When I was 10 or so, my parents (finally) let me watch Star Wars for the first time. They thought it was too violent and I guess wanted to make sure I was ready to handle it. Perhaps my earlier imitations from Calvin & Hobbes played a factor, since I was acting very much like the main character, and they eventually took the books away until my behavior improved.
But before the movie, there was the soundtrack by John Williams.
My father, being an audiophile had purchased a Dolby Pro Logic receiver, and our middle-class home was host to an amazing sound system. We had amazing movie nights as a family! I’ll never forget when my dad put on the opening take-off scenes of Top Gun, and I came running down to see what was going on; overwhelmed by the immensity of sound! The subwoofer was put inside the fireplace, which only seemed to amplify it even more!
So when the first measures of the Star Wars main theme hit my eardrums, my attention was hooked. I listened to that triumphant opening and the whole album over and over again, while looking at the images in the record album.
What was the story? Who was that Immensely Cool(TM) masked figure? It was set in space!? With robots and aliens!?
Listening to the soundtrack, I still didn’t know the story or the characters, but I began to hear when things were going “bad”, “sad”, “good”, and other emotions.
So when it came time to watch the movie (on Laserdisc!), I was buzzed, excited, nervous, and ready to finally SEE what was happening onscreen in time with the soundtrack.
It wasn’t what I had pictured in my head. It was WAY cooler!
And from then on, over time, and due to parental rules about TV/movie consumption rates (no movies during the week), I developed the ability to absorb a movie soundtrack and visualize/replay a movie in my head from just the score. The bassoons and muted trombones slide up together…it’s the shot of the Rebel soldier’s feet as Darth Vader is holding him up. Frantic ascending strings…Leia’s been stunned. All of the edits, transitions, and story, accessible!
And so it went, from soundtrack to soundtrack!
Until Spirited Away.
EHEM. Let me try that again…
Spirited Away deserves it’s own blog entry, but to sum up: Lush, gorgeous, beautiful, moving, rich, wonderful, enchanting.
After the heroine has already been through so much in the story, she must embark on a quest to remove a curse, and the sequence in which she leaves the bathhouse, and journeys further into this strange world, is one of the most amazing visual and aural sequences I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Ultimately, without the rich story, world, and characters, or plotting, this scene wouldn’t have the impact it has, but it’s pulled off beautifully. The music is exquisite, and together with the visuals is…yeah, I’ve said “amazing” a lot huh?
After experiencing this scene and being utterly transported from the darkened basement room, I had to hold on to it in some way. I wanted a version with just the music and the visuals; no sound effects or dialogue.
So I got on the computer, googled a bit, and came across AnimeMusicVideos.org I had technically watched an anime…and I wanted to combine it with music…sounded good!
This guide gave me everything I needed to know about how to create my music video; DVD decryption, transcoding footage for editing, framerates, interlaced vs progressive, color depth, and more!
So I ripped, decrypted, transcoded, converted, squished squashed and squeezed. Once I had the video, I ripped the music from the soundtrack (I had bought it very soon after viewing the film :)), applied it underneath the video, and viola! My first music video!
So, where was I going with all this?
If you want to get into video editing, there are some definite steps that will help inspire you and also be fun!
1. Find your favorite movie or TV show, and try to make a music video out of it using a song. Try and tell a story. Some of the best videos use footage that has nothing to do with the original story, but combined with a song, and cut together in a unique way, takes on a completely different mood, feeling, and story.
2. Watch movies. (This one’s easy) But pay attention! Where’s the camera and why is it there?
3. Whoa whoa whoaaaaa, listen to the music! Try and see/hear the rhythm and pacing of the scene.
4. Listen to Star Wars!