This is Part 3, the final instalment of our three-part series on making our debut music video, ‘Love Sick’. Here we sum up the nuts and bolts of editing the video and the slight copyright issues surrounding an exiled Cuban artist and the image rights of the sickest man of the last decade – Jimmy Savile. If you missed it here’s the links to Part 1
and Part 2
of the series
After many hours of crack-pot filming we finally amassed the footage we required. The next step was editing and making the video fit the song.
Hollywood films and music videos by current well known artists are backed by millions of dollars. They use top quality cameras that are more expensive to buy than a cheap car. They have editing suits and complicated (expensive) software to stitch the video together. If you ever wondered why the video you shot on your HD home video camera just doesn’t look like the movies, well now you know. As we aren’t a rich rock band (yet) then we didn’t have access to any of this wonderful equipment – we just had a dodgy Sony Action Cam and Lenny’s dodgy computer. So, if we wanted our official video to look slightly better than a home-made B-Movie we were going to have to think outside the box. At this point we decided to use the secret power of the internet and grab some editing suite software and film colour correction programmes.
Gaith, our camera man and co-producer had access to video editing software and set about putting the film together. Due to Gaith’s other-worldly nature he decided to do an impressionistic first cut of the video, which somehow came in 30 seconds longer than the song. The first cut of the video provided some nice ideas and the rough spine of the video that could be worked on and fine-tuned.
We got ourselves a nice directors chair and started barking orders at the computer.
Having listened to the song repeatedly Lenny took it upon himself to learn how to use Sony Vegas, Adobe After Effects and a couple of other editing suits and then began re-working the first cut. A bit of a steep learning curve, but Lenny’s odd like that. After a couple of weeks he’d got to grips with the basics (courtesy of countless tutorials on YouTube)
For anyone out there making music videos, syncing is crucial. To achieve this a ‘guide’ track of the song (still footage of the band playing in time to a mimed track) was placed in the editing software’s time-line – along with the recorded and produced master-mix wave file of the song. These were lined up so that the master track was in time with the mimed footage. All the other footage could then be placed along side these tracks to get things to get the video footage to be synchronised.
This is important as the viewer wants to see the drummer hit the drums in time with the music. The singer has to sing in time with the lyrics and the guitarist has to play in rhythm. These are the basic foundations of ensuring that the music video will be believable – if this isn’t done correctly then it doesn’t matter how polished and slick looking the final video cut is, without syncing, its going to look like a badly dubbed film. And they are annoying to watch!
Further emphasis was placed on giving a footage a ‘feel’ and letting it ride with the music. Ultimately a music video should be there to enhance and support the music; it shouldn’t overshadow the song. To achieve this we tried to get cuts and zooms to occur on drum beats and musical changes, hopefully sparking a bit of life and rhythm to the visuals.
Just like you can edit and tweak photos in Photoshop, such as adding filters, adjusting contrast, brightness, levels, blur and countless other variables, the same can be done to film footage. There’s no hard and fast rules, especially when applying them to music videos. Fortunately we wanted the final look to have some ‘home-made’ quality, to kind of look cheap – which was handy because we had crap equipment. Yet at the same time we wanted the video to look as professional as possible.
After the final edit the video was then colour corrected to try and make the skin tones ‘pop’ out from the background – as faces attract the viewers attention. The entire editing and render process took ages. To render the video from after effects (without losing video quality) it took Lenny’s quad core computer 9hrs! This then had to be placed in to another editing suite and exported exported again which took another 30 minutes – and then for processing on YouTube it took another 3hrs!
In short that’s a fuck load of time. So when you’ve gone through this process and realised you need to make adjustments to some scenes, you have to repeat the whole aeon of rendering time. That’s a fucker that is… because… if someone, for whatever reason decides that a scene needed changing after all that rendering time, it was a pain in the proverbial to make changes. One small change meant around 10 hours of re-rendering.
Copyright and Copywrong
Finally after a lot of mucking around we got the video rendered and on to YouTube and Vimeo and ready to be published to the public. Our aim was to get the video on iTunes.
In some sense it seemed a bit pointless to upload the video to iTunes for paid download, especially when anyone can watch the video for free on YouTube. Yet at the same time we wanted some of our art available to buy, just in case anyone felt like being generous enough to pay a meagre £ 1.69 or so for our artistic endeavours that we’d slaved over for weeks on end.
Getting it on to iTunes proved to be another ball-ache that that remains unresolved. Firstly Apple require super hi-res video quality – which is fair enough since people are going to be paying for it. So this meant another re-rendering of the video with hi-res video codecs. Except Apple wanted the video to be encoded in an Apple only codec. Which is fine if you happen to be using an Apple Mac to render the video. We weren’t so that meant another lot of faffing about trying to get the video rendered on an Apple Mac machine.
