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Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics

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cdagvid
Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 12, 2006 at 9:23:45 pm

I work for the military at an Army training center and do a lot of quick turnaround, motivational, music...or as the army puts it, "Hooah" videos. I'm talking simple cuts, no frills, no MTV-esque type graphics and production, no trying to tell a story or anything like that...just action footage of the soldiers training in the field, usually set to pretty upbeat music.

my question is, what's the norm: cut to the beat or cut with the lyrics? I find myself doing a bit of both most of the time, but I was curious what the consensus was amongst some of you folks out there that do, or have done the real thing.




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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 13, 2006 at 2:43:48 am

Great question. As with any edit session, I try my best to let the content lead the edit. In other words, you want your "style of cutting" to match the feel that you want the viewers to walk away with.

If you want the audience to get energized and excited, you


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Mark Suszko
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 13, 2006 at 3:30:25 pm

Sometimes the best thing is not to cut on the exact beat, but cut so the ACTION in the SHOT "hits" on the beat. In your case, say it's footage of two trainees in boot camp duking it out with those padded sticks. You want the visually exciting impact of the blow to coincide with a beat or better, a stronger part of the track like a cymbal crash, a drum fill, something like that. Set up a payoff visually and audibly.

Cutting everything on the beat all the way thru makes it metronomic and overly predictable.


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Charlie King
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 13, 2006 at 4:06:19 pm

There you go. They both said exactly what I would have said, so now you have three people saying, the beat of the music and the accents of the music and the feel of the music should drive you, but not toward editing on the beat. Use the music to drive your video but let your video give forth it's own atmosphere with the music as it's punctuation.

Charlie


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mark harvey
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 14, 2006 at 2:35:58 am

I think that cutting to the beat is most effective when it is unpredictable, as other posters pointed out.

I cut sports promos. When i first started cutting sports promos, everythin went to the beat. It got boring real fast. I like to cut on a big beat, but then use the underlying beats to break it up. I will also use a big drum crash or the like for an action, such as a hockey hit. I also like to leave some room for sound design. Sometimes I will listen to the music and place the sound (again hockey hit as an example) and use the natural sound as an offbeat. This allows me to make the action more enjoyable and less predictable.

Cutting to lyrics is hard, if the material is not portraying the lyrics.

I really like to use jump cuts, freeze frames, flashes, and small DVE moves (cuts that may have a zoom applied) to bring the spot to a more musical level.

Mark


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Mike Cohen
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 16, 2006 at 3:24:51 pm

Try cutting a piece without music, then find some music you like and make it fit by either slowing down some shots or lengthening or trimming to fit the music track. As the others have said, a few cuts on the beat at the beginning and a key transition points are good, but not to be used every time.

If you have a track with the occasional drum fill or guitar riff, try cutting to that, with natural transitions in between.

I know you said these are quick turnaround, but you could do a few easy effects to hit on the occasional beat, such as freeze and isolate a person doing something, like jumping over a log or whatever.

Sounds like fun.

Mike


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Mark Suszko
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 16, 2006 at 4:54:05 pm

Watch THIS!

http://www.zappinternet.com/index.php?video=fodCyoDmiV

This guy should work for Gondry! That's an insane amount of work if truly done the old-school, two frames at a time by hand. Even on an NLE.


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Steven L. Gotz
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 17, 2006 at 12:08:55 am

Wow! That was amazing. He might not be able to play, but he certainly has an ear for it.

Steven
http://www.stevengotz.com


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Chaz Shukat
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 17, 2006 at 3:56:13 am

Wow! I am a drummer and I can't play that. And I thought I was a professional editor, but now I feel like an ameteur. That was incredible. I don't know, even as a drummer, if I could edit that. He certainly has the rhythm of a drummer and a damn fine piano player too. Kudo's, 2 thumbs up and a 10 from the Olympic judges.

Chaz S.


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cdagvid
Re: Music Videos: edit to the beat or lyrics
on Nov 18, 2006 at 12:45:38 am

Thanks for the insight and wisdom guys-- it's much appreciated.

We shoot a lot of action, fake war type stuff- with explosions, lots of pyro, kicking in doors, helicopters, etc.; so I always have wonderful footage to work with. I do find myself cutting not only on the beats, but, for instance, on a rack focus and other natural transitions to subtle nuances in the music. But I do love to sync a good explosion or apex of a good action shot with a big beat or change in the music, like when the chorus kicks in. I also have my guys (we have 22 shooters in our dept) get a lot of close ups and face shots of the soldiers- those always play well to the slower sections of the pieces we edit to. There's nothing like a good close up face shot of a worn out looking soldier, holding-- then turning toward the camera, pouring rain shot with high shutter speed dripping off his face and about a 75% motion effect used on the shot...those types of shots are great to edit with and really help establish the feel I look for most of the time in the videos we edit.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice. You guys really gave me some things to think about that I can also pass along to my asst. editor to keep us out of the "cutting to the beat" rut. We usually have about a week to compile footage as in comes in from the field during the training cycles, then only a day or two to edit around a dozen 3-5 min. music videos. After doing this for almost three years, recently things have started to feel cookie cutter-ish...if that makes any sense.



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John A. Calhoun
How many of us are drummers?
on Dec 27, 2006 at 5:09:19 pm

Ya know, I heard years ago, that there are a high percentage of editors who happen to be drummers. I'd always wanted to play since I was young, but didn't actually start playing till I was 40. We all know that editing requires a keen sense of rhythm; so, how many here hit the skins?


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Rich Rubasch
Re: How many of us are drummers?
on Dec 28, 2006 at 2:54:27 am

I started actually drumming at 42. Been "playing" a long long time. I edit and build animations. My co-worker is also a drummer and an editor and motion graphics guy. Works out great. Our rythms are different, but we both do commendable work. I personally thing being any kind of musician can help the art of editing. Or at least be able to follow your own drummer!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: How many of us are drummers?
on Jan 1, 2007 at 1:53:39 am

I am, and my guess is that at least 75% of the "technical" folks I work with in the office play at least one musical instrument. There's at least four people in my small group who have been paid to play drums at some point in their career... and there's at least one who has been paid to STOP playing drums. ;-0

All you editors out there... even if you don't play drums live, I'll bet you'd be better than most at programming a drum machine and making it sound like a good drummer.





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