364MC: – Idea for my portfolio

As I intend for my portfolio to be used regularly and be the most pivotal tool in my freelance career after university, I have decided that I want to create a Wix website which will be my platform for my own professional identity as an editor for my business as well as be a place to host all of the content I have work on in the past. Although I already have my Vimeo page, which I will continue to also post my content to, a website is a lot more professional and is a link that will be exclusive to me and something I can print on business cards and distribute to all future contacts I work with.

My website will contain a showreel on the home page so that someone new to the site can immediately see a short collection of the material I’ve created/worked on and get an impression of my work. From here I also include a short paragraph about myself in the form of a personal statement. This will have to include my past history with media and projects and types of material I have edited as well as my interests so that a client can get a sense of my personality and if they want to work with me. The bulk of my website will host a collection of all the best work I’ve edited and will show work from many different styles, such as short film, documentary, music videos and adverts/promos. This will show I can apply myself to a diverse range of projects and will thus expand my chance of bringing in many people I can work for. Finally, my page will have to focus on a contact page and how someone can get in touch with me if they are interested in me editing a project.

I believe that a website for my portfolio is by far the most beneficial way to broadcast myself and get myself into the public eye of media professionals. This will also serve as the basis for my business and once I distribute the site around will hopefully draw a lot of contacts in once my site gains a lot more notice.

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361MC: – FMP Trailer

As I did not produce any kind of short film or documentary, the prospect of producing a trailer for all three of music videos which had no narrative in the conventional sense initially seemed like an impossible task. Whilst film trailers are often the norm in the mainstream, I can honestly say I have never seen a trailer specifically for a music video. Showing any behind the scenes footage would also kind of give the wrong impression as a trailer is meant to sell the finished product. Film trailers don’t market themselves by showing behind the scenes footage as part of the physical trailer, but may choose to do so alongside theatrical trailers or in the lead up to the film’s release. Music videos are very different. They tend to be filmed in secret or at least with a few set images taken by cast, crew or the artist or band which is often publicised on their individual websites.

The video I based most of my inspiration on was a trailer for the Download Festival 2012 advertising Metallica & Black Sabbath. I felt this was an effective trailer as it managed to generate hype at the beginning of the trailer for the bands to appear just as a person in the actual crowd would be feeling. This was a feeling I wanted to evoke in my trailer by building up excitement at the beginning of the video, building to a powerful finale where the music builds with an abrupt finish; ensuring that the viewer got every piece of information that was necessary but still leaving them with the urge to watch the three music videos in their entirety.

Another thing that was important to me was to ensure that the audience were aware from the first couple of seconds of the trailer what my FMP was about and the tone that they could expect. I drew inspiration from the font styles and grainy image as well as the shaking effect, as I feel this worked well in the trailer for Download and created a sense of restlessness and urgency which was a key feeling I wanted to instil in the viewer. I also let 10 seconds of each video play to let the viewer get a sense of the genre of the song and the visual style of the video, but being sure not to reveal too much; thus allowing them to eventually check out the full length versions of the videos if they choose to.

The 1 minute trailer for my FMP can be seen below:

 

361MC: – Juliet – Borderline editing process & Reflection

The editing process for Juliet was very much a combination of the two processes of editing I had used previously in both Little Rag Doll and Rat Bastard. For the small narrative sections that open and close the video, I created an assembly cut in order to visualise and play around with the order of shots as well as get a sense of where I needed the narrative to end and the band section to begin. The entire process of editing was very different to my other two videos as well. Whereas I had a lot of time to edit the previous two, as I had to delay the shoot for Juliet due to kit being fully booked, it was already pushing my video very close to deadline for submission.

The video took me two days to completely finish editing in order to send it to Borderline for feedback. When I had the assembly cuts for each end of the narrative in place and I had trimmed them to the correct timings, I began prepping the rest of the video. In order to finish this video faster, I synced every single clip I had filmed in time with the song and stacked them each on top of each other on the timeline. From here, it was just a case of deciding which band member I wanted to focus on and for how long and applying cuts to each layer of the timeline.

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In hindsight, this process worked incredibly well although there was still an extensive period of fine-tuning particular clips if I wasn’t happy with how they turned out or if I had t0 search through my collection of clips to find another shot to substitute for another. This is also a process of editing that I had tried with the previous videos but one that proved too troublesome to work with due to the band not performing the song to the MP3 version of the song, and as such, deviating from the timing of the mastered track in each of their takes. I made it a point that Borderline played along to the MP3 of their track so that time was kept throughout all of the takes, which made the editing a whole lot easier which allowed me a two-day turnaround. After I had finished the video, I immediately sent it to the band and they were all incredibly happy with it and excited due to having their first music video ever released on their Facebook page.

