE AFRAID TO SEEK OPPORTUNITY. Rogelio had an advantage over other music video directors; he was a long time fan of Die Krupps who knew their music and style deeply.  "I discovered Die Krupps in the mid-90’s and they quickly became one of my favorite bands. I was able to connect with the mastermind behind Die Krupps, Jurgen Engler, on Facebook."  In today's fast-paced world, the spoils go to the first one out the gate and Rogelio wasted no time in making a pitch as soon as he discovered they had new music coming out.  "[Jurgen] announced that they were going to release a new single to their first album in 16 years and I mentioned that I would be happy to film a music video for them." He wasn't connected with an agency and Die Krupps were no start-up band, so he wouldn't have been surprised if they had ignored him. "I doubted that I would hear back from him, but to my surprise, he loved the idea [and arranged to meet and shoot with me.  Jurgen had been living in Austin, TX since the mid-90s, although the other two members, Marcel and Ralph still live in Germany.  I was very excited to meet one of my favorite musical artists in person.  On January 8, we met and had dinner to discuss the making of the music video.  The record company wanted a finalized video available online by January 18, to coincide with the release of the single.  Since time was of the essence, on January 11, my wonderful wife, Rachel, and I bought props and worked overnight in the garage, converting it into a post-apocalyptic bunker.  The shoot was scheduled for the following evening on January 12 and we were quite surprised how well, and apocalyptic, everything looked."

"Jurgen came by the evening of the 12th and we came up with some more ideas for the shoot. One immediate problem we had was that Marcel and Ralph were in Germany and would not be available for the shoot.  So, planning for that, I made Jurgen the main character and told him to send me pictures of Marcel and Ralph that I can place on the set.  I filmed his portion late into the evening and we both loved the footage,  we then decided to film the second half of the film in Austin at the Mckinney Falls State Park on January 18th. The filming was going great until the second problem surface, the battery plate on my Red One stopped functioning. I started to panic for a bit since this was the first time it happened, but I was prepared with an alternative, my Canon T4i.  So I used my Canon T4i to film the final portions. The footage still came out looking great and, luckily, I had shot the most important shots with the Red."

DON'T BE STUBBORN WITH YOUR WORK FLOW.  "Post production was a challenge and kept me up very late for several nights. I originally started editing on Final Cut Pro X, but after a few days, I switched over to Premiere CS6 because it allowed me to get better precision edits for a music video like this. After creating a 2K Prores video file from Premiere, I went ahead and finalized it on Final Cut Pro X with some transitions that were not available on Premiere."

HAVING YOUR VIDEO GO VIRAL CAN BE JUST AS GOOD AS GETTING INTO A FESTIVAL NOWADAYS. "The music video was finally completed and we premiered it on Youtube and was viewed over 5000 times in the first 24 hours. The record label rolled it out right after the release of the single and both Jurgen and I were shocked by it's reception.  Even though there was no special event, concert or even press coverage it spread like wildfire.  It quickly became the highest viewed video on my Youtube channel and it helped Risikofaktor reach and stay at the top of the German Alternative Charts for five straight weeks. It has become one of the most popular music videos in Germany. Making this video led to new music artist clients from different parts of the world including a music video for another one of my favorite artists, Decoded Feedback.

CURRENT STATUS OF THE VIDEO: As of today, the music video has already been viewed over 100,000 times online between Youtube, Vimeo, and the German online music channel The video is also playing on music networks in German television.

ADVICE FROM FILMMAKER: "Always strive for excellence and create the best possible project with the resources you have at your disposal. Be a professional by treating everyone with respect. Stay humble and you will achieve much more."

Rogelio's collaboration with Die Krupps for Risikofaktor is proof that risks are worth taking to make your vision a reality.  Specifically in the music industry, musicians are always looking for ways to better express themselves visually and the filmmaker plays a vital role in making that happen.  And making a viral video is the holy grail for musicians and filmmakers alike because it is another way to legitimize and value your work.  Film festival awards and press write-ups are always good to have but the buzz of a viral video can be the quickest way to achieve your goals.  So, what band or musician that you love can you reach out to and collaborate with?


  1. Roger Ebert used to say that a great film has at least 3 great things in it, and no bad ones. Although this is a music video, the same rules apply. The creepy mood is established through the props that do something more powerful than depict violence, they imply it. The lighting, both indoors and outdoors still creates a claustrophobic, oppressive environment that puts you into the head of the man in the video. And finally, I love it when scenes cut in time with the beat. It puts you into the music, and puts the motion of it into the whole experience.

  2. Good observations, Anibal. You identified the 3 essentials that almost every great film has: an evocative mood (creepy or funny or nostalgic, etc.), an effective mise en scene(as established by the lighting/environment)and a proper rhythm of transitions (determined by the cuts). Those are essentials to live by when you're making a film or video.


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