Advice on making your own Music videos with Stock video clips – part 2

Part 2 of 2

Downloading files

Although offering numerous short high quality video footage, one thing that I disliked about the search function on Videoblocks was that the same clips come up multiple times, during searches.

I realized there could be some problems with remembering everything while saving to the website “folders” or whatever they are called.
So I dodged that problem by going directly for the download kill.
Worst case, I’d download the same clip to two different hard drive folders, but that rarely happened.
Usually, I got the overwrite question and simply cancelled downloading.

Here is a very important reminder for that site though: You must NOT accidentally or deliberately download multiple files from the site at the same time!! This is not clearly enough stated on the website, IMO, and I had my account locked until communication finally was established. But if you can avoid this issue all together, you’d most likely be fine.
Moving on…

Reminder about Categorizing or indexing your clips (recap)

This is done for the similar reason to why sections in a library are organized the way they are. Imagine trying to find a specific book fast, if all the books where simply thrown into the corners…

This is why it’s important to create custom folders on the hard drive and with sub folders as well, to reduce the search for clips later on. Or you could make sub folders later, and use large thumbnails to decide where to put each clip.
Normally, I prefer to use the detailed list view in Windows Explorer, so this would be an exception for me.
See part 1 for more detailed advice in file viewing for importing clips into your video editing software.

The ever present risk of popular clips being overused

You should be aware that certain clips on any popular video service like Videoblocks can – and will be overused. If not already then sooner or later.
(This is similar to the use of text templates, transition effects, or brand new premium music loops, sound effects & popular sample libraries with certain instruments.)

For instance, the same frigging Week as I uploaded my Nocturne no.1 Music video to Youtube, I then spotted the very opening video clip in a new official Music video for a big label Metal band!

Here is that very moment:
Equilibrium – Prey (Official Lyrics video), uploaded by their label, Nuclear Blast Records, on Youtube
(I’m not into that band much myself, but I checked these videos since a good friend, Gaby Koss sang on their first albums.)

Here is a soft song where another video clip that I used can be found in the official Music video:
Amber Run – “I found” (official VEVO channel on Youtube)
(note: Other parts of the the Music video context could be a bit uncomfortable to watch perhaps)

Yet another example of a few video clips that might become overused later on was already put very skillfully by another good friend, Steve Brookfield. I have no proof of that, only my personal theory, since I too had downloaded multiple video clips that were used in this awesome Dracula Music video of his.
Steve Brookfield – “I’m not alone” (Dracula Soundtrack)

 

Your personal conclusion for risk of overuse?

However, if putting close attention to editing details, the creativity and the correlation with your personal music might still be unique enough even so.
Or what do you think about different music for my piano composition and that Equilibrium Metal song (“Prey”)? Too similar usage and delivered feeling and context or not?
Two matches might not be the full picture, there might or might not be tons of other Youtube videos with the same clips. I haven’t checked that in depth…

hand picked video clips correlating with the music

In general, the feel of the music video should reflect the musical context and vice versa, (unless you’re making a deliberate point with paradoxes etc. that would overrule that advice.)

In my piano music video, you could find that the direction of the music, even pitch-wise sometimes follows the direction of the visuals.
It might sound cartoon-ish or childish when I describe this in text perhaps, but if done subtle enough, I believe it would work well even for serious and emotional music.
You’d be the judge there though.


Video clips quality correlating with each other

Also, it’s good if the clips you use are of similar quality.
Imagine having all those professional full HD 1080p clips, and all of the sudden throw in a shaky or blurry 480p clip with saturated colors, filmed with an old shaky cell phone cam? Just because you couldn’t find that particular footage elsewhere?

Well, sometimes it might be unavoidable, but in general I think it would do more harm than good, at least in the eyes of the viewers. As always, there might be exceptions, for instance whenever you’d wish to create strong contrasts by change of visual qualities.

Equally important if not more, is to use clips with the same original frame rate! I always prefer 30 fps (or 29.790) over 24 or 25, because to me, it looks a lot smoother and professional if filmed correctly. Fps means “Frames per second” in the videos.

But even the 30 fps clips can start to lag if you combine with 24 / 25 fps clips !
This has to do with the rendering/encoding process, although some video editors might have built-in functions to prevent that. The cheapest ones most likely don’t though.


Timing of the video clip editing

The timing of each clip is also important, to go with the flow of the music, and even timing it to the tempo and beat, or to accents in music with more free tempo. You see this quality in just about every professional Music video, and also for film music in movies.

