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From Where The Artist Sits: Creating A Music Video

Russ Suereth

There are a lot of processes and a lot of steps to creating a video. 

I just finished a new music video for my song, Portraits from Living. This week’s article is about the process I went through to create that video, how I did it, and why I did it that way. So let’s start.

First, I determined what type of music video I wanted to create. There are all types of music videos out there today. My budget is on the low side. Accordingly I decided to do something minimal like the recent videos from a variety of remix channels. A great example is the Majestic Casual channel on YouTube. These videos simply have a still photograph, the words “Majestic Casual,” and their logo.

I’ve have liked that minimal style lately because those single images are usually better than the moving images I see in music videos. I also think that the minimal style helps me pay attention to the music.

So I took that idea and embellished it. I got a single image and added some minor movement effects to it. Then I added my name, the title, and my logo over the top.

What did I use to make this music video? Here’s a list of the hardware and software I used.
·         Computer:  iMac i5
·         Video Software: Final Cut Pro X
·         Video Software Plugin: PRO16MM from Pixel Film Studios
·         Graphic Software: Adobe Illustrator

And that’s it.

I use Illustrator for the title, my name, and my logo on the video, but you can use the text capabilities within Final Cut Pro to do that instead. Also you can use the effects that come with Final Cut Pro instead of the plugin. Or you could use any tool like iMovie or Adobe After Effects instead of Final Cut Pro.

Here are all the steps I took to complete my video project:

Step 1. Find a photograph, painting, or graphic design that you like. Try to find an image that can somehow connect to the music. Take a picture of a river, or a friend. Or pick something from the many stock photo sites on the internet. Make sure that you have the proper copyright capabilities with any photo you purchase. Just because you purchase an image doesn’t mean you can use that image for your video. Check the small print available on the stock photo web site.

Step 2.  Find a font to use for your name and the title.  The software you use will have many fonts to choose from.  Or you can buy a font that may be a little more unique to your video.

Step 3.  Add some effects to your image. Video software usually comes with a library of effects to enhance the colors and the image. You can go from subtle to aggressive on the effects. Regardless of your choice, I really think you should add some degree of effects to give the video your own personal touch.

Step 4.  Add your name and title to the effected image.  I like adding the text on top of the image and effects, so that the text stands out.

Step 6.  Whether you have a complete movie, a single-image that moves, or a still photo you’ll need to save that in a format that YouTube can handle.  This YouTube link discusses the proper formats and how different formats can be converted.

Step 7.  Upload the video to YouTube.  I normally use Final Cut Pro X to do many of the steps listed above.  Final Cut Pro, as well as other video software programs, enables you to share your video to YouTube by making a few clicks.  Alternatively here’s another link from YouTube about uploading your video.

Step 8. Once your video is on YouTube, go to your Video Manager and choose the thumbnail that people will see before they click your video. Then provide an interesting description of the video. And don’t forget to promote yourself!

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