My Project For this project, I decided to make a music video for the song “One Day” by Matisyahu Ft. Akon. We were required to make something that was considered a way of „visually communicating‟ with another, and I recalled that music videos are an example of a „condensed code‟, combining several signs together to form a new, composite meaning.
Why a Music Video? I used to act in my brother‟s independent film projects when we were in high school, so I thought that this would be a chance for me to try out the filming process. I‟m a writer and have written scripts for projects, but never have I ever tried something like this. This was a way for me to broaden my horizons and learn something new.
Why This Song? I thought that this was an inspirational song the first time I heard it, especially when there is so much violence and hate in the world today. It sends a good message about bringing people together.
The Starting Point After getting my pitch sheet accepted, I was faced with the question of how I was actually going to achieve making this music video. I had no video camera, I knew nothing about editing, and had never done anything like this before in my life. The closest thing I had experience with was using Windows Movie Maker to produce electronic newsletters in high school.
The Starting Point I did, however, have a camera that recorded segments of video, which was what I used when I went to concerts, and I had gotten decent footage from it in the past. So I would have to use my Kodak EasyShare C180 to shoot this project.
Building A Storyboard I knew that I wanted a video that showed the simple things in life, where everyday people are enjoying life. Today it seems that happiness is defined as having a two-story house on the beach with a sports car in the driveway, and not everyone has that. Happiness is about friends, family, love, and the simple things in life that make you smile. That‟s what I wanted the concept to be for this video.
Strengths & Weaknesses I‟m a photographer so I know how to point a camera and shoot, so I figured that filming wouldnt be any different. I had that covered, but what was I going to do about editing this thing when it was all done? There is this guy that I knew back in high school who was pretty good at editing videos, and that was what he was planning on doing with his life when he finished school – becoming a video editor.
Strengths & Weaknesses I gave the guy I knew a call and asked him if he would be able to help me with the editing process at the end of the filming, and I would of course give him credit as doing so. He said he wouldnt mind and even offered to let me use his HD video camera to do the recordings since he knew I didn‟t have a camera of my own. I appreciated it and figured I was all set to make this an awesome project… how wrong I was.
Filmed on Location I wanted to do all of the filming back home in Brevard County, since that is where I‟m from, and I know where I can get footage. I also know people there who I can film and wouldn‟t have a problem with it. I would be filming in my hometown of Indialantic, as well as in Melbourne and Cocoa Beach. In Orlando, I would get footage of UCF and my friends here.
Good To Go I was all set to start filming for the video. Downtown Melbourne has a monthly street fest where they close off the road and vendors set up booths. People in the area come out to eat and drink, and there is music and entertainment for the entire family. My friend agreed to meet up with me and bring his camera for me to film the „night life‟, so I was happy, thinking that this would be a smooth process. How wrong I was…
First Night of Filming When I showed up at the street party and met up with my friend, I was excited and ready to start filming; however, he didn‟t look as thrilled as me. When he pulled out his camera for us to start filming, he only then realized that he had 2% battery power, meaning his camera was practically dead. I had thought he was only joking, always been a comical kind of guy, but when he showed me, I felt all the colour drain from my face, seeing he was right.
First Night of Filming I didn‟t panic, seeing that he had his charger with him, so I just found an outlet near one of the street lights and plugged it in to charge. We waited around about a half an hour before there was enough battery life, getting to work on filming. He didn‟t want me touching his camera, so I directed him, finding the shots that I wanted and telling him exactly how I wanted it captured.
Friday Fest All throughout the night, I saw that there were things that were filmable, but I wondered whether or not they would actually be interesting enough to put into the video. There is always a drum circle at Friday Fest where people come out with traditional hand drums and belly dancers join them to dance. I knew that would be interesting, so we headed over there to film.
Friday Fest The dancers weren‟t exactly the best I had ever seen, and I knew that I had to make sure that I got at least something useable from the three hours or so we were out there. I belly dance, so I made sure that I went out and joined them, despite being in jeans, and made sure that my friend got a shot of me dancing, which I would use for the film.
Disaster Strikes After converting the footage into .wmv files, my friend brought the clips for me to see the next day what he had filmed for me. Upon looking at the clips, I saw that he had done a terrible job at filming and that of the 16+ shots we had gotten, I didn‟t think that any were usable except for the shot of me belly dancing. They were unfocused, not angled well, and all around was sloppy work for a guy who is getting a minor in film.
