Reflection on Final Music Video

Compared to how we initially envisioned our music video in the first week of classes through to the pitch phase and finally the rough and fine cut screenings, I feel that we have achieved well beyond what we had originally intended. Given that our concept was non-narrative and very much postproduction dominated, to begin with it was evident that each of us had varying ideas as to how exactly we would go about bringing our concept to life. Using the Tame Impala video as inspiration certainly helped us get on the same page and going into the pitch we had a firm grasp on what we planned to include and loosely how it would be structured. Despite what we laid out for our pitch though, once we had all our footage and reached the editing stage things started to sway a little. These changes weren’t because we had realised that our originally intentions were beyond our reach but more so because in playing around with the footage that we had we discovered ways of presenting the material that proved more effective than what we had intended. The main changes from our original pitch included:

  • Having only one band member’s head (lead singer, Dan), feature in the video.
  • Instead of having the experiment content (food dye, milk, lights, stop motion) appear both inside and outside of the heads, we darkened the image and used the silhouette effect.
  • We had planned to edit the heads so that the number of heads and their movements in the frame became more intense as the song built, however, we found it worked better to manipulate them depending on the section of the song (verse, chorus, bridge etc.). Instead of necessarily building the craziness of what they were doing as the song progressed we worked with the element of surprise, introducing different aspects in each new aspect of the song.
  • Instead of finishing with a lot going on in the frame, we used a simple slow changing background with a larger silhouette that hadn’t been seen anywhere else throughout the piece

I feel that we stuck to our original concept throughout the entire process but were able to build and vary certain aspects of it where appropriate. Overall, I think this is what helped our piece to come together so successfully. The way in which we were able to communicate as a team and structure the production phase, sharing the load of work equally, was really a major reason for this success.

Things I personally think worked well included:

  • The movement of the silhouettes throughout piece and how their movement is structured depending on the section of the song
  • The use of the varying types of silhouettes that flash throughout the chorus
  • Working somewhat with the element of surprise (aside from the second chorus, the audience isn’t able to predict what the silhouette heads will do next)
  • Taking a really simple idea and using a lot of experimentation and teamwork to make it into something that is really visually effective and engaging

Things I feel we could have done better if given the opportunity again included:

  • There are a few areas where the syncing of the movement of the mouths and music aren’t 100% right (which can be quite distracting) and although we were able to get them to a near perfect stage, with more time I would have loved to reshoot these areas
  • There were a lot of beats going on in the song and I feel like on occasions we maybe could have chosen better beats to cut on
  • I would have loved to have been able to play around more the key framing in certain areas, but it was a very complex process in Premiere and time was limited
  • Looking at some of the backgrounds I feel we maybe could have reshot some of them in order to enhance quality

Overall I believe that our final music video well exceeded my expectations. I am really proud of what we were able to produce and I really hope that Pockets are excited with what we have made. Although a bit of a whirlwind, this course has been one of my favourites from throughout my entire degree and I am so happy that I was able to take as my final subject. It is exciting to leave knowing that I have made something that I can be really proud. I also feel this course has provided great revision on a lot of the things I have studied throughout the past three years as well as teaching me new skills and this is something that has set me up really well entering the next phase of my life, post-uni.

With the password (available upon request), you can view our final music video of Ten Different Names by Pockets below.

Set Report

Throughout this six-week course, our group was very efficient in terms of production. Knowing that our concept required a lot of material in terms of what would need to be shot in order to make up our backgrounds, we probably began producing content a little earlier than some of the other groups. We needed to experiment in order to see if what we had in mind was going to be successful and as a result we collectively agreed that this would be best tackled if we were each able to go away and capture a variety of material ourselves. Like shooting anything, our process of capturing background material featured a lot of hits and misses. We had some shots that were intended to be test shoots turning out so well that they were used in our final film and then we had others which had been anticipated to work much better but unfortunately flopped. The entire process, however, was pretty fun. Each class we were able to check in with one another and see what each member had managed to produce, complete with the usually entertaining stories of how they gone about both experimenting and filming the process.