Think of a Music video where the lip sync or instrument performance is horribly out of sync.
Those might be the most obvious cases when people would react negatively from it.

But what about correlating evolving moods, or peaks & valleys in musical phrases
To me, that is important to create the stronger emotional result, and it would be perceived as more polished too, I feel.


Transitions between video clips

This is an interesting topic too, and might often be an underrated one.
In music, I think attention to this often can be the difference between good music and great timeless work of art.
I’d say that it’s way more common to pay attention to this in video editing for media than in composing for media. though.
There are a few reasons for that, but I won’t go into that discussion just now, but it’s good to keep this aspect of editing in mind nevertheless.

For my own Music video, there are one or two transitions that I wasn’t as happy with, and especially one of them.
Perhaps you could tell which one?


Text editing

The correlation in style between video context and music has been mentioned already.
But the style of the text fonts also affect the perceived quality of the whole package.
Choosing fonts and editing size, placement and timing can be a pain, I feel.
It depends on the video editing software, and how well you can use this feature intuitively and with accuracy.

If you wish that the text should be clearly readable on cell phones etc. then have that in mind if you work on a bigger screen. I probably could have chosen a bigger font size for my own piano music video there… So perhaps a lesson learned.

Closing comment

All things said and done, I think creating your own music videos can be very fun, opening up for new perspectives and even inspire you to approach your music in new ways, if you allow it.

Video editing can be time consuming, and requires attention to details and precise timing in general for the best results, even if you have expensive software and video clips.
(But having it will most likely save you lots of editing time spent.)
Also, don’t forget to make conscious considerations for how to make the visuals correlate with your music, whether it’s timing of phrases, footage with the right moods, or if you wish to tell obvious and/or subtle stories through connecting your musical motifs with the visual ones.

This mini-series is from a Music video and composer’s perspective, but there are certainly many tutorials on the video editing subjects, who are way more detailed than this. Let me know if you found some great ones for the most common software, or for video editing in general.

A new track of mine, with correlations to visual storytelling:

I plan to make more music videos later this year, but will keep focusing more on music for licensing onwards.
(Some of those new tracks do have specific storytelling and correlation with visual associations in them, like this new track of mine:
Assassin Hunted (music for licensing)

Either way, best wishes with your music and Music videos, and feel free to let me know if this mini-series have helped or inspired you in any way!
Don’t forget to check my other blog posts and other website sections too!

Update: Here is my second piano music video, using the same video editing software:

/ Fredrik

Advice on making your own Music videos with Stock video clips – part 1

 Part 1 of 2

(note: I will update this post some more soon)

Nocturne no.1 screenshot 1

Nocturne no.1 screenshot 2

If you have your own music and would love to have real video footage for it,
then the advice in this blog post is for you!

 

If you are more into shooting videos yourself, you could read Dirk Radloff’s excellent 2-part blog posts on DIY Music video creations:

https://heartscore.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/music-and-video-part-1-preparations/
https://heartscore.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/music-and-video-part-2-concepts/

 

But if you’re like me, and rather would have a bunch of high quality footage that you hand picked for a track, then the editing can be joyful, and you’d know you got nice chances of making the end results look good.

I have made my first one from stock video clips myself!
Happy with the results overall and had very nice nods from musicians/composing friends! And a few asked for a some directions and where I got the footage from.

Recommending watching it before you read more about my advice on making music videos below.
That way you’d be less biased with your initial perception for certain details. (I will explain further on)

Hopefully it can inspire you!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSJGCg3ChKI
Nocturne no.1 screenshot 3

I had picked a bunch of full HD videos (1080p), with beautiful nature scenes, then exclusively tailored the clip editing for the evolving dynamic phrases and context in my piano composition.

(note: I’m testing monetizing for the clip, but opted out of the longest ads)

I did a few video editing tryouts a few years ago, but since it was my first attempt with stock video clips, I’d say you can do similar things too, if you have/get sufficient:

  • Video editing software and basic skills in editing with it
  • enough High quality Video clips to choose from
  • emotional and dynamic original music
  • Knowledge and skills in visual media analyzing.
  • Knowledge and skills in analyzing music

I’d say all five aspects are important for your best results, although you probably can get good results even without having assessed your own visual media analyzing skills.