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Upon reflection of my finished music video, I believe it was very much a successful considering what it set out to be and all of the problems I went through during the lead up to the shoot. I believe that the look of this particular video (maybe with exception to the narrative section of the video) is probably the most visually professional due to the added boost in equipment on stage with the smoke machine and lights, which gives it a very contemporary feel. The song itself also seems to be a lot superior in audio quality which further adds to the professional look and feel of the video as a whole. I am however not entirely happy with how some of the shots during the narrative have turned out and feel very amateur, but on the other hand, I feel they are needed to break the video up and not to be entirely derivative of my previous music video. The shoot and editing process for Borderline by far was the most stress-free and I was able to group all of the skills and development I had acquired since beginning in January. I believe this marked the point where I felt like a true media producer and editor; filming and finalising physical projects I could then present to clients for their own distribution on social media networks and gain a following.

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361MC: – Borderline music video shoot

Unlike my previous two music video shoots, this time I was completely prepared in both knowing what the location we’d be filming in was like and knowing the song well. I had also researched music videos in order to look at lighting and stage effects so that I was aware of how particular shots can be framed and made to look cinematic.

Although due to time constraints and problems with booking equipment I had decided against filming any kind of narrative and would, like Bad Mouth Men’s music video, keep it focussed as a band performance, I ultimately chose to film a very small narrative on the day of the shoot which would bookended the beginning and end of the video in order to add a little variety. The narrative consisted of the lead singer, Alex, walking into the room with a longing to be on stage and perform. As she steps onto the stage and readies herself to sing, the camera spins 360 degrees and the band have appeared on stage. At the end it is revealed that she was on her own on the stage the whole time; finally becoming confident of her musical ability. Although a simple narrative that was thought up on the day of the shoot, I feel that it served the video well and built on from my ability that I developed in the previous two music video shoots of thinking of shot ideas on the fly.

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This video also saw me have to use an entire new crew as my previous two camera operators where unable to make the date of shoot due to getting ready for a trip to Moscow the following day. Although it was fairly short notice, I managed to find three other people to help me for the Borderline shoot. Considering none of them had ever worked on music videos in the past, they all managed to apply themselves incredibly well and followed every direction as well as taking their own initiative.

IMG_1402As the stage was quite small in the first place, with five musicians, instruments and equipment also populating the stage, it was incredibly difficult to achieve any shots taken from the actual stage itself, and so most had to be taken very close to the front of the stage or from the sidelines. Whilst this still achieved some nice shots, in hindsight, I wish we had have been able to achieve some tighter shots as I had managed for Bad Mouth Men’s video. One thing that did work particularly nicely though was the lighting. The stage itself was very dark without the stage lights, and I think this a particular fault with some of the narrative shots at the beginning as they look much less cinematic with pretty dull colouring. Once the musicians were playing with the sound-sensitive lights, the cameras seemed to dazzle which allowed us to get by without even using the dedo lights. The fog machine also allowed us to achieve some very nice blends of lighting which gave the video a very distinctive look from my other two projects.

Overall, this was probably the most smooth running day of shooting that I have been on since I started my FMP. The skills and practices I had learnt from the past two music videos greatly influenced my directing abilities and camera work and allowed me to put together a much better system for which shots to film. It was a shame I could not have booked kit out earlier to film a full length narrative like Little Rag Doll, but I believe we made the best of the situation and circumstances that we could.

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361MC: – Problems with Borderline schedule and crew & Research for Borderline music video

I had met Borderline back in December and had them on board for a music video for an end of March shoot date. When I had my first discussion with them, they still had yet to learn the song (which was one of the first songs the band had ever written when they had a mostly different lineup many years ago) and record it in a studio. Because the band needed this extra time, I gave them until the end of March to be ready to film with their song Juliet and Borderline would take the place as the third and final music video I would have to film.