You Want Something Done Right? I thanked my friend for his work, telling him that I would call him in a few weeks about the editing, but knew that there was no way that would ever happen. After seeing how badly he had filmed I knew that I couldn‟t trust him to edit my footage, nor did I want his help with anymore filming. I would do it all myself without anyone‟s help. I guess the saying is right: when you want something done right, you‟ve gotta do it yourself.
Getting It Done I filmed various locations for this project, all which I believed captured what everyday life was: people working, kids playing, dancing, and laughing. I ran around Brevard County filming anything interesting that I could find with my Kodak camera, and was able to use my photography background to help me get certain shots at different angles to see how it affected the image.
Putting It Together I knew that I wanted the video to contain clips during the chorus showing people singing „one day‟, which I hoped to represent how, even though it may not be entirely possible, people do hope for a better world without all the violence that we face. As for the rest of the video, I soon saw that the idea I initially had wasn‟t going to come through since the footage I had actually gotten differed from what I had imagined getting.
Putting It Together I ended up having to change my storyboard around to fit the images that I actually did acquire, but ended up liking what I came up with. It wasn‟t exactly how I envisioned it to begin with, but I knew that would have to do since it was out of my control at that point. I needed to start editing this video.
Editing As mentioned before, I had no prior experience concerning editing, because when I first put this project together, I was under the impression I would be aided by my friend. So I opened up Windows Movie Maker and decided to use that, knowing a few tricks to use on that. I could put together a decent video from it that didn‟t look absolutely terrible.
Editing Movie Maker ended up not working because I would have had to convert all the files and I didn‟t have time for that, so I would end up just having to use the iMovie feature on my laptop instead. After hours of playing around on that and trying to figure it out, I felt comfortable enough with the program and decided to start putting my video together.
iMovie It wasn‟t the worst thing possible, but there were some points where I was frustrated beyond belief, ready to punch a hole in the wall. Editing this video was much harder than I ever expected, having to match up audio with the visual material, and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing didn‟t make the project any easier on me.
I Made It Over six hours was put forth, but I was finally finished with the video, and it was all ready to go. I was actually quite happy with the final project and saw it as an achievement, where I accomplished something.
What I Learned First and foremost, I learned how to edit a video using iMovie. I think that was the biggest accomplishment from this entire thing, because that was something I never thought I would have do. I‟m not saying that I‟m good enough to edit the next Hollywood blockbuster film by any means, but I do believe that I did put together a satisfactory video for this project.
What I Learned This project also reinforced my earlier belief that you can‟t count on anyone to help you. I had asked that other person weeks before filming if he would be able to help me, and told him that if he couldn‟t I would understand and that he didn‟t have to feel obligated to help me. I trusted him and he only let me down, just like everyone else does.
During Filming There were many times that I was told that I couldn‟t film at a certain location because of certain reasons, which I respected, always asking permission first, so that cut down on the number of shots that I could use. I actually felt like a nuisance at some points of filming, because there were times when I was filming things that I probably shouldn‟t have been, but I was on a public sidewalk so I couldnt be arrested.
Can You Say Awkward? For example, the wedding clip at the beginning was shot in Cocoa Village, where an outdoor wedding was taking place. I did did not know the couple, nor did I know anyone else present, was merely passing by, having spent the day up there gathering footage of an art festival that was taking place.
Can You Say Awkward? I was just in the right place at the right time when I saw the couple starting to walk down the aisle, so I pulled out my camera and go the shot, standing on the sidewalk. The bride didn‟t seem to care, too caught up in the moment of being the new Mrs. Whatever, smiling brightly, but if you look at the clip, you‟ll see the groom give me a „who are you?‟ look when they passed by. I just smiled at him, in response. After all, I was just a student trying to get my project done.
Last Thoughts All in all, I thought that this project was a lot of fun and it helped me grow, teaching me something new. I wasn‟t in my comfort zone and was basically thrown into it with no idea what to expect, but luckily, everything worked out for me. This is a video that I‟m proud of, despite what others may say, and from this, I‟m going to continue to make short films and such, just like my brother does.
Credits Song written and performed by Matisyahu and Akon Video filmed and edited by Sarika Ramdular Scene from video of belly dancing with the drum circle filmed by Kyle Contorno Filmed on Location in Brevard County, FL and UCF Orlando Campus. 2011 Ramdular Productions All rights reserved