Friday, 19 June 2009

--- As I Destruct + Ultraviolet ---

Video Editing: 3 music videos - a retrospective (Part 1 of 3)

--- Project Info ---
Track Title: As I Destruct
Artist: Threat Signal
Film: Ultraviolet (2006)
Completion Date: July 2007


My first go at video editing proper. The project started out after I watched the film Ultraviolet, directed by Kurt Wimmer (of Equilibrium fame) and starring Milla Jovovich, and was kind of annoyed at how although visually very striking, the film was let down by hammy acting, underdeveloped plot structure and characters and an over reliance on CG.

Although the film was released in the UK, not many people know about it due to its limited success. So I had an idea of 'what if I could make a music video using Ultraviolet and make it look Ultra-cool'? After all, the action scenes were all there - I could just remove them from the context of the film and create my own storyline.
So that was the basic premise: for people to watch it and go "wow- that film looks cool, I wanna check it out", even though the actual film was not.

Threat Signal are a small metalcore band from the US and I knew that I wanted to use one of their tracks for this video due to their songs being both hard and melodically epic at the same time. I picked As I Destruct as I already had in mind which scenes would go with which parts of the song - such as the zoom and slice intro, the getting dressed scene and the guitar solo bullet dodging scene.
The rest of it, I pretty much did as I went along after importing many scenes into iMovie, many of which I didn't end up using.

There are some bits of the video that are still scrappy but on the whole I am very pleased with the result as it was my first effort and I managed to communicate many of my ideas well. The video has over 70,000 views on youtube (at time of writing this) which probably has to do with Threat Signal being a small band and anyone looking for videos on them will most likely run into this.

Some of my favourite bits are:

- The zoom onto the roof top at the very beginning and the guard falling on beat.

- The getting dressed scene soon after that. Sets the tone well and shows that Milla means business.

- The first fight scene where she is smashing the guard's armour - interesting because the actual sound from the film is present here and you can hear the smashing sound at times.

- The injecting and screaming scene - although these are actually two different scenes in the movie (oh the wonder of editing...)

- The bike sliding on the lyric '...tiiiiiime to gooooooo...' and the following rooftop shooting scene. My favourite shot in the entire movie is of Milla standing on the roof and 'gun-fu' shooting the guard below her.

- The bullet dodging guitar solo scene. Fits so well with the music - although the sequence did need considerable editing to make it so. If I could change anything about this scene however, I would make a smoother transition into the beginning of the scene.

- The body scan scene with cut-aways - I dont know quite why but the 'triumphant' feeling always gets me here.

So on the whole I am happy with the end result as I achieved what I set out to do - create a video that makes a not so cool film into one that looks very cool.
I'm also proud of the fact that I managed to create a slightly different narrative in my video than that of the film. Something which is returned to in my later videos.

Here is the video below:

Coming next:

The Sacrilegious Scorn + Vampire Hunter D
Video Editing: 3 music videos - a retrospective (Part 2 of 3)

Video Editing: 3 music videos - a retrospective

Last week, I completed work on my third video editing music video project.
'What in the hell is one of thems?' - I hear you clamour out in want of an explanation.

Well, settle down and let me tell you...

I love music.
I love films.
Music videos are kind of cool, especially the ones which successfully manage to convey the passion and emotion of the music; Ones that tell a story and can communicate themes and ideas without having to expressing them in words.

I've always loved the idea of telling a story to music and since I usually lack the resources and patience to film things myself, what better way to make a music video that to edit an existing work?

So with that idea in mind, I set about attempting to make a music video using a 700MB .avi DVDrip file of a film, an .mp3 and iMovie HD.

It turns out there are actually hundreds, if not thousands of these kind of (shudder) 'fan made' music videos out there on youtube. I have watched a few but grew bored and frustrated with the majority of them.
Many of these were simply just made up of whole scenes or sequences from the film cut together with no thought to story, coherence, musicality, etc...

So whenever I set out to edit a video I keep in mind the following:

1) Does the chosen music marry itself to the chosen film? Not just in terms of style but also thematically - I also tend to pick music and imagery that builds and packs an emotional punch.

Choice of film - I try to use films that aren't too well known, but also not so obscure so that people can never track the original down. Again, for me, the film has to have parts that move me to a certain degree or feature striking imagery that I think will go well to music.
Personally, I don't think that the choice of film matters as much as the choice of music for the simple reason that the film footage is going to be edited and so you can mould it largely to your liking. A good example of this is my first video of Ultraviolet. But more on that later.

Choice of music - More important than choice of film in my opinion, for the simple reason that the music is not edited.
Therefore, it already has its own emotional beats, lulls and climaxes and so on, and it is up to me to fit the images to the music in a pleasing way.

2) What story do i want to tell? A rookie error in making a video is to just pick the 'best bits' of the film, or as they are known in the industry: the 'money shots'.
Always at the forefront of my mind is the importance to tell a coherent story, one whose emotional beats are inextricably tied to the music and not just a random collage of images taken from the film because they 'look cool'.
William Goldman says that in film-making you must "kill your babies" - in other words the spine of the story you are telling is paramount. In this case, even if you really want to put something into the video (for example a cool action sequence), if it doesn't make sense in terms of the overall story you want to tell - you have to get rid of it - you have to kill your baby...

For each of the 3 video editing projects i have undertaken so far, I have approached them with slightly different aims in mind.

Here are the three projects in order of completion with some notes on each, as well as a link to the video itself. I will be writing about each in a different post.

1) As I Destruct + Ultraviolet

2) The Sacrilegious Scorn + Vampire Hunter D

3) The Truth of Edge + Vexille

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Its been a long time coming...

Yes it has been - but I've finally gotten around to starting it.

So this is the grand unveiling of Kinsta presents... a place where I can talk about my ongoing and recently completed projects.

The purpose?

Hopefully, to keep interested parties updated on forthcoming projects as well as breaking down some of my finished items with an explanation of the hows and whys and wherefores. You may be enlightened - you never know.

Mainly, however, this is for me. To get my thoughts out of my head and into writing. A central location for my creative output other than my cerebral cortex. The confines of this bubbling vat can be somewhat claustrophobic at times and I need room to vent.

Anyway, enough of this babble. Move on...