Although the schedule for filming all of the music videos was moving along nicely and on time, there was a problem with booking kit out for the dates I required for Borderline’s music video. Although I went to book the equipment out a month before I needed it at the end of February, all kit was booked out for the forseeable future until Friday 25th April. Realising that my deadline would not be far off that date and knowing how long it takes to perfect a music video in the editing process, I was incredibly nervous that I would not have the project finished in time, or at least to a high standard. As this was the only date for kit, I confirmed the booking of the kit and told my team the weekend we would have to film on, with the band only available to film on Sunday 27th April.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the end of my problems. Sarah and Guy, who were my camera operators for the other two music videos would not be able to make this date due to them having to get ready for a trip to Moscow the following day. With limited time left, I turned to my classmates in order to find three other camera operators (as I would be using four cameras for this final shoot) and luckily managed to find three despite it being short notice. (Tom Woods, Sarah Matthews and Ant Gagliano)

Due to kit being fully booked out and the limited time left before the deadline, I knew that any chance to organise any kind of narrative segment for the video as well as a location and an actress to play the character of the title of the song, Juliet, would be impossible and end up incredibly rushed. As such, I decided that the final video I make simply had to be another band focussed video. Borderline had confirmed a venue for us to film the video at, which would be on a stage in a local club but also had access to colourful sound-sensitive lighting equipment as well as a smoke machine. Although the video would have no prominent narrative such as Little Rag Doll, at the news of the new equipment, I took this as a chance to develop and improve upon the skills and principles I used in the Bad Mouth Men shoot. Borderline are also the largest band out of all three bands I’ve had to film which means that I would have to focus on each of them equally and requiring more skill to think of new and interesting shots; both due to the added members and a new instrument, as well as to take advantage of the stage environment and lighting.

Although not of the same genre, my research for this particular video consisted of watching music videos (mostly heavy metal and glam metal) of the 1980s in order to see what kind of shots were common on a stage environment with lighting and smoke machines. This research also would help me see how certain shots may turn out like and what effect the smoke/light combination created visually.

What I noticed most of all from Grim Reaper’s See You In Hell music video is how the light is reflected through the smoke on stage to create various different shades and temperatures of light. As the smoke builds, the colours become very muted due to the smoke being so dense for the light to effectively blend through. When the smoke is given time to settle, the lighting comes to the forefront and can create some very nice shades which give the visuals a big boost and enhance the video greatly.

Lighting has been something that has been somewhat lacking in my previous two videos and has always been a typically 3 light set up. By filming a band on stage with stage-lighting and effects, it will enable me to develop a skill I have often overlooked and test my ability to angle a particular shot that not only shows the band themselves in a visually interesting way, but one that also takes advantage of all of the stage-effects and lighting. I feel that because of the location we have and the equipment on offer to us, Borderline’s music video for Juliet could turn out to be the most professional looking video of the three that I produce.

Unknown. 2013. Grim Reaper – See You In Hell [HD]. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=sJgv-qBBT3Y %5BAccessed: 25 April 2014].

361MC: – Editing process for Rat Bastard & Reflection

Without a shot plan for the Bad Mouth Men music video, it offered me a lot more freedom in the editing stage unlike the Little Rag Doll video which had a set narrative and was quite restricting in terms of where I could take the video. With the song now recorded, I could begin the editing process. My point of reference visually for the video was that of 1970s punk rock videos as this is what I thought tonally matched Rat Bastard. The song differed from this genre, however, in terms of its comedic elements and the pace of the song.

As the pace of the song is a lot more frantic and manic than most punk songs I came across, I decided to make the video just the same. I edited the first verse of the video in such a way that it matches the detached and fragmented lyrics of the opening line which really allows for a great visual pairing between the video and the song and really brings the music more to life. In my previous music video of Little Rag Doll, the only transitions I used were cross fades in order to bring out some of the softer moments of the song. As Rat Bastard is a particularly loud and heavy song, no such transitions were used and the only effects that were used (outside of colour correction) were ‘Earthquake’ filters which I added to various moments of the video when the band play a chord which gave those particular shots a lot more power and a real kinetic feel for the viewer.

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Building on from my previous editing process of Little Rag Doll, balancing the screen time for each member of the band was key and was something I felt I was able to achieve to a greater effect this time around, especially considering the video was centred around the band and their antics and mannerisms. Each member seemed to have certain key moments of the song where they had their time to shine and so this is something I wanted to get across in the video which I believe I was able to achieve.

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Although I said that I would continue to use the editing process of first creating an assembly cut, a rough cut and lastly a final-cut, I decided to go straight to the final-cut stage this timedue to there being no narrative footage and it being a collection of different shots of the band. I feel that had I have followed the regular principles of editing in this instance, it would have caused more confusion and made the timeline incredibly convoluted and impossible to work with. Whilst the final-cut was still a challenge to achieve and a slow process, it was much easier than had I have used typical industry practice for this video.

