“Prelim Task Lip Syncing Exercise”

Lip Syncing is when someone sings the lyrics in sync with a pre-recorded soundtrack. Lip syncing is used in most music videos to ensure that the audio stays as high quality as possible. It also enables you to compose a video from lots of  different takes, allowing lots of different angles and distances. It is important to make sure that lip syncing is not over enunciated as it could become difficult to edit and takes away from the realism. You must also ensure that your star matches the artist as if they don’t fit the stars image, then the grain of voice may be perceived in a different way. This could effect the realism of the lip syncing; even if it is edited in time with the music.

Using the footage taken at the green screen studio, I then edited the clips together to form part of the song “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. This was great practice on how to lip sync and edit in time with the music. I also played around with some effects. As well as learning how to edit a music video, it also taught me and improved my skills with using the software “Adobe Premier Pro”. For example, I have learnt how the markers can help and how you can see and use the sound waves when syncing up the film and audio.

Below is the section of music video which I have edited.

I was pleased with how this piece of music video turned out as:

  • I was able to successfully edit the filming in sync with the audio so that the lip syncing is in  time.
  • I was able to add energy through the cutting speed which followed the pop genre of music.
  • I was able to compose the clips so that there are lots of different angles and distances.

The parts that were less successful and what I have learnt from them:

  • Making sure that their is some continuity with who is singing. (We just played around with who was singing but in my actual music video, I will need to make sure that my chosen star matches the style of singer in the audio and they stay the same throughout.)
  • Some of the transition effects are a bit cheesy and don’t really work. (Again I was just playing around with the editing software but in my actual music video, I will need to consider the effects a bit more.)
  • The pieces of film do not have too much movement so I must ensure that when filming my actual music video, I take lots of different types of shots.
  • We didn’t consider Mise en Scene in this task but this will definitely need to be used when creating our music videos.

Green Screen Studio Filming

In preparation to make our own music videos, it is important that I have learnt how to film in a studio and know how to lip sync.

We went to a green screen studio where we filmed to gain shots for a practice music video. We used a multi cam setup and although we may not use more than one camera filming our actual videos, it was interesting to see how you would set them up. Using more that one camera at a time enables you to have to take less takes and it enables you to record at multiple angles and distances at one time. For example, one camera could be taking a close up and the other could be taking a long, wide shot. The cameras which we used for filming were set up onto tripods. This enabled the recordings to be stabilized, which allowed the film to be clear and smooth.

When recording, it was important to make sure that the people in the shot had enough green screen around them (especially if the were tall) and that the shots were in focus. You also had to ensure that they were not creating a shadow behind them as this could effect post production.

Below are some photos showing us at the green screen studio and learning how to use all of the equipment.

 

Initial song ideas for a video – Mini pitch

After looking at lots of different music videos and gaining inspiration, I have began a vision of my own for what I think could work quite well. I have decided on the song “Lovely” by Billie Eilish and Khalid. It is 3 minutes and 20 seconds so a reasonable length of time.

LOVELY

Thought I found a way
Thought I found a way out (out)
But you never go away (never go away)
So I guess I gotta stay now
Oh, I hope someday I’ll make it out of here
Even if it takes all night or a hundred years
Need a place to hide, but I can’t find one near
Wanna feel alive, outside I can’t fight my fear
Isn’t it lovely, all alone?
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone
Tear me to pieces, skin to bone
Hello, welcome home
Walking out of time
Looking for a better place (looking for a better place)
Something’s on my mind
Always in my head space
But I hope someday I’ll make it out of here
Even if it takes all night or a hundred years
Need a place to hide, but I can’t find one near
Wanna feel alive, outside I can’t fight my fear
Isn’t it lovely, all alone?
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone
Tear me to pieces, skin to bone
Hello, welcome home
Woah, yeah
Yeah, ah
Woah, woah
Hello, welcome home

Whilst listening to the song, I wrote down words which I associated with the lyrics, ambiance and feelings created. I then created a word cloud with these words which is shown below.

For the narrative, I was thinking about possibly basing it off of a girl who feels isolated and is being controlled by her thoughts and feelings and her wanting to escape somewhere that is more open and free. I could switch between two locations. One being dark and derelict and the other being more green and open.

The performance side of the music video will be the star lip syncing but it will be included within the narrative.

Favourite Music Video from Former Student

After looking at previous students music videos, I have chosen one which I think was very successful.

This music video is for Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend”. After watching it a few times, I was able to identify some features which I really liked and what I thought made the media so successful. These are listed below:

  • The lip syncing is pretty much perfect. This creates the impression that the star in the video is actually singing the words you hear.
  • The narrative is very clear and the Mise en Scene used fits very well. This is important as it allows the audience to be fully engaged and know what is happening. The video is set in the underground hospital which I believe is a perfect fit for the type of song it is. The student has clearly thought very clearly about the Mise en Scene. For example the props (chains, scissors, etc), make up (messy hair and ruined makeup) and the costume (large white hospital gown).
  • The shots are very varied which makes the music video very interesting. Some of my favorites include a close of the stars face, using depth of field when filming the scissors and a wide shot to show the location (establishing shot).
  • The editing of the clips match the timing of the music.
  • There are some very cool editing techniques. I really like when the star is edited to provide another figure. This creates the look of a ghost. When the image in the clips distort it also creates lots of interest. It is very unique and follows the style of music. Another editing skill I loved was when the eye of the star is taken and rotated to merge into another clip. This was very interesting and excited me as the audience.

