Friday, 19 June 2009

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

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