Because everything was hi-res the video file was a huge in size – around 5GB’s worth. That meant transporting the file and re-coding it was a pain. Lenny knew a friend of a friend who was a video editor and used a mac. He re-encoded it to the Apple iTunes video specs and we uploaded the video to our distributors, EmuBands, for delivery to iTunes.
(c) Eric Ravelo. Here’s the photo of the religious icon and child in crucifix position, by Cuban artist Eric Ravelo. We had to pull it from our video for copyright reasons. Shame, it depicts the kind of concept ‘Love Sick’ hints at.
Turns out that some of the images that Lenny used in the a quick montage near the end of the video weren’t cleared for copyright. The montage of images included images from religion (since the dawn of civilisation there’s been a plethora of sick stuff that has been done in the name of religion – for the ‘Love’ of God!
So we pulled some images from the net and made a montage to illustrate the point. When we submitted the video to our distributor, they came back with concerns over the use of an image that depicted a pope in a crucifix position with a semi naked child strapped to his back. Turns out this image was created as a piece of art by Cuban artist Eric Ravelo. And they also had concerns about the use of a photo of notorious fuckwit and paedophile, Jimmy Savile. (For some people Love really is fucked up!)
They wouldn’t send the video to iTunes unless we had permission to use these images. So firstly we contacted Eric Ravelo, who happens to be a renowned artist currently working in some pretentious capacity for the ‘United Colors of Benetton’, and asked him if we could use the photo. We explained the image was on screen for about 6 frames, which equated to a fraction of a second. He came back to us we a resounding ‘No.’ His reasons were along the lines of the image was copyrighted and is used in conjunction with the World Health Organisation. Which is kind of a reasonable answer. However it was slightly ironic, since Eric was born in Cuba and was unable to pursue his art, he had to flee his country of birthright in order to free himself from oppression to pursue his career as an artist. As he states on his website:
(c) Michael Putland. This is the image of evil fucker Jimmy Savile, that we had to pull from the video because we couldn’t get permission from Michael Putland. We wanted to use this one as it is easy to identify Jimi Savile in the fraction of a second it was on screen, because the narcissist has his name on his tracksuit
" He was born in Havana, Cuba in 1978 and studied art there at the Accademia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro. When he was 18 he escaped Cuba to Argentina to pursue his dreams of working freely as an artist. "
Oh the irony, now here we was after freeing himself from oppression, clearly being oppressive himself by not allowing us to use his picture!!! [Eric, man, we dig your art – shame you aint the rebel you used to be]
The next problem was Jimi Savile. We lifted quite a nice photo of the sick crook from the net – turns out it was shot by a famous photographer going by the name of Michael Putland. Michael has shot photos [in his words] from "Abba to Zappa" – and all in between – you name it, Bob Marley, Rolling Stones, The Beatles etc. Mmmm – not likely we’ll be able to get permission for using the photo, well, not for free anyway. Nevertheless we sent of some enquires and after a few weeks we heard nothing, so we decided to pull the photo.
Back to the Drawing Board
So we decided to pull both images and replace them. Jimmy Savile was replaced with another Jimmy Savile photo by an unknown photographer. And the pope child crufix by Eric Ravelo was replaced by Lenny’s twisted photo montage of a religious icon, with the devil in his eyes, holding a dildo in front of a crying child.
Beat that Ravelo, our montage replacement for the video – Bishop Child Devil Dildo.
It sounds easy to replace images in the footage, but the simple act of replacing 2 imgaes (that were only on screen for a fraction of a second) meant having to re-render the whole thing (9hrs) and then export to a Mac and re-rendered again… which took aeons. Finally we got it sent off to the distributors and guess what they came back and said that the image right of Jimmy Savile needed verifying. Fuck me! that son of a bitch should not have any image rights. The fucker died, and is posthumous criminal of depravity. Among his hundreds of victims, he abused a 2 year old, countless disabled people and even got one of his rape victims pregnant, yet some how we ought to respect his image rights?
So we thought – fuck this and fuck iTunes. We decided to abandon the distribution of the video to Apple and just left the unedited version on YouTube and Vimeo.
Having completed our first official music video, we were pleased with the results and it got over 500 views in the first 2 months, as well as being featured on a Music Industry Newsletter. Feedback from our friends and fans was on the whole, pretty positive – apart from the occasional moron who just didn’t quite get what it is about.
It was great fun to make and we’re already on the case with our second music video, so stay tuned, why don’t ya?
Finally and most importantly of all – a big thanks to all who have taken the time to watch the video and like/share it amongst your comrades.
Peace and Sick,
Dog Like Status.
Watch The Video
Here’s the offical video for Love Sick. Watch it through to the end for best results. Share it and let us know what you think. We love to hear your feedback.
Links to the previous instalments…