From looking at the music video above and watching other previous students work, I have been able to learn things that I can use when creating my music video:

  • I need to make sure that my star knows the lyrics of the song so that the lip syncing matches the sound.
  • I need to consider who I use for the star to make sure they perform well and tell the narrative right. Some actors were not very confident or were not very expressive. This impacted the way in which the narrative was understood.
  • The Mise en Scene needs to be well thought about to ensure that it follows and helps to tell the story. This includes considering the location, costumes and props.
  • I need to include various different camera shots to make it as interesting as possible.
  • The editing needs to be in time with the music and must follow the genre of music. For example, you don’t want quick shots in a slow, ballad song.

Detailed Music Video analysis

Below is a close analysis of Katy Perry’s “Chained to the rhythm” music video:

Here is another close analysis of a music video. This one is slightly different in that it is 100% performance and is much more simplistic. It is Sia’s “Elastic Heart”.

From closely analyzing these music videos, I have learnt that they are very influential and are encoded with lots of details and meanings which help to portray a narrative. You must think about the Mise en Scene, camera and editing techniques and ensure that they are in time with the music and lyrics. This enables the narrative to be understood by the audience but it also creates a brand image of the music artist. When creating my music video, I will need to consider whether I will show a performance, narrative (like Sia’s “Elastic Heart”), or a mixture of the both (like Katy Perry’s “Chained to the rhythm”). I will need to decide on the type of image and brand I want to convey and build my Mise en Scene off and camera and editing skills off of this. Everything from the location to the stars in my video will need to be considered in order to portray the correct narrative and promote the right kind of brand.

Music Video Form & Conventions

Before creating my own music video, I need to research others and discover the common conventions. Music videos are there to promote a song and build the artists star image and brand.

Below is 4 music videos analysed:

From looking at these 4 music videos, I have discovered that:

  • they can be all performance, all narrative, or a mixture between the two
  • the relationship between the song and narrative can either be illustration (the narrative is closely related to the lyrics), amplification (the narrative is inspired by the song but adds a new element as well) or disjuncture (the narrative holds very little relationship to the song).
  • the star image is definitely considered and expresses their brand positively and genre of music
  • lip syncing is important that it works and is in time with the music
  • the music and editing is linked and clips are in timing with the music

“Prelim Task Mood Montage”

In preparation to making my music video, it is essential that I have learnt how to edit and use a camera for filming. This task looked at montages and how to edit pieces of film together to portray a narrative. We decided on the theme of “practice makes perfect”, showing the stages of developing skills. We decided to show how an artist can improve their painting skills, a musician can learn a piece of music and a sports player can score a goal. Below is a story board of how the montage will be assembled.

Each colour of post it note represents each narrative. The stages are in chronological order and show what will be filmed and annotated with what we want to show (for example, the facial expressions), the type of camera technique we will use and how we will edit the piece of film.

Below is the finished montage, “Practice makes perfect”.

This montage creates an impact in that it presents the idea that if you work hard at something, you will eventually become successful. The fact that the individual stories do not become perfect straight away shows that becoming good at something doesn’t happen overnight and that perseverance is key.

Our narrative of “practice makes perfect” is presented through three hobbies; art (painting), music (playing piano) and sport (basketball). At the beginning, all three were pretty terrible but by the end, all three characters had achieved their goal. We tried to showed the importance of a positive attitude through the facial expressions and the fact that no one gave up. The music also helped to show this. We chose the song “don’t stop moving” as it is a very positive and motivational piece of music.

One way that editing helped convey the narrative was the reaction shots. After the shot of playing the piano at the beginning, we then cut to a shot of Casey’s face. This showed the idea that he was not most impressed. However at the end, we used another reaction shot where Casey was very pleased and smiling. The contrast between these two repeating reaction shots helped to convey the theme of practice.

Another editing technique that helped to convey the message was that we used a slow motion shot when the basketball finally entered the hoop. This emphasized the success and also added to the tension on the approach to the hoop. This enabled the moment to last longer making it special and worth the work.

We also used jump cuts when editing the clips. This was used when paint was being added to the palette. This enabled us to show the different paint being added without wasting too much time. This added to the montage in that it showed the progression of time without taking too long and boring the audience. This adds to the theme in that practice also doesn’t happen quickly.

Although we were able to successfully create a montage that conveys the narrative “practice makes perfect”, there are some improvements to be made. For example:

  • the transitions from one clip to the next is quite random and does not necessarily match the timing of the music. If this improvement was made, the montage may run even smoother and cleaner.
  • the transitions between clips are also different each time. Although this isn’t a huge problem, it doesn’t make the piece of film follow a specific continuing style.
  • the mise en scene for the basketball player is slightly off as he isn’t wearing sports clothes. This could effect the way in which the story is received from my audience.

If I was to redo this montage, I would want to take some establishing shots and have them at the beginning. This would set the scene of the stories, giving my audience even more information on what it is about. I may also use more jump cuts to show the progression of time.

From creating a montage, I have learnt many things that I can use when creating my music video:

  • It is important to take many different shots from lots of different angles. This will enable myself to use lots of different editing techniques, making it more interesting.
  • I need to think about exactly the narrative I am trying to convey and then use the right editing techniques (as well as mise en scene and camera techniques) to follow the theme.
  • I will need to plan out exactly how I want my music video to be so I know exactly what to film. This is important as if you just improvise, you may not be portraying the narrative correctly.

Question 4: So… How did you integrate technologies (software, hardware and online) in this project?

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