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…
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…
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.