Our fun background experiments were obviously a huge part of our concept and we were producing material from as early as week two, all the way up until week six. Filming the silhouette aspect of our work, however, required much more planning. Following three weeks of preparation and organisation we began to make our concept a reality when in week four of classes, production finally begun. Before reaching this point two major things we had had to determine had been:

  1. How to go about using the green screen in order to achieve the best execution of our idea (taking into consideration things like the how to light the screen evenly to minimize issues keying out the green, how to light the artist, where to situate the artist in the frame etc.)
  2. If we would be able successfully create our envisioned “silhouette head” effect through the footage we captured in the green screen room in postproduction (we knew this was indeed achievable, but we needed to experiment a little on Premiere with test footage to ensure that no issues arose)

Once we were confident with the technical aspects of our planned shoot we began liaising with the band in order to determine a time for our shoot to take place. We established due to time restrictions but also because of wanting continuity in our work (creative decision that multiple head switching could be distracting) that we would only be using the lead singer of the group. Our official shoot day with our artist was then scheduled for the Friday of week four (29/01). Arriving with plenty of time to set up the camera, lighting, staging etc. we were confident before our artist even arrived that things were set to run relatively smoothly. We realised as we began shooting that we needed to start thinking about things such as different ways in which he could enter and leave the frame, how he could vary his body movement and what sorts of props we could use in order to alter his appearance in the most visually effective way. During this process we made sure we monitored what it was we were capturing to ensure that we had ample footage and were also aware of what it was we had that seemed to work and what didn’t. Overall we all came away from this shoot earlier than we had anticipate and with plenty of material we were confident would work successfully with our idea.

We had many times during production where we questioned things such as whether we had enough background material, if we would have enough time to reshoot certain aspects after they didn’t go exactly to plan and just how exactly our variety of shots was actually going to come together. However, these were all moments that were to be expected and I feel as though as a result of us communicating and working together really well as a team we were able to minimise concerns and ultimately get through the production process very successfully.

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Week 5&6 Progress Post

So in the craziness that marks the end of any semester, it is easy to say that week’s five and six of summer school have definitely blended into one another. Following the rough cut of our music video we had a lot to get done. Knowing we had limited class time remaining we mapped out appropriate times for different people to go in an edit and discussed which areas we needed to focus on during these sessions.

There were times of frustration in the suites for each of us but somehow we managed to structure our edit sessions so that when we did come together in class we were pleasantly surprised by our progress. Heading into fine cut screenings we were confident that we were 95% there and the feedback from the class confirmed this. It was great to get some final comments on our piece as after watching it so many times it was difficult to really judge the areas that needed fine tuning as opposed to the areas where we had become overly picky.

Following our final class we were able to make some final adjustments, all grab a copy of the finished exported film and walk away proud of what we had achieved in such a small space of time. Now the only task that remains is to get our video out there. To share it with Pockets, hope that they like it and then hopefully distribute through other platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Rage etc.

Rough Cut Screening – Reflection

Following the rough-cut screening of our film today I feel that we were able to come away with a lot of positive feedback and yet also a lot of constructive remarks on where we need to take things in final days of this course. Main points to be taken into next week included:

  • Suggestions as to what backgrounds could be suited to which sections of the song (for this screening they were placed pretty randomly just so that we could give an idea of the effects we were going for with the silhouettes)
  • Importance of the heads and music being in sync as it is a major distraction
  • Ideas of experimenting with the sizes and spacing of the heads in different areas
  • Fixing up the placement of the changing heads featured in the chorus
  • Perhaps considering reshooting/producing new/switching out background material of certain things due to image quality

Overall, we came away with more positives than anything though. After our bumpy start to editing just a few days earlier we really weren’t sure of how much we would be able to achieve and whether what we had achieved would be well received. The class seemed really surprised and excited by what we had managed to put together and this was really motivating entering the final stages of work on our piece.

The rough cut we screened to the class can be viewed below (password available upon request).

Editing Begins

The first class of this week marked our first day in the edit suites and I feel that it can definitely be summed up as being pretty confronting. Despite having somewhat of a plan mapped out we had so much footage to sort through and so many elements of Premiere to get our heads around that it all was a bit of a hot mess.

