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Looking for Music Video Editing tips.

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Gideon Battis
Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 20, 2013 at 9:28:56 am

So i don't have alot of experience editing music videos and I am in fact going to be filming and editing my first music video ever here in the next two weeks. The main vocalist gave me the run down of how he wants it to be and the feel he is going for is more of a live music video where I will be recording them playing the song multiple times and getting a million different shots and angles to put together in Premier Pro. My main question is what tips would anyone be willing to share so during the editing the video doesn't turn into a just a rapid fire succession of different shots.





I am filming Thursday so I have time to adjust what shots I get before then. I am planning on trying to go for each shot giving me about 30 seconds so i have plenty of left over footage in case some shots don't work out and then I was planning to keep about 7 seconds of each when I actually edit it together but again i don't have any experience in Music Video editing. Most of what i know was from High School video production where I worked on a news show.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 21, 2013 at 5:15:16 am

You don't say how many cameras you have for this. Two at least would be good If all you have is one, what I'd do is shoot the performance at least three to five times, the first take is likely yo be the worst, so shoot a locked-off wide cover shot for the first take, as the distance makes it harder to see errors. The next take should be the lead vocal, and each subsequent take, another band member, ending with the drummer. This approach give the maximum flexibility, though you should shoot at least one more take where you just walk all around close-up shooting singles and doubles and triples of them from various angles.

Are they really playing live each time, or are they lip-synching to a pre-recorded track, because that's the more conventional approach and it keeps things more synched-up and consistent, take to take. If they are live, asking for five or more takes can be quite wearing, so after the master shot, the second one should be the lead vocal, the third take, walk the camera around and shoot details like choruses, drum fills, and odd angles/ multiple group shots.


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Gideon Battis
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 21, 2013 at 8:21:34 pm

Fortunately I will be having two cameras for the shooting! What I did was to get a few different shots is I broke it down into a few different sections that we will run through about 3 or four times to get the different shots. For the lip syncing, we are going to behaving the song playing from speakers while they play along to it so that they can match it and also allows for easier sync in post. Thanks for the tips though!

What would you recommend for the length of each clip though? I don't want the video to seem like just a mash up of quick shots... That was the main issue I had.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 22, 2013 at 12:46:58 am

Gideon, you can't cut music video using an egg timer. You have to *feel* it. But a basic approach to one style of many, is to think of the song performance as a document, the stanzas and chorus as paragraphs, and you want to use the jarring dislocations of a cut to happen on a beat that adds "punctuation" to the thought. Choise of framing compartmentalizes sections.

Example: just picking a random pop song like Rolling Stone's "Let's Spend the Night Together". This is just one way to cut it:

Closeup, piano keys. Single shot Charlie Watts as the drums fall in. Wide shot as instrumental intro builds.
Medium shot, Mick: Don't you worry 'bout what's on your mind (Oh my)
Tight CU Mick: I'm in no hurry I can take my time (Oh my)
Cut to Wide shot: I'm going red and my tongue's getting tied Cut to CU Keith: (tongues's getting tied)
Back to Wide shot, re-framed: I'm off my head and my mouth's getting dry.
I'm high, But I try, try, try (Oh my)
Close Up Mick: Let's spend the night together
Now I need you more than ever
Three-shot Mick Keith, Ronny: Let's spend the night together now

(Charlie Watts on the break)
Mick single again: I feel so strong that I can't disguise (oh my)
Cut to 2-shot, Ronnie and Keith: Let's spend the night together
Mick, Keith, Ron: But I just can't apologize (oh no)
Let's spend the night together
Mick, Medium: Don't hang me up just to let me down (don't let me down)
Mick Closeup from side angle: We could have fun just groovin' around around and around
Reverse angle view, Keith looking to Mick, Mick looks at Ron and Charlie" Let's spend the night together
Now I need you more than ever
(Single shot, Charlie, fill on drums)
Mick and Ron, 2-shot: Let's spend the night together
Wide shot: Let's spend the night together
Now I need you more than ever
Mick, single medium: You know I'm smiling baby (flash cut to Charlie on the downbeat)
Mick, Medium, from the front: You need some guiding baby
Now I need you more than ever
Mick and Keith: Let's spend the night together
Let's spend the night together now

