This project has made our dreams come true. Releasing this BluRay/DVD/LP with Pagan's Mind has been nothing but spectacular. A small introduction to our relationship with Pagan's Mind is necessary before we begin.
A Pick Back In Time
The seeds of Equation Music were planted in 2010. Pagan's Mind played this small venue, a church repurposed for concerts, in Dordrecht, Netherlands. We were front row and our minds were blown to smithereens. We walked away enlightened and knew we had to get involved one way or another. A mailing conversation ensued and before we knew it we were designing their website.
This partnership turned into a friendship over time. We fed from one another and kept working hard despite the lack of releases. This led to a great team effort in 2014 & 2015, namely Full Circle.
Ideas & Indiegogo
Pagan's Mind were asked to play a groundbreaking 2.5 hour set at the upcoming ProgPower USA festival. This would mean playing their milestone album "Celestial Entrance" and a "Best Of" set, on one night. This was something new in the history of the band and we knew we had to capitalize on this. It had been too long since their last live DVD and album, we wanted and needed this.
We knew that it would be difficult to get the funds necessary for the production. It had been 3 years since their last album after all so we would understand it if the support from the label was less than we'd need. This is the reason why we suggested crowdfunding to Pagan's Mind. After a lot of healthy discussions we doubled down on this and created an elaborate plan. Crowdfunding brings risks and challenges with them after all.
There are always so many different technologies and platforms around. So our first step became to chose the right platform. We ended up with three main possibilities:
We ended up not going for Kickstarter because they were primarily focused on the US. At the same time we didn't feel comfortable with the fees MusicPledge demands. This is how we doubled down on Indiegogo and were then ready to start planning.
Once this decision was made we knew what we were working toward. The show was being recorded on the 9th of September, 2014 at ProgPower USA Festival. Early on we knew that we could not be present at the recording. This means that both the campaign and recording had to be planned and thought out as much as possible. This went beyond timing. We were planning for costs, production time and marketing actions.
We decided that we wanted to start the campaign before the show and have the campaign end a week or so after recording. This would allow for anticipation and selling extra tickets for the show to the most dedicated fans. It also enabled for a great amount of content to be able to post on the final days.
On top of this, we decided we did not want to do the campaign if we were not able to release the show on BluRay. This decisions unanimously made because the fans and band deserved the best quality. Another decision we made was to purchase additional cameras for the show as we knew the amount provided by the organisation was not enough in our eyes. We added two GoPros (Drums & Keyboards) and a high quality camcorder for a static view of the entire stage. Also we opted to have two cameras right in front of the stage instead of the suggested 1 by the production crew at the festival. This to make sure there are dedicated cameras for the bass player and guitar player (which could also work on the singer), rather than one having to find a balance between the three, missing valuable moments.
Integrating the planning and production with the social media to create hype and momentum was a lot of fun because of several reasons. Having managed their social media for several years already led to a very close connection with the fans. This helped to know exactly what people wanted and were looking for. On top of that, it was 2014 and it had already been 3 years since the last release coming from Pagan’s Mind. This allowed for a lot of excitement when we said we were going to announce something very cool.
We announced the campaign a few weeks before launch. Afterwards we trickled out information on perks, rewards and other things we had planned and then we were ready to launch.
On the day of launch, August 11, exactly one month before the launch we raised over 8000 euros. This crossed the 30% border by a wide margin which is often quite a good marker on whether the campaign will be successful or not. Despite it being summer time, contributions were quite consistently made until the 23rd of August. This was exactly the date when we reached the target: 20.000 euros. After this is calmed down for two reasons. We were busy making sure the show as going according to plan and because because we were pushing hard to get to the 20K.
Then, as planned, two days before the show we were able to post more updates and content on social media. We saw another spike as the show was drawing nearer. This helped to generate more funding. On the last day we had a big push that helped us to reach to our final destination: 32.656 euros from 541 backers.
When the show was over, a whole new stage of the project began. We had to collect all the footage from the hard drives, we had to reach out to the editor and mixer. On top of that, negotiations were being started with BluRay and DVD replicators and also the label Steamhammer/SPV. Now the focus was crating the product instead of acquiring funding. While this was going on we synced all the cameras to the audio so that the footage would be ready for the editor to move forward on.
As we already had a concept art from the collaboration with Sylvain from razorimages.com, we were quick to continue. As the campaign finished and with production underway, a number of intense weeks started with razorimages.com. We iterated on further improvements on the album cover. We went back and forth on many things but with every iteration we got closer to the best possible result. This being a cover which represents Pagan’s Mind’s discography while also introducing a slight new twist and style. After finishing the cover and an initial version of the digipak provided by razorimages.com, we were responsible of adapting and improving/adding to it.
One of the production challenges we faced was related to the footage. Next to very shaky handheld cameras and a camera that wasn’t put on auto focus (rendering it nearly completely useless), all cameras used different color settings and exposure. The images being either underexposed, overexposed or very green. While the editor came with a temporary solution, we focused on improving it and making sure all cameras were as close to each other as possible while also giving a cinematic experience. You can see a before and after below.
After over a year full of hard work and stress, the feedback we received was more than worth it. With an average of an 8.7 out of 10 (calculated over 31 reviews), it was a huge success. Fans were delighted by the sheer amount of content and also production quality. After we completed the release, we ran a survey among all the funders and some of the results can be seen below (N: 138):
A year after the release we uploaded the entire show in its entirety on YouTube, which currently has over 200.000 views.