Saturday, 28 March 2020

Making a Music Video in Less Than 48 hours (Covid-19 Lockdown)

So it seems the whole world is on lockdown in our houses.  No doubt we are all getting to the stage where we need to keep ourselves amused.  I can't really record any tutorials as my daughter (who is 11) is also on lockdown and I'm pretty sure none of you want hear her playing 'Baby Shark' in the background of paid tutorials.  So that side is on hold for the current time until the Coronavirus passes over.

Some of you may know that outside of the 'day job' I'm also a musician and composer and play a lot of instruments and studied music theory and compositiong as well as musical production. I've also been playing guitar since I was 6 (so thats 43 years coming up).  I very rarely mix my day job and my music. One reason is that I don't feel comfortable spending a shit pile of money to render stuff out for it.


I decided a couple of days ago to take one f the songs I recorded last year and make a music video for it. The catchs were that:

  1. I'm on lockdown so no videoing things outside.
  2. It must use only what I have available on my hard drives.
  3. It must cost me nothing (Because like the rest of people who freelance I'm currently not working and bleeding money).
  4. All footage thats new must be shot on my phones camera (as I sold my broadcast quality ones a couple of years back as I needed the money to live).
  5. No footage can be 'stolen' at all.
  6. It has to be produced only on a single machine with no render farms.
While it says on the video it took less than 48 hours, the actual figure is well under 36 hours from top to bottom.  Now I'm the 1st to admit it won't win any awards but it kept me amused for a couple of days. If I had time and a budget theres a lot of it I would change.

It my version of a song written in 1930 by blues legend Blind Willie Johnston called 'John the Revelator'. ...and yes that is me I didnt use autotune.

I've repurposed some VFX 3D stuff I did years back and also (for the very astute) some clips from my aborted short film ‘Of Gods and Men’ thats not seen the light of day since 2011.  Now I've covered that whole debacle many times so I don't need to go over it again.  But I have to admit it was nice to finally be able to find a use for some of the plates I did for that.

Ok now to the music side.


Acoustic Guitars: Faith Naked Venus & Fishman Platinum Pro Acoustic preamp
Mandolin: Ozark Custom
Bass: A cheap bass I bought for £50 years back with VERY old strings.
Microphone: C1 Condenser mic
Mandolin Pickup / Mic: Joe Myers ‘The Feather’ & Fishman Platinum Pro Acoustic preamp

The DAW I used was Reaper by the way with various plugins for compressors etc and EQ's  with the video editing done with a mix of Premier and After FX (not for any weird reason other than it worked faster that way in this case.)

So there you go...... done in less than 36 hours with zero budget while on lockdown.  Imagine what I could do if I had an actual budget PMSL.

A funny story about all this:

Now you may notice in places the vocalsync is out...there is a funny story about that!

I was working away and thought ‘ fuck ....this music needs a bit of work!'. 

So I went to sort it out , only to realise I had been working on a very old demo version I recorded back in november and not the final version.  Now at this point the video was nearly done, so I had to re-edit as best I could to the new version and replace the audio. That is why some of the vocal sync is out... as its synced to a different version of the track lol.

So will I do another one?

well..... I'd like to yes, I do have another track done at the same time last year that I rather like, but getting a video to fit that would be a far bigger endeviour.  So in that case I may have to see who I know who has footage in an 1920/30's/40's style ideally with old hospitals in it.  But we'll see.... It depends how bored I get really.