Initial Song Ideas for a Video – Mini Pitch 2

After some time and consideration I didn’t feel satisfied with my previous music video idea, and after listening to more music came across a song that I have a lot more ideas for and could execute better as a result.

This song is Touch-Tone Telephone by Lemon Demon, presenting a story of a conspiracy theorist and his attempts to be featured on a paranormal-themed radio show with his discoveries. This distinct and unique story provides a lot of potential as a video and, without a pre-existing video from the artist, I feel would be a good opportunity for the project.

Initial Song Ideas for a Video – Mini Pitch

In beginning to look towards making a music video it was important that I chose a song and established some ideas of how I could present it.

The song I have chosen for this is Ghosting by Mother Mother; I chose this because I feel that the song has a clear and unique narrative in the lyrics, with distinct themes throughout, as well as not being too mainstream or recognisable so as to not risk being immediately compared to a viewer’s previous knowledge of the song.

Lip Syncing Exercise

Below is my first attempt at editing together a lip sync, as well as some experimentation with green screen editing.

Lip sync is an important skill to develop before making a music video as it presents the star image as a convincing performer and, if done well, will help sustain the viewer’s immersion in the video. To prepare for this in advance it can be helpful to advise that your performer does not over-enunciate the lyrics to the extent of appearing unnatural, this is another reason why it is important to choose a performer who visually matches the grain of the voice you are syncing to.

When it comes to editing the footage in Premiere Pro it’s helpful to note specific tools that are provided in the program to aid you in the process of lip syncing. Most notably, the marker tool allows you to add a tag/marker to a certain point in the footage and line this up with other markers in the timeline, as well as this it can be helpful to compare the audio waves of both the music track and video so as to match them as closely as possible.

In reflection, my video definitely isn’t perfect and with more time could be refined and much improved, example areas for improvement are;

  • The lip sync isn’t consistently successful for every shot, whilst most work fine there are a couple examples where the sync is very slightly off and this stands out against the more successful clips.
  • The green screen editing isn’t very clean as you can see a green outline still around some shots, as well as areas being cut out that shouldn’t be, hopefully with more practice this is something I can improve on.
  • The transitions aren’t consistent and sometimes the effect will cut the clip short or last too long.
  • Due to the moving cameras or the performers moving too much, sometimes they will be cropped unnaturally on the sides

However, despite these flaws, being able to identify them is still helpful and allows me to make improvement in future tasks. After this first practice with lip sync I have gained valuable experience and have a much better idea of how to work with the program and equipment than before.

Green Screen Studio Filming

To help practice working with green screen and filming facilities our class visited a high quality filming studio. Here, we were demonstrated how the green screen is set up and used, as well as how the different cameras and tripods are set up.

Some of the main points of consideration I took away from this visit were;

  • To consider the spacing and framing when using a green screen, making sure there is sufficient green space around your subject (even if the whole frame isn’t green this can be cropped later in editing)
  • Think about coloured lighting, whilst you may want specific coloured lighting effects for your video you need to take into consideration how this may impact the green, if the colour is too strong it could make the green sheet appear a different colour and cause issues when editing it out later
  • Also in terms of lighting, if using a black screen rather than a green screen (also an available option with this studio) it is advised you only use a simple spotlight in the centre, not allowing light to reach the walls of the room, this means that any background will not be picked up on camera and the black void-like image you want is more easily achieved. Even if you’re worried about the subject seeming a little too dark as a result of this, you can still brighten the image later in editing.

Favourite Music Video from Former Student

Before starting production of my own music video it was important to reflect on previous videos that former students have made, gaining inspiration and getting a better idea of what is achievable within our school.

After looking over a range of music videos, I have found I particularly like this one;

Whilst this video definitely isn’t perfect and has it’s flaws, I still find it one of the most personally engaging videos from the former student videos I’ve seen. As well as the generally impressive special effects created considering this is a student video, I find that the overall energy of the song is conveyed really well though the fast pacing of the cuts, editing to the best, and enthusiasm of the actors, clearly enjoying the action and not holding back when performing (seen best in the close-up performance/dance shots). This energy is also conveyed through the bright vibrant colours in their costumes and make-up and successful fight choreography, presenting the characters as bold individuals and fitting with the fantasy, video-game-like style seen throughout. The even divide of narrative and performance in the video also allows me as a viewer to feel a lot more invested in the song and enjoy the experience much more as I never become bored of what’s on screen.

Detailed Music Video Analysis

From our initial video analysis, we were then given two more videos to analyse in more detail;

Katy Perry – Chained to the Rhythm

The Foo Fighters – The Pretender

From doing this exercise I can now better identify the finer details when analyzing the conventions music videos, the many ways themes can be presented and how lyrics can work side-by-side with visuals in different ways. These are all useful points to recognize when it comes to planning and producing my own video.

Music Video Form & Conventions

As a class we were asked to watch four individual music videos shown to us by our teacher and use them to reflect on the conventions and techniques, such as lip sync and edit-to-the-beat, used in the industry;

[Link to my document]

This allowed us to gain a better understanding of what is conventional, as well as showing the different ways in which lyrics can be presented, whether the video consists more of performance or narrative, and whether the narrative itself is illustrative, amplified or disjunctive, as these can all have an impact on how the video is received as a whole.

Montage

To begin with our video production work we have been tasked with creating a short 30-40 second montage in groups, based around a proverb. My group has chosen to base our montage on the idea of “practice makes perfect”, showing the progression and improvement somebody makes in three different skills with practice. In preparation for creating our montage we planned out our shoot by creating a storyboard, highlighting each key shot and to get a better idea of the chronology of the product. With the three different narratives/skills we used three different colours to distinguish these, with each individual narrative following the simple structure of;

  • Attempt one
  • Failure
  • Attempt two
  • Failure again
  • (Extra training)
  • Attempt three
  • Success

On this storyboard we have also made note of our planned shot types, specifying detail such as being a mid-shot, close-up or long shot, whether we include a pan etc.

Resulting Video:

After shooting, editing and completing the video I can now address some set reflection questions;

  1. Do you think your montage has an impact?Yes, I feel that the clear stories effectively relay the message of Practice makes Perfect and creates the desired motivational impact for the viewer
  2. Do you get a sense of feeling or story / relationship?With the simple and clear narratives and progression the viewer can easily track and follow the stories shown
  3. How does one specified cut create meaning?
    One cut in particular which works well to create meaning is around the 0:48 timestamp when we get a reaction shot after Casey successfully shoots a basketball shoot, clearly showing his contentedness and joy at achieving what he’d been working so hard to do
  4. Is there a sense of progression or are you trying just to reflect an experience?There is a clear sense of progression throughout the video, as each narrative follows a structure of
    1. Established tasks
    2. Failed attempt at task
    3. Continuing to practice task
    4. Success in improving at task
  5. Do you use repetition of some shots? If so, how do they help communicate your idea?We do repeat some visually similar shots, shown at 0:31, emphasizing the repetition of a task that is essential to practice, then further showing the resulting improvement as we see another similar shot later on which shows success
  6. What additional shot would you have liked to get to further communicate the idea?Some additional reaction shots during the process of practicing and failure could be included to further emphasize the change that comes later on

Overall, reflectively this task has helped familiarize me with the whole process of creating a video, including planning, shooting and editing as well as developing skills in working with a team. These are all skills that will be essential to creating a successful music video.