Inspiration for a D.I.Y. Music Lyric Video: How We Improved Our Video Making During Coronavirus Quar


Speaking of staying hopeful and productive during the weird time…

Quarantine Time Re-Dux.....

Here’s another incredibly productive way to spend your quarantine time. If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll know that we’re on number 5 of our list of “9 Things to Do During the Coronavirus Quarantine for the D.I.Y. Rock Star” ( http://bit.ly/Ep119quarantineblog ). Yep, we're at the point where we are ready to learn something new……

Here’s my backstory on video making…

Wow! It’s been four years, but up until now, this was my way of being fully transparent when I uttered the words, “I hate video editing!” ( https://bit.ly/ihatevideoediting ) The process, the software, and the frame of mind that it takes to create my own music video is not native. Further, the software can be completely cumbersome and it was frustrating to do. However, as a D.I.Y. Rock Star (see our story here: http://bit.ly/allthethingsprej ), we decided that, after looking high and low for someone to “do it for us,” we’d give doing it ourselves a try. That’s how all of that YouTube business started in the first place. So, we did it, but it wasn’t great and I was NEVER particularly proud of the videos that I had created. However, we decided that until we could find that videographer who would produce better, more creative, and edgy videos, I would continue to do what I could to best represent who were are and our music.

Here’s our first music video: https://bit.ly/tellmewhatvid

Then I went YouTube crazy….

But then, one of the hodgepodge videos—created from our family’s travel footage—did REALLY well for us. –It has been played on Facebook almost 627k times and shared over by over 1k people to date! –When we were faced with what seemed like a video “hit”—where people specifically commented on the video itself as one of the factors for sharing! (Here is the link for that video: https://bit.ly/Herofacebookvid (on Facebook) and http://bit.ly/youremyheroprej (on YouTube)—I will admit that I was encouraged to do more with my video-making.

Here's how I went YouTube crazy: http://bit.ly/youtubefrenzy

So, keep in mind that in 2017, YouTube decided that channels could not be monetized unless they had at least 1k subscribers and 4k yearly hours of watch-time. (This was a change to what we had previously experienced.) YouTube was going to take some of our branding options away, along with the ability to make ad money. Because we had done so well with our video on Facebook, I really made a run for that 1k subscribers! —We had less than 200 at the time, but I thought by creating more and better videos, we might be able to top off to where we needed by the four-month deadline. —It was then that we began filming “Gab & Jam” (our weekly talk show showcasing that D.I.Y. Rock Star lifestyle. (Here is the link for Gab & Jam: https://bit.ly/gabandjamyoutubeplay ) While I knew it would further our goals, that act alone at once only helped fuel my loathing and fear about the activity. (Here is the blog post where I talk about how I went batsh*t YouTube crazy: http://bit.ly/youtubefrenzy ) But while we did NOT get to 4k hours of viewer time, we DID make it to 1k subscribers (and was able to keep our branding, even if we did lose our ability to monetize)….Yay! :)

Here’s the video that received a lot of

positive attention: https://bit.ly/Herofacebookvid (on Facebook)

and http://bit.ly/youremyheroprej (on YouTube)

What has changed?

Well, now that we’re at 5k subscribers and we are about to finish our new funk album, “Sugar Fit,” and we decided that it is the perfect set of songs for music videos. These songs are groove-heavy and there’s a lot of imagery used in the lyrics that would be ideal to visualize as the song plays. Yeah, that’s new. So, in a renewed effort to find someone else to do videos, we scoured a website called Fiverr, where you can find all kinds of folks who will do this for you. –We were thinking that these videos could be as simple as a lyric video and/or as complicated as an animated video. –Skip forward to having looked at hundreds of samples of videos, found a guy who we thought did some decent work for a decent price, so we hired him. Yes, he delivered on-time, but it was JUST a straight-up lyric video that was TRULY boring after the first verse. As we watched it, Bruce commented, that we could do “much better than that,” and I was on a roll again…..

Found just the inspiration I needed...

As we’ve been saying since April 13, 2020—when this whole weird Coronavirus thing began to escalate to the point where we knew quarantine was inevitable—we knew that sitting around freaking out wouldn’t help us for long and so, we created that list (“9 Things to Do During the Coronavirus Quarantine for the D.I.Y. Rock Star” ( http://bit.ly/Ep119quarantineblog ). As we traveled down that list, we arrived at number 5, which asks us "to learn something new." As I was trying to decide what that SOMETHING would be, I happened upon this post on the DIY Musician website, entitled, “Creating a good lyric video for less than $10,” by Chris Robley (link). It turned out that this is just the inspiration I needed….

That D.I.Y. Rock Star spirit....