As I had experienced in that past, and what my fellow group members discovered pretty quickly, five people crowded in a suite giving their opinions of what should go where whilst one person sits at the mouse is generally a pretty unproductive method when it comes to editing. After three hours of doing not a whole heap, we knew it was time to consider a different plan of attack. Having dealt with this sort of situation many times throughout the course of my degree I was more than happy to share some of the approaches that had, in my experience, operated best.

  1. Edit in groups no larger than two
  2. Instead of making changes to what someone else has already edited, duplicate this sequences and make your changes here
  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas, but keep track of the time you spend working on particular sections especially when there is still a lot to be done in other areas of the work
  4. Always make sure that every file you import into your Premiere project is saved in a folder with Premiere file on the media server
  5. Don’t rely on autosave – save your work manually, regularly

Leaving class after our first day in the suites we certainly had a lot to sort out. However, through discussing the areas where we were having issues I feel we were able to sort out a pretty solid plan. With the rough cut screening just a couple of days away we arranged a schedule for group members to come in and edit in small groups and decided upon meeting before class on the screening day to bring together what each member had been working on. I think throughout this process communication is really going to be key, but I have no doubt that we will be able to manage this effectively.


Week 4 Progress Post

Despite being the last group to begin shooting our artist, I feel that this week we didn’t allow ourselves to become intimidated by what it was that other people had already achieved and trusted the schedule we had laid out for ourselves.

Going into week five we now have a wide selection of background material and what we are confident to be all our green screen footage of our artist. Ultimately, we have achieved a lot in during this week but we still have a pretty daunting task ahead of us as we enter postproduction. As we prepared for next week we also spent time mapping out a bit of an idea as to what footage we could place where in order to ensure we have a bit of a plan before we get into the edit suites.

Although we have a big task ahead of us in order to start making our ideas come to life, I feel we are pretty organised at this stage and the next few weeks will be mostly a matter of staying motivated and on track with what we need to get done.


Shooting our Artist

The day had finally arrived to enter the green screen room and work with our actual artists. Although, complete, the Pockets are a group of four, upon consideration we decided it would be much easier to work with only the lead singer of the group. Reasons for this included:

  • We had a very small space in which we were working
  • The other band members weren’t as familiar with the song lyrics
  • It would be easier to edit and cut between different shots smoothly and more effectively if it was all the same silhouette
  • The shoot would take up less time for everyone if we were just working with the one member
  • Finding a time where all four members were available was challenging with such a restricted timeframe to work within

Arriving at the green screen room an hour before our artist we had everything prepared and ready to film by the time he arrived. Dan, the lead vocalist of the group, was fantastic upon arrival and will to work with whatever we threw at him. It took a bit of time to get into the swing of things but once we had figured out the most effective way for him to be positioned in the frame and he had properly deciphered the concept and exactly what was required of him everything ran very smoothly.

Once everyone was comfortable with the setup we quickly realised that it didn’t take all that much time to get the various shots we required. Because of this we experimented more with the different props we had brought, tried different ways for Dan to enter and exit the frame, encouraged Dan to try more vibrant movements in certain sections etc. Pretty much, we realised we were much better off having too many takes to work with as a opposed to not enough and as no one knew how things were really going to come together during post, allowing ourselves options was one of the best things we could do.

We were able to wrap things up in around three hours and with plenty of material and lots of fun had playing around with props such as swimming caps, snorkels, earmuffs and blankets, we all left the green screen room in high spirits. We transferred our footage to the media server right away, returned all our gear and enjoyed some celebratory, well-earned brownies I had baked for the occasion.

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Shooting a Live Performance

Following a break for the Australia Day holiday, we were back in class and spoilt to have Georgia Fields return to assist us once again. In preparation for our upcoming shoots with our artists, Georgia had been lovely enough to agree to come in and allow us to shoot her performing as practice.

I found the whole setup of class on this day to be a really relaxed way to re-familiarise myself with the video cameras. Despite this being the last course of my degree, I hadn’t actually been in front of a camera in over a year, but it was pleasing that everything came back to me pretty quickly. Something that I hadn’t ever done, however, was shoot something live and it was interesting to go through to setup of everything and learnt about how everything would be structure to ensure the best result.