CU Mick: This doesn't happen to me ev'ryday (oh my)
Let's spend the night together
No excuses offered anyway (oh my)
RON and Keith: Let's spend the night together
I'll satisfy your every need (every need)
3-shot,Mick to Keith and Ron who are side by side now: And I now know you will satisfy me
Mick, single medium: Let's spend the night together
Mick, XCU: Now I need you more than ever
WIde shot: Let's spend the night together now




That's a fairly kinetic style of cutting, and it works okay, but always cutting exactly on the beat can get dull, as does just automatically changing the shot every two lines of lyric. This is where you can experiment by adding overlapping cuts, called "l=cuts" or "J-cuts", where the sound changes before the picture, or vice-versa. Or you could cut to details like guitar fingers or drumming closeups, or a crowd reacting. Or footage from somewhere else. Jib, dolly, or slider moves add a lot. Part of "montage theory" is that Adding together shot A+B+C= a new meaning, different from any of those components individually. Tell a story, even without narrative material like stock footage, you can cut the shots of the members playing to show how the focus travels along and around and back to the lead singer.


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Richard Herd
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 21, 2013 at 11:02:57 pm

Whoa. Hope I'm not too late, since it's Thursday.

That'll be really hard to edit because live recording vary from take to take. Usually when you make a music video, the band plays to a pre-recorded track of the song, they lip sync. Then the edit will always be in sync from shot to shot, take to take.

If they want a live feel, then they have to perform it once perfectly and you have to film it once perfectly. Since they want a film language that is kinetic, you need many cameras.

There's some cheats here and there, though. Film the kinetic thing a few times. Then film it again but this time use lots of close ups -- guitar hands, drums, singer on the high notes, etc. and use those as cutaways/insert shots. They probably won't be in sync with the main live track, but you'll be able to slip and slide pretty closely, and you can use speed ramps for an effect.


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Juris Eksts
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 22, 2013 at 2:19:53 pm

Hi Gideon,
Mark says it right, (he's always so very detailed that I don't know how he gets the time).
Sensitivity to the music is the main thing, if the track is slow, probably cut slow, if it's very fast and beaty, cut fast.
Don't always cut on the beat, but for instance on the drums, cut just before the beat so you see the drumstick hit on the beat.
Always cut to add some more information to the story, never cut because it's time to change shots.
If you imagine watching the band live, think of what you want to be watching, where your focus is at any one time. If the singer is not singing, you don't want to be watching him/her if there's a guitar riff going on, you want to see the guitarist or a CU of the fingers on the guitar.
Going back on when the singer isn't singing, cut to them if there's an interesting reaction to something else going on, a smile, a clap or whatever.
React to things going on in front of you, and show it to us, the viewer, show us the personality of the band.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 22, 2013 at 3:05:51 pm

Mark says it right, (he's always so very detailed that I don't know how he gets the time).


That's because Mark is actually a composite character, written and curated online by a team of three writer/producers.


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Gideon Battis
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 25, 2013 at 8:17:29 am

So the Mark is a lie?!?!? Mind = Blown.

On a more serious note, thank you all for your tips it is really appreciated!

Shoot went well although next time I will require at least a couple hours instead of the hour and a fifteen minutes I ended up having. Started editing tonight and I understand more what you guys mean about feeling the music instead of planning it out! It is coming together quite nicely although some of the shots are rough since I generally only have one or two shots to choose from for each angle.

But again thank you all for your advice!


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Bill Davis
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Nov 27, 2013 at 10:42:22 pm

Hopefully, somebody gave you the biggest tip early.

GET A DEPOSIT up front. As big as you can!

I suspect that music video as a genre is way up on the list of things that take a huge amount of time and effort to do well - but end up with the creators getting stiffed an obscene percentage of the time.

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Joseph Owens
Re: Looking for Music Video Editing tips.
on Feb 13, 2014 at 6:17:57 pm

[Bill Davis] "GET A DEPOSIT up front. As big as you can!"

The day has come when I agree with something Bill has written.

I would add that most of the time, that deposit will be the last money you see from that client.
And what will "lose" you that client is your annoying insistence on getting paid.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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