Well, video editing is technically not new, but since I felt as if I didn’t know as much as I would like, I counted finding this post as God’s way of saying that this was the path I should take. —Every time I get ready to work on a music video, I go down a rabbit hole. I am trying to learn not only the video editing program better—this time, it’s Final Cut Pro X—but also I want to gather ideas to infuse the videos with vitality and whimsy; two things that had been harder to come by in my search for meaningful and relevant posts. I am happy to report that this post was finally the one that was EXTREMELY helpful for offering a variety of creative ways to approach making lyric videos. In fact, it's full of inexpensive and creative ideas—and not just techniques—to kick-off my working process. Thanks, DIYMusician​! #videosfromscratch #diyrockstar

Here are some of the ideas/techniques that Chris talks about in his post:

  1. Slow footage waaaay down (sometimes to create cool backgrounds and sometimes to layer with layers going at different speeds)

  2. Reverse motion footage

  3. Use the app Word Swag to animate lyrics

  4. Use live performance footage interspersed with b-roll

  5. Add in some drawn/cartoon elements

  6. Scroll text up/across the screen (to vary up the look of the lyric video)

  7. Make the chorus lyric text special/different than the verses

  8. Do the Ken Burns’ effect for still photos (If you Google it, you will find a ton of tutorials!)

  9. Use a variety of text fonts (Instead of the standard Helvetica and Times New Roman)

  10. Use effects and transitions on lyrics (just as you would graphics)

  11. Be sure lyrics are typed into a word processing program (and proofread before using them in video)

He goes into great detail with his post and I am not trying to recreate it; I am just trying to shed light on how such an awesome post was a great resource to someone like me, who only needs to learn enough to be creative and efficient in making videos. If you want to know more, be sure to check out his link under the Useful Resources section of this post.

“First Music Video? 10 Best Websites for

Free Stock Video Footage” http://bit.ly/freestockvideosprej

These were my considerations...

In thinking about re-doing an old video (or when doing a new video), I wanted to be sure to keep my aims in mind (so that I am not totally distracted by all the amazing things that CAN be done that I get overwhelmed, spiral out, and then shut down). So, to improve any older video to the point where I am not squeamish about sharing it, these are the things that would need improving:

  1. Needs to be a lyric video (—It wasn’t previously.)

  2. Needs to include appropriate b-roll

  3. Needs to include more flattering shots

  4. Includes more drama (more movement and with more grungy attitude)

I knew that if I could at least add these types of things to a music video, then I would feel that this would be an improvement.

The Plan Versus What Actually Happened...

My original plan was to re-do that first music video (mentioned above), so that when we appeared in our first ever livestream interview [with Grove Studios on April 5, 2020 https://bit.ly/grovelivefacebook ], we could parade around highlights of our music, which are showcased in 3 music videos that we would watch live on the air. It turned out that, after a few days of foraging, I found that there was a gap between what I WANTED for our videos and what I actually CREATED.

These are the things that I discovered AFTER having read Robley’s post that helped our video production:

  • Add in multiple focal lengths (close, medium, and wide)

  • Created a better thumbnail

  • Time clips—and lyric passages—so that fall on the particular beats in the song

  • Use pre-built templates that have the font, the look, and the animation behavior that I like (so that it is easy to edit and re-use in multiple videos)

What I learned was that pre-made templates—that include the fonts that looked great and slick animations already in them—was the key to pretty easily bringing at least SOME of our ideas from lightbulb to fruition.

Here's our Grove Studios Livestream Interview:

https://bit.ly/grovelivefacebook

What?

I can say that I am much more comfortable with my video editing skills than I was just a few short days ago! I know, right?! I mean, I did the tutorials last week, but up until last night, I was totally insecure about my ability to put something together that I would be proud of. But after working on the video for all of maybe three or four hours yesterday, I went to bed feeling that I was rocking it out. And, happily, that wasn't JUST the merlot talking; I looked at the video that I finished and it looks pretty amazing! —I mean, I know that there are a few clips that I would like to swap out for something better and I want to find a few clips—or stills—of us to replace a few just for band/brand identification purposes and I want to add in a few transitions and a few creepy effects, other than that, this puppy is done! And that feels absolutely amazing!

Here's the demo version of

“Audrey, Please”: https://bit.ly/audreypleasedemo

Now?

I mean, when I told Bruce that I wanted to have a video for EVERY song on the new funk album (Sugar Fit), in the back of my mind, that sounded super ambitious. But, now, after putting this together in one day, I feel that not only is that goal possible, but it’s probable AND, maybe even more importantly, can be done rather quickly and without a lot of fuss. I am confident now that, while they may not be ALL of the bee’s knees, I can make a video that I am confident enough to show and that I like watching myself—because if you know me, you’ll understand that I am my FIRST biggest fan! (http://bit.ly/Rp94BV2019vid20 )

What have you decided was worth going all in and learning in order to feel better and more hopeful during this time and with better prospects for succeeding in goals that were once foreign to you?

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