Music, E-mails, and mixing pixels…

24 Feb

Despite the fact that I have done a few modest experiments in animation and video editing, (see the Sound and vision page) I was still somewhat flattered, or rather amazed, when I got a text from an old friend asking if I’d do a video for his new song.

Now, don’t get excited, I’m not going to tell you about a video shoot with glamorous models and car chases at Pinewood studios, so lower your expectations.

No, lower than that…

Ok, that’s about right.

As I indicated in my Shoot the band… post a couple of weeks ago, I have know many musical types over the years, including Duncan, with whom I shared a house in Crowborough in the early ’90s.
He was then in a band called Network who originated in the Croydon area and who have since become Exelectric.


Funky Duncan, then…


…and now.

As I said before, there’s nothing like being a hanger-on to a band for getting the vicarious buzz of live music, and I took full advantage of our friendship to do minimal gear-lugging, setting up, and ticket selling duties, enabling me to go to a great many gigs for nothing.
With the extra bonus of getting to hang out with a lots of cool people, go to parties, and generally get invited to stuff I would not usually even know about.

The band played a residency at a local Ashdown Forest country pub, now a posh wedding/conference venue, several dates at Croydon’s legendary Cartoon club, and at many pubs around Sussex, including one that was so prone to power cuts, it had boxes of candles on the walls.
At a moment’s notice, the band would have to “go acoustic” for a couple of numbers, until the lights came back on.

Since then, Duncan has done many things, including starring in a very favourably received production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and you can see Stephen Candy’s photos of that show here.

He also writes his own music (yes I know, sickening isn’t it?) and it was his new tune that he wanted some visuals for.

As you’ll hear, it’s quite a politically charged song, which I would liken to Prince’s Sign o’ the Times, in style if not in sound, and he wanted something punchy to go with the rhythm.

To begin with, I thought of using a close-up shot of Duncan’s mouth miming to the lyrics, which I could intersperse with images after synchronising the footage with the music. He duly spent some considerable time filming and e-mailing the clip, and I spent even longer trying to implement my grand plan.
After many failed attempts, and much swearing, I abandoned that option as being too frustrating, and sought inspiration elsewhere.

It wasn’t long before I thought of using gifs to achieve the punchy effect he was after.
But how to get them into a video?

I tried to theme the gif images to fit the song lyrics, but it’s incredibly difficult to synch such things with the software available to me, (due to my ludicrously stubborn insistence on using just my smartphone for all things digital) and that was before I realised that I can’t insert gifs into a video stream, because they’re continuous loops.


Back to the drawing board touchscreen.

So, how about this.
I’ve got some really nice little gifs, all made up with no place to go…

Like this…

…and this

…or this

and, not forgetting this.


But what if I film the gifs with my camera, then use that footage to make up the video?

Except, as anyone who has ever tried to video a TV screen will tell you, it’s very tricky to get a clear, steady shot, without flaring and blurring.

Right, ok, we’ll go for the intentionally blurred look then. Nobody will know.

That’s the theory anyway. Until I can find the software, or another cunning improvised technique to transfer gifs to video.
Any and all advice from any tech-savvy readers would be very gratefully received.

(It’s only fair to point out that, apart from a few of my own photos, the gifs are all made up from images pinched from Google)

So, video made, I uploaded it to YouTube and without further ado, other than to remind you this is a prototype, may I present;

He Comes To Pass – music and lyrics by Duncan Virgoe.
Fuzzy, slightly out of focus (on purpose, naturally) visual imagery by me.

Let me know what you think.
Be honest.

Update now available.


Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Animation, Computers, Music, Photography


Tags: , , , ,

12 responses to “Music, E-mails, and mixing pixels…

  1. S Kemp

    February 24, 2013 at 18:20


    • dalecooper57

      February 24, 2013 at 18:48

      That was the intention, given the song’s content. It in no way reflects any beliefs or opinions…….blah blah blah….
      (for any lawyers)

  2. Patinspire

    February 24, 2013 at 21:26

    He comes to pass caught my eyes!

  3. iancochrane

    February 25, 2013 at 02:17

    I liked it Dale.
    & yes, it is very Prince I reckon.
    Have to say though – even though seeing heaps of live music & films on the big screen – don’t look @ video’s these days.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a big, big, fan of imagery; so I think you got it.

    You know what it reminded my of? That old Bob Dylan clip of Subterranean Homesick Blues. Have you seen that one? Yeah, silly really.

    Anyway, I did like your clip.
    Cheers, ic

    • dalecooper57

      February 25, 2013 at 05:38

      Excellent news, cheers Ian, and yes the Dylan reference makes sense.

  4. Helena Fortissima

    February 26, 2013 at 14:54

    Great job on the video/imagery, Dale. I really like your friend’s music as well.

    • dalecooper57

      February 26, 2013 at 15:22

      Thank you Helena, I shall pass that on. We* are attempting to make a clearer video, Duncan has acquired some PC software. Watch this space…

      (but don’t hold your breath)


  5. nothingprofound

    February 26, 2013 at 19:42

    Dale, I think your imagery reflected the urgency and intensity of the music perfectly.

    • dalecooper57

      February 26, 2013 at 19:46

      Cheers dude, I shall soon be posting a link to the version Duncan has just sent me. His is far more professional, having been done on his newly acquired PC software, so I will allow you to judge it’s impact for yourself.

  6. Big D

    February 26, 2013 at 20:04

    That vid worked rather well. nice one.

    • dalecooper57

      February 26, 2013 at 21:09

      Thanks. But check out the newer version Duncan just sent me…


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