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Finally slapped together a video demo!


Blackbird 13

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It tells me who you guys are as a band, but I'll be honest and say that it drives me crazy that the audio has nothing to do with the video for a majority of it...

 

Yeah.. what sucked is that it seemed like the better audio clips and the better video clips I managed to scour out of what I had weren't mutually exclusive. :(

 

On the positive side, this allowed me to cut video clips quicker than I would have if I'd been tied to the audio, which lends to the pace of the video, and I think adds to the energy of the video (and hopefully, the perceived energy of the band). Besides, it seems like more of a minor thing, and not something that everyone that listens to and books cover bands would get annoyed by...but then, you are a part of that audience, so maybe I'm wrong on that?

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It tells me who you guys are as a band, but I'll be honest and say that it drives me crazy that the audio has nothing to do with the video for a majority of it...

 

 

+1, I gave up after the first 60 seconds because of this issue. In general, you can get away with it to some extent, but it was way too grating IMO in this case.

 

Plus I think the subtitles are way too wordy and intrusive. "Show, don't tell" as the saying goes. You should show yourselves rocking out, and show the crowd having a good time, and if you do that, then you are 80% of the way there. If you want some text also, keep it to a short phrase, and consider a "flash card" approach e.g. 45 seconds of video, fade to a five-word (or whatever) phrase for 3 seconds, then dissolve to the next segment.

 

Just my two cents...

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I agree that it's a little hard to focus on for very long because of the un-synced audio. I thought it was a minor thing at first, but after a minute or so I realized it was a bigger issue than that. But at the same time, I'm a musician and I might be more sensitive to that than others. Play it for somebody more random and get their impression. (They might notice it; they might not; they might have a problem liking the video and not understand the reason why.)

 

I would suggest cutting the length of the video and sticking to wide-band shots as opposed to closeups and using crowd shots that mask the syncing better. Rangefinder's suggestion of using a "flash card" approach to the text would help with that as well. And I agree with him that the text as is it now is a bit distracting as well.

 

But I like the overall pacing and feeling of the edits. It feels energetic. It was just hard for me to focus on it which is, of course, the ultimate goal with the video.

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I don't know, a sub par video (compared with what's out these and becoming more common) with the crawl "a group of professionals who always go the extra mile..." just sort of seem ironic. If I were you, I'd save up and go the extra mile and get a professional video done.

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I don't know, a sub par video (compared with what's out these and becoming more common)

 

 

I might just be coming from the POV of a musician and can't really say what the typical Joe would think, but what annoys me most about a lot of video demos is the poor audio quality when just using the audio from the camera. We're supposed to be BANDS selling our MUSIC, so I think the audio needs to sound as good as it can.

 

I can understand and even appreciate the "here's our band in an obviously un-varnished live setting" approach, but still...the audio in such situations is NEVER a full representation of what the band actually sounds like live. I know it's expensive to record a studio demo or get a good multi-track recording of a live show, but I think it's worth the expense if the video demo is actually going to be used for getting gigs and is something you plan to use for any length of time.

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Not to knock you down more, I would say if you're going to have sub-par audio, then the video end needs to be better quality, and vice versa...but best to have both ends look better.

 

If the audio end is difficult. and you're on a super-strict budget..I have had FANTASTIC results with a Zoom H2, and I believe the H$ is even better quality. Set it 30-50 feet back from the front of the stage at your next gig, let it record for a couple sets...you should almost certainly have a dozen songs you can choose sections from to make a bed for your promo vid.

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with all that has been said so far let me add that from what I saw everything is there to make a decent promo video. Just needs another pass or two.

 

The audio isn't the best but it isn't so terrible that it kills the promo. There seems to be enough video available to cut quicker and cover that the audio doesn't match the vid.

 

Also I would keep it shorter too. Under 4 minutes if you can.

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I had to work with what I had and I understand you are doing the same.

 

 

It isn't that hard to shoot extra "staged" footage. When I wasn't happy with what I had to work with I got the guys together to set up in a garage and just shot a lot of extra footage of us mugging for the camera, jumping, spinning, etc to use as quick-edit filler between the main shots and to add excitement. Pretty much every little quick-edit you see of anybody close-up was shot in this manner. It only took an hour-or-so and really made the difference when editing later because it gave me a ton of footage to work with and a lot of stuff that I could fly in pretty much anywhere I had a bit of video that wasn't good that I wanted to cover up with something else.

 

And because it is mostly all close-up shots, you don't notice that it isn't actually shot on a stage or at a gig.

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I don't know, a sub par video (compared with what's out these and becoming more common) with the crawl "a group of professionals who always go the extra mile..." just sort of seem ironic. If I were you, I'd save up and go the extra mile and get a professional video done.

 

 

I agree with that. I would just hold off till you have somthing that you are really proud of. Take your time and do it right.

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It isn't that hard to shoot extra "staged" footage.