Georgia was great, she was so patient with us and really and more than happy to roll with anything we threw at her. She brought wardrobe options, which was perhaps something we could consider with our artists if we hadn’t seen them within the space that we were shooting before. She also did an amazing job performing; you wouldn’t have known it was her time back on stage in several months. Keeping this in mind though it was useful to be forced to think more from the artist’s perspective, as the consideration of something such as nerves was something that we would all need to be aware of going into our own shoots.

I feel as though the setup of class on this day not only allowed me to find my feet again with the camera but also taught me a few new things and gave me a different perspective on how to shoot/prepare to shoot. I was able to leave confident about having to shoot with our artists the next day.

So you can put a face to the name, below you can view one of Georgia’s music videos – directed by our own fabulous teacher, Rohan!

Stop Motion

Following the official pitch of our music video if there was one thing that we evident that we really needed to get onto it was the producing of material to be used in our exciting psychedelic backgrounds. With the feedback from Rohan and Georgia in mind I set myself up to experiment with a bit of stop motion. I hadn’t worked with stop motion before but figured it would be simple enough. I also recognised beforehand that it would be a lengthy process and this became a reality very quickly as it took me up to an hour to produce about 5-10 seconds worth of footage. I also quickly learnt that it was a very hit and miss process with some of my work turning out much better than I anticipated and other stuff just working out to be a bit of a hot mess.

Despite having some highs and lows, overall my stop motion experiments were certainly a worthwhile task as I feel I eventually produced some very usable material. Below you can view my favourite work from the day.


The Pitch

In class this Thursday the time had come to pitch our music videos. As well as having Rohan and our classmates there to provided feedback on our ideas, we were also very fortunate to have musician, Georgia Fields, present to provide a fresh set of eyes and comments from an artist perspective.

Although, as a group we all had a clear idea of what we were aiming to achieve and the ideas that we would be working with, we discovered in preparation for the pitch that articulating our plans would be more difficult than we expected. Having quite an abstract idea, it anticipated it would be hard for an audience to fully visualise how our material would come together during production and with a lot of our work to be done in post there wasn’t as much to plan for before this stage. Having played around with the green screen and already successfully captured several visually effective science like experiment, we quickly learnt that our ideas would be best presented visually. We showed the music video from Tame Impala “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” as this was a huge source of initial inspiration and a lot of our plans corresponded with things presented in the clip (you can view the video below). For example the video uses bright psychedelic colours and movements and also incorporates a profile head and different patterns and movement happening inside the head and in the background. This video was a really useful tool to explain the sort of path we intended to go down, as we were clearly able to identify to the audience aspects that we planned to incorporate as well as areas where we wanted to do things differently. We also showed shot clips of some of the experiments we had already completed and screenshots of some of the material we had played around with briefly after our green screen practice shoot earlier in the week.

Overall, I feel our pitch was a success. We were able to effectively explain our concept and reinforce our decisions with reasons and examples. Some of the feedback from Rohan, Georgia and the class included:

  • Good work on incorporating the brand of the artists and developing a concept that fits with the image they want to portray
  • Make sure you have a lot of material to use as backgrounds/visuals to go inside the profile heads
  • Think about what you can do in the intro section of the song before the lyrics begin (quite a bit of time to work with here)
  • If using props in the green screen shoot maybe pre-warn the artist to ensure thy feel comfortable with the things you want them to work with (we plan to mix up profile head shots by having our artists wear hats and other things that you might bring to your face/head to make shots more interesting and also tie in the idea behind the song referring to the multiple sides/”names” that people can have)
  • Ensure you have everything worked out and ready to go with the green screen before the artists arrive
  • Think about what you can do to give yourself less work to do in post, eg. Making sure the artists are wearing appropriate clothes so that the green can be easily keyed out, maybe get them to gel their hair/trim beards if necessary and possible
  • Consider effect you could create using tools like stop motion – these could work really effectively as background even though they step a little outside the “experiment theme”

For those interested in our initial inspiration see video here:

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