Archive for the 'music video' Category

My Cardinal Rules For Producing a Music Video

December 11, 2006

I have to admit that I am guilty of annoying people when they are trying to watch MTV. When I tell them what I think of the editing of the video that they are enjoying. I frequently say something like “You know, if that video were cut more on the beat it would work so much better.”

When I’m not bothering others I usually tap the beat out myself, and decide where I would cut it, if I were the editor. So I decided to write about this topic if for no other reason to simply help me organise my thoughts.

I genuinely believe most music videos that are being produced could profit from some better editing. For example, the artist could be walking along, but in perfect rhythm to the music. With the proper coverage and the director and artist paying close attention to the rhythm of the music this is the kind of raw material the video editors need to really work his or her magic.

Even less than perfect footage can be transformed into dynamic, visually charged material for the video that might have otherwise ended up on the “cutting room floor.”

The video above is brilliant example of both sides of the equation. It is one of my all time favourite songs, but it was not until yesterday that I saw the music video on YouTube. The song is happy, the beat is lively and the colours used in the video are vivid. Not only is the video’s cinematography exciting but the editing is, for the most part, quite good. There are several points in this video where the editing is not good and is not executed directly on time.  You can not only tap your foot to the beat of the song and to the beat of the cuts the editor executed. The activities and movement of the characters in the video are enhanced by the precision editing making this a truly excellent peice.

There are a few cardinal rules that I use when editing video footage to music, including but limited to:

  • Create Entertaining and Engaging Visuals
  • Fast cutting, But not too fast that becomes distracting.
  • Cut the video to music, not vice versa.
  • The use “tap your foot” method I described above

Watch the music video above with a director’s eye and you will notice everything I am describing. Start tapping your foot on the first beat of the song and watch the visuals closely. In the first few cuts, watch the singer tapping the bar and the raising of the ketchup bottle, even the sweeping brush is going with the beat. The perfectly timed editing occurs throughout the song. Particularly note its use when the sink is spewing water towards the end, the action in the video is ON the beat.

To a music video editor, the concept of rhythmic editing should be the most obvious and important factor. But for those who “don’t get it”, there is still hope! I am no expert at producing music videos, but I have directed, produced and edited a few and I always try to follow the “rules of rhythm” when editing music videos.

I owe a lot of my understanding of rhythm and “editing on the beat” to my studies of the record spots produced by my friend Joe Klein. His tutelage has helped me grasp some of the fundamentals of editing audio and I was able to carry them over to my video editing endeavors. If you have a music video project that you are working on and have found this useful, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.


A Little Ditty for Ebayers to Keep In Mind

November 7, 2006

Ebay LogoI just found this great video up on YouTube from Weird Al Yankovic called, “Ebay.”

It chronicles the average user of eBay’s experiences with the somewhat shifty sellers you sometimes find on the popular online auction site. Weird Al can pull this off because he is so incredibly musical with his voice. Hell, this is better than the original Back Street Boys song.

It would seem that a lot of different people have been making their versions of this song with video, with one thing in common, they use the same imagery. I think I am actually going to have a go with this one and actually put one of these together myself. Need to have a hunt for the song, should I go for it on iTunes? Check out the video (the song) below!

We Are the World – Still Alive and Kicking!

October 22, 2006

I have liked this song since I discovered the American USA for Africa, We Are the World from the early 80’s a few months ago. I was looking for all the things with Lionel Richie on YouTube and came across the classic video. The original was of course inspired by Bob Geldoff’s “Do they know It’s Christmas?”

I was searching for more people singing “We are the World” tonight when I came across something I didn’t expect. It has been sung in other languages around the world, most notably Chinese and Cantonese. I watched both the Chinese and Cantonese versions and because I know the English lyrics I knew what they were saying. They also appear to be adhering to the original video with painstaking attention to detail. They even went as far to have a person who appears to be blind as they are using a brail card singing, just like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder in the original.

I really like how with the video I have linked to here the producers have taken care to deliver the right feel for the video while moving forward with the production and incorporating a rapper into the lyrics, how cool is that!? (It should be noted that I do not like rap as a genre in music, but I understand that it has a place in music today and that is what it has been incorperated into the song)

I have a lot of Japanese music in my collection so it is interesting to hear some other Asian music and know what they are saying. Check this video out, and if you like it, hit YouTube and hear the English, and Chinese versions!