 

:lol: You don't know the guys I play with :lol:

 

I wanted to do something like that for the last demo but everyone kind of just gave me a "meh" so we never did. In the end it turned out good IMO for what I had to work with.

 

We are supposed to have a live, pro shot 4 camera production at a gig we are playing to open a new performing arts theater in my home town. The video is one of the only reasons we are doing the gig.

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I agree with that. I would just hold off till you have somthing that you are really proud of. Take your time and do it right.

 

 

I don't think he has to spend a lot of money having it professionally shot. Like Jeff said, he's got a lot to work with and could fix a bunch of it just by re-editing. It often takes several attempts at it to get it right. And there's a lot of cheap, easy ways he could get more footage to work with.

 

Two easy suggestions for that: have somebody shoot a song or two of just a good wide-angle shot of the band from across the room. You can always cut back to that when you've got major lip-syncing issues.

 

And shoot a song or two of just audience footage. Cutting to a shot of people having a good time beats shot #172 of the band on stage everytime, IMO.

 

But how good your DIY video is going to be is completely dependant on how much time you're willing to put in on it. I literally edited my video frame-by-frame. And it's still far from perfect.

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I don't think he has to spend a lot of money having it professionally shot. Like Jeff said, he's got a lot to work with and could fix a bunch of it just by re-editing. It often takes several attempts at it to get it right. And there's a lot of cheap, easy ways he could get more footage to work with.


Two easy suggestions for that: have somebody shoot a song or two of just a good wide-angle shot of the band from across the room. You can always cut back to that when you've got major lip-syncing issues.


And shoot a song or two of just audience footage. Cutting to a shot of people having a good time beats shot #172 of the band on stage everytime, IMO.


But how good your DIY video is going to be is completely dependant on how much time you're willing to put in on it. I literally edited my video frame-by-frame. And it's still far from perfect.

 

 

True ,,, i think the point is ,, dont launch somthing that you are not willing to live with. Its gonna be on the web a long time and you never know where your first attempts might surface.

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True ,,, i think the point is ,, dont launch somthing that you are not willing to live with. Its gonna be on the web a long time and you never know where your first attempts might surface.

 

 

It's pretty easy to keep your video footage under control. I'll sometimes use YouTube as a way to let other members in the band see video I'm working on and when I do that I use their "private" option so only the people who are sent the URL can see it. And I quickly delete raw stuff after I'm done with it. I did the same thiing with early drafts of our video I posted here. We're not The Beatles. I doubt anyone is going to go to any great effort to 'steal' video of us and keep it for themselves.

 

But yes. I wouldn't put anything up for public consumption I wasn't willing to live with.

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Not to knock you down more, I would say if you're going to have sub-par audio, then the video end needs to be better quality, and vice versa...but best to have both ends look better.


If the audio end is difficult. and you're on a super-strict budget..I have had FANTASTIC results with a Zoom H2, and I believe the H$ is even better quality. Set it 30-50 feet back from the front of the stage at your next gig, let it record for a couple sets...you should almost certainly have a dozen songs you can choose sections from to make a bed for your promo vid.

 

 

Knock me down! I wanna make the thing better, or else I wouldn't have posted it for the HC Forum hivemind to pick apart! I already planned on getting criticisms.. and already planned on weeding through them to make stuff better. As a matter of fact, you guys may not know this.. but a lot of what I did, and didn't do, in this video was as a direct result of comments here on previous promo vids.

 

I originally had text before the video saying that all the audio and video was shot on a $100 Kodak Playsport camera, and that the audio was untouched. After watching it that way, though, it seemed crappy.. like "how much was the video edited then" and "why is the audio out of sync if it wasn't edited" would be the first things people would think (plus it was an extra few seconds before the vid started), so I took it out.

 

Anyways.. I've heard great things about the H2 from a number of people.. but I wonder how much BETTER audio quality it would give me than what I'm getting from the little Kodak camera? I can probably manage to borrow an H2 from a friend.. maybe I should do that and see what kind of results I end up with.

 

(cont..)

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I don't think he has to spend a lot of money having it professionally shot. Like Jeff said, he's got a lot to work with and could fix a bunch of it just by re-editing. It often takes several attempts at it to get it right. And there's a lot of cheap, easy ways he could get more footage to work with.


Two easy suggestions for that: have somebody shoot a song or two of just a good wide-angle shot of the band from across the room. You can always cut back to that when you've got major lip-syncing issues.


And shoot a song or two of just audience footage. Cutting to a shot of people having a good time beats shot #172 of the band on stage everytime, IMO.


But how good your DIY video is going to be is completely dependant on how much time you're willing to put in on it. I literally edited my video frame-by-frame. And it's still far from perfect.

 

 

I have a few wide angle shots I could use...they just usually seem static and boring to me.

 

As far as audience footage.. ugh. There are about six to ten people that come see the band who like using the camera and getting band footage. Despite my pleas to "ignore us and get the people having fun", I end up with VERY little footage of things like that. I've thought about putting the damn camera onstage on the end of a mic stand for a song or two before..but then, the crowd "could be anybody's"...and that kinda defeats the purpose!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for what you guys have said so far.. a lot of it is looking to be very helpful!

