I'm shooting and editing a music video for a friend. I'm not a music video shooter or editor, but everyone has to start somewhere.
She's written and recorded a song that was inspired by her work with foster kids, but it's become an anthem for going beyond yourself and your past, and getting out into your community and doing some good.
So, on this past #DoGoodDay, I decided to spend some time testing a technical filming technique that I hope to use in her video. I first discovered this particular technique when I was in high school in 1983, when I saw the video for "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police.
What stopped me in my tracks all those years ago was that Sting is clearly singing in slow-motion, but he's singing along with the words of the song. This blew my 16-year-old mind.
I thought for a long time about how to achieve this. In the pre-Internet days, you had to wait for MTV's Behind The Music to show you how the directors achieved their tricks, so I had to just go with my best guess.
My guess turned out to be correct, and now it takes five minutes to find 50 how-to videos on this technique, tagged with keywords "video effects."
What they did was double the speed of the recorded audio track, and then have the performers lip-sync to this super-fast version of their song, while filming at a high frame-rate video recording. Then, when everything is slowed back down to half the recorded speed, it syncs perfectly to the original recording.
So, I decided to give it a try. I recruited friend, model and fellow photographer Bailey to help me. Turns out, in addition to all those things, she's also an expert at spinning around while singing at twice normal speed. A rare set of skills, I have to say.
We shot at the Greenwood Urban Wetlands in Downtown Orlando. Love this place... it's like you're in the wilderness, but only 10 minutes from the center of everything.
We needed a song that Bailey knew all the words to, so we could test the lip-sync timing. She chose "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift, which is slow enough to lip-sync to when it's sped up to twice the normal tempo. I used Adobe Audition to double the speed and keep the pitch normal. Then I saved this version to my phone, so I could play it over a bluetooth speaker while filming Bailey dancing. We wanted lots of high-energy motion to make the slow-mo effective.
We spent a few hours recording a variety of shots, in several different outfits and settings. Bailey shot some of it with a selfie-stick. I shot some of her walking, spinning, and just singing the words.
I think the technique worked, and I'm looking forward to using it (sparingly) in the final music video. Please let me know what you think of our efforts in the comments.