After the video was finished, I sent it to the band and they were immediately happy with it; requiring no changes whatsoever and published it immediately to their Facebook page, which generated some nice praise once again:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bad-Mouth-Men/361267420588798?fref=ts

Upon reflection, I believe that this video certainly achieved what I set out to do. It of course will never reach the level of professionalism in mainstream music videos due to budget limitations and kit that pales in comparison to industry standard music video equipment, but in terms of an amateur music video for a band I think that the video itself is very good. It showcases the band in a fast, frantic and energetic way, it shows each band member’s quirky personalities as they perform and it also serves as a modern take on what punk videos from the 1970s looked like which is precisely what I set out to emulate.

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361MC: – Final draft of Little Rag Doll music video, analysing my work & distribution

Above is the second and final draft of the music video for Little Rag Doll by Six Broken Sticks. I have added a disclaimer at the start of the video for the level of violence which was requested to be added by my tutor and I have also tightened up a few shots as per the band’s recommendations. I believe that this serves as a much more professional video as the last draft as the disclaimer shows a level of professionalism and practice that is used in mainstream music videos.

When looking at the video and analysing it, I have to ask the question as to whether it accomplishes what I originally set out do to and in what ways does it compare to both professional and amateur music videos in the same field of production. First off, any music video’s goal is to promote the band and the song and in this instance I feel that my music video has been a success. The band uploaded the video to Youtube on April 25th which has reached over 1000 views in the last 5 days as well as submitting the video onto BlankTV, which is another platform to submit music and videos, as well as LastFM.

http://www.last.fm/music/Six+Broken+Sticks

Six Broken Sticks also helped generate hype on their own Facebook page by releasing screenshots of the video a couple of weeks before the video was posted which allowed enabled a great amount of interest from their existing fans. Once the video was posted, the band re-published the video every few days incase any of their fans had missed it. On their latest re-posting there have also been fans asking when their next music video will be released, therefore showing that my music video has sparked a huge demand for this visual medium of their music in the future. The general consensus from the band and the fans are that my music video has been very well received which is nice to hear that my first music video I have ever filmed and edited managed to be somewhat successful in accomplishing the intended goal.

In terms of looking at my work in comparison to what others produce in the same field, I have to look at my work in comparison to professional mainstream music videos, as well as amateur music videos. When looking at the visual quality of the image of my video compared to the mainstream, my video is considerably lacking. This is because high-end music video productions have professional industry standard equipment totalling many thousands or sometimes even millions of dollars depending on how popular the artist is. As such, my video pales in comparison to music videos that you will currently see rotating on music channels due to the massively limited budget I had and fairly primitive equipment of three 5D cameras, tripods, shoulder mounts, three dedo lights and a glide track. Industry standard equipment for professional music video shoots often involve huge machine operated cameras, cranes and many powerful lights. Although I genuinely believe that me and my team did the utmost best with the equipment we had, the visual quality of the video itself is significantly lacking when put side by side with a mainstream music video. An example in my mind of a truly professional music video can be seen below:

However, in terms of music videos that you would find on Youtube made my amateur artists or the band’s themselves, I feel that the video is successful in both look, shot variation and editing. By comparing it to non-professional videos that are often made by the band’s themselves in order to further their online presence, it puts my video on the same playing field of equipment and budget. An example can be seen below of an amateur produced music video:

Comparing my video to one such as this allows me to have a lot more confidence in my product. The above video lacks any of the fast energy that is evoked in what is in my opinion a very good song. All of the shots are static with no momentum or sense of movement to enable the pace or power of the song to translate through into the video. Instead, camera shaking effects have been added in post which does not allow for the same effect. There are also a significant lack of variety of shots, which is usually understandable for amateur music videos, but ultimately feels repetitive and non-engaging to the viewer. The purpose of the music video aside from being a tool of promotion is to take the viewer on a visual experience which heightens the song and adds a visual picture to the attitude and ideas expressed in the song itself. This seems somewhat lost in this particular video, although the pace of the shots translates well to the song. With my video, I feel that the inclusion of the narrative helped the video stand out more from other amateur music videos that do not tend to bother or include one as the main focus is usually on the band itself and also allowed my video to have a fairly unique look to it. Whilst the band still featured prominently throughout, the balance between narrative and the band was always at the front of my mind during the editing process.

For all of these reasons, I acknowledge that my music video cannot reach the truly professional standard of videos in the mainstream due to a limited budget and lack of industry standard equipment, but I feel that in terms of editing and the time taken in bringing the narrative to life elevates it above the general standard of amateur videos that are typically self-made by the band themselves.

Unknown. 2009. Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). Available at: https://youtube.com/watch?v=9X_ViIPA-Gc %5BAccessed: 01 May 2014].

Unknown. 2011. ReinXeed – We Must Go Faster. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=SSpw-yN4_hc [Accessed: 01 May 2014].