 

To modulus, Jeff, guido, rangefinder, and anyone else that mentioned it.. if it were you, would you just remove the text (aside from the logo) altogether?

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Maybe I need to re-think that, as it seems an unpopular decision across the board..

 

 

Go with the consensus. When I was working on my video I tried to address nearly every criticism I got from people here, even though on a lot of them I thought "hey, I worked really HARD on that! I LIKE it!". But in pretty much every case making those changes led to improvements. Most of the guys here know what they are talking about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting about a minute from it wouldn't be that hard with the video (some of that is repetitive and not really needed)...but what songs would you pull out? "The Middle" from the acoustic stuff? I don't know which ones would be better to leave in and take out....

You can always just make all the clips shorter. Taking even just 5 seconds from 12 songs saves you a minute.

 

 

That's an excellent idea.. although like Jeff, I wonder how difficult it will be to get the other guys to actually DO it...

Yeah well...it's always hard to get guys to do stuff they think is 'dorky'. But if can convince them it's for the good of the band....

 

 

 

I have a few wide angle shots I could use...they just usually seem static and boring to me.

Then edit in and out more often from them.

 

 

As far as audience footage.. ugh. There are about six to ten people that come see the band who like using the camera and getting band footage. Despite my pleas to "ignore us and get the people having fun", I end up with VERY little footage of things like that. I've thought about putting the damn camera onstage on the end of a mic stand for a song or two before..but then, the crowd "could be anybody's"...and that kinda defeats the purpose!

 

 

I wouldn't worry about that. Because it's your band and your video you actually COULD use "anybodys" crowd shots and the viewer isn't going to notice. They'll follow the storyboard of the video. It isn't important to make sure part of the band is always visible so people "know" the shot is real. They'll assume it is so use that to your advantage and concentrate on just using what is the best footage.

 

 

To modulus, Jeff, guido, rangefinder, and anyone else that mentioned it.. if it were you, would you just remove the text (aside from the logo) altogether?

 

 

I would. What I did was use "flash card" text at the beginning and end of the video to frame the entire piece. Or you could use "flash cards" as transitions to break up the songs.

 

One thing I really like in band videos that I wanted to do but never (yet) got the footage I wanted to do so, is to use testimonials as transitions---shoot some of your fans at the gig saying "whoo hoo! Broke By Sunday kicks ass!" or whatever. I think such stuff is a really effective use of video and breaks up the monotonous band-on-stage stuff. 3 seconds of some pretty girl saying she likes your band is going to work better with potential clients than 3 minutes of watching you guys sing songs.

 

In reality, people are going to get the gist of what you guys look like on stage in a few seconds. They don't really need to look at the same guy singing for several minutes. So unless you've really got something visually different to show them on stage---different singers, different clothes, different angles, different venue, etc. (your video perks up everytime you switch the angle or when you come in singing one song)--I'd focus on using as much 'other' footage as possible.

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Jason, certainly a good start and given the materials and footage you have a good first attempt. But as others have said it needs some serious refining to hide flaws in the audio and video and really sell you guys as a band. The inconsistency of the audio is a problem further marred by some poor video footage. I think Kmart said it: poor audio can be forgiven with some dynamic looking video. Jeff's advice of faster cuts is spot on, especially for the lack of the audience shots. After all, you guys perform well but there isn't alot of action on stage... you guys have your hands full performing. The text is way too much... and honestly a little professional sounding (coming from a band presenting itself as a party band). Loosen up. Leave the wordy stuff if you cut a demo for the corporate market. Testimonials are good if they aren't too wordy.

 

I'm in a similar boat. I just started working on a video demo for us (about time I only have 130+ something videos of edited gig recaps, etc). Even though I have 50+ hours of decent footage over the years the audio was always a little hard to work with. I've had a Zoom H4 for several years now (the first model) and I decided to try recording off the board using direct inputs. The recording is a little dry, snare and bass are low in the mix, but it's clean. So I 've been using that and it sounds better than the camera audio. Plus it captures the energy of us playing live (even if the crowd isn't in the mix). I'm on the fence with how it looks/sounds. I'll probably PM a few of you in here to get some feedback. It's always good to have another eye look at your work. Add that to what your gut tells you and divide by 2. ;)

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Hey I believe in truth in advertising. That is why I got on you about your PA. BTW does your whole PA even cost 3 grand?

 

 

Well, new, sure.. but most of the stuff is used. I doubt I have that much in it. I'll stand by it though. Besides, three of us are doing this as a full time job. Under "profession" on a form, I would write "musician", or something similar. By that standard.. any PA we're using on a consistant basis is a "pro level PA", right? And I go back to what I said... it isn't which brand name is on the logo on the grill of your speaker, how you use what you have.

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