If you have the interest in it since before, then chances are that you have good abilities already.
You don’t need a master degree to have the talent, which of course also goes for analyzing music and creating emotional compositions, (even though I believe educated knowledge and skills often do help)

 

Stock video footage mentions

There are a few websites that share Creative Common clips for collabs, such as Vimeo (not all of the clips), but I went with a Videoblocks subscription for this and some upcoming ones.

There are pros and cons about using a single service as a source however, even if the clips are high quality.
(more about that in next blog part)

To begin with, it’s time consuming to select video clips and also to download them one at the time. (Make damned sure you only download one at the time if you use Videoblocks, or you can run into trouble with your account.)
But once I had hand picked, downloaded and also categorized the video clips meticulously on my hard drive, it was quite easy to put it together. (You could also )

I suppose it’s easier with music you know like your back pocket because you wrote it yourself… Although creating your own footage has some clear advantages as well.

The music videos is something I really have missed having, since much of my music is related to stories, visuals and other contexts in the first place.

 

Categorize your downloaded clips!

This is done for the similar reason to why sections in a library are organized the way they are. Imagine trying to find a specific book fast, if all the books where simply thrown into the corners…

This is why it’s important to create custom folders on the hard drive and with sub folders as well, to reduce the search for clips later on. Or you could make sub folders later, and use large thumbnails to decide where to put each clip.
Normally, I prefer to use the detailed list view in Windows Explorer, so this would be an exception for me.

About obtaining s large number of video clips, it’s important to either categorize on the website interface, or doing it manually on your own hard drive.

The latter is how I wanted it. Any given moment, I want to have quick access to the files, e.g. if getting a sudden urge to just direct away without any further time consuming delays.
It’s time consuming enough to edit the video, if paying attention to details like timing, transitions, text design etc.

For categorizing, you should make up your own mind what works best for you.
For me, I use different kinds of video contexts, like different situations in the clips to decide what category I’d put each clip in.

Also, some clips would fit into multiple categories.
For instance, what if you have downloaded a clip with some people in a beautiful sunset, playing beach volleyball?
Should you put it in NATURE/SKIES, or PEOPLE/LEISURE, or SPORTS/OUTDOORS ?

(movie reference riddle: or “M for Miscellaneous?”
That movie scene highly correlating with this advice, so what’s it gonna be, “Marv”?
That nick name hint was spelled correctly, thank you very much.
So guess the movie? Late 80’s action film…

It can be inspiring to think in terms of film scripts and the visual aspects in films, even for composing inspiration sometimes, I think.)

Back to topic – In general, whenever starting a new video project, you’d want to find what you are looking for FAST, (just like scene in the movie riddle above.)

So for choosing where to save video files, I look at the strongest feature or most likely usage, and put it there, then put a shortcut link to other secondary choices of folders, where it also would fit.
Using shortcuts in multiple secondary folders also saves time later, or you’d risk having trouble finding what you look for. Shortcut links saves a lot of space, compared to copying files over and over again, so if doing this, I recommend using the Windows Explorer file viewer, or whatever file viewer you use on your device.
Either that, or “view all file formats” if available in your video editor software, or the shortcuts wouldn’t show up.
It works if you use the File explorer and open the shortcut files. Then it takes you right to the original folder for the video clips. Now you can easily select those clips to be imported into the video editor.
I have just about everything on my hard drives categorized like that, by the way.

Whenever you have lots of files, you truly find them quicker this way.
Also, don’t download big files of any kind directly to your desktop folder!
It would just takes up unnecessary space on your OS hard drive (which often is a small SSD disk)
Your desktop space is for shortcut links to programs, files and some functions! Not for the actual files!

 

Decide what you’re looking for, and choose search words wisely!

Videoblocks has many useable video clips, and Video effect templates like After Effects files.
It’s fairly easy to search for clips that you look for.

The search functions and it’s categorizes can always be better, but works for the most time. Finding all clips that would be of interest or even all clips within a certain category can be time consuming though.

It depends on how the clips are titled, and what tag words they use.
For instance, while looking for Nature footage, you could miss out on some, who might be named/tagged being from a certain country or area, etc.

Enough for today, but there is more specific advice coming up! (aiming for end of August)

Included in next blog part:

  • The ever present risk of popular clips being overused, and some workaround advice
  • Hand picked video clips correlating with the music and with each other
  • Important advice on Frame rates
  • editing timing and transition
  • Text editing for the video

    Thank you for reading! Let me know your thoughts on this.

    Link to Part 2/2