You know it’s a different kind of church when you see one making music videos. You’re probably not too surprised to hear that’s the kind of church I go to. And you’re probably not too surprised to hear I’m involved.
I spent a healthy chunk of time Monday editing video. A local radio personality recorded a version of “Mary Did You Know?” a few years back. I know, that doesn’t sound good, but his version is pretty powerful. I’ve heard several versions of it, and I think I like his best, and I’m not just saying that because I know people who know him. I’m also not just saying that because he gave us permission to use the recording. If that version wasn’t good, I’d have assembled a band to re-record it–one of the guys in my Bible study group plays guitar, and another one of them plays drums and has a recording studio in his basement.
So anyway, I’ve got a song I can legally use, and we secured permission to use a couple of different movies about Jesus so we’d have some footage to put to the video. And I gave myself a crash course in Premiere. Put the emphasis on “crash,” because I did bluescreen 2000 at one point. I muttered something about toy operating systems and got back to work. I hope Adobe eventually gets a clue about Linux–there’s plenty of proprietary, high-end video stuff out there for Linux, but nothing in the prosumer arena yet. And I do believe that if you build it, they will come.
After too many hours, I had something halfway workable. Since I was dealing with professional footage, I had a giant headstart. My partner in crime, Brad, had written up an outline that I more or less followed. There were one or two minor points where I didn’t agree with him about where the video fit, so I changed them, but I’d say I went with his outline 75% of the time, if not much more.
So I called Brad and asked him if he wanted to come over. I figured out how to get my DV500 to output to my ancient Commodore composite monitor, which was a good thing, The video was showing up much too dark on my computer screen, but when I exported to NTSC it was beautiful. I’d been playing with levels trying to get it right; I ended up just undoing all of the changes.
What I had can’t be considered finished product; the transitions are pretty lame where there are any at all, and I had a couple of gaps where I didn’t have any video that fit so I threw in a Rembrandt painting. Then I noticed that it didn’t matter what you did to the color on a Rembrandt painting; it still looked far better than any video I’ve ever seen, so I went looking for other Rembrandt paintings to put in. So the video was substantially done, but there’ll be minor changes.
It blew Brad away. I’ll admit, I learned from our first video, so the big mistakes that were in the first video aren’t in this one. And Premiere has great tools to help you avoid those mistakes–you can set the timeline to show every single frame in the video, and to show the waveform of the audio, which takes the guesswork out of transitions and lining things up.
At the end of it, Brad turned to me. “Dave, you are an artist. Do you know that?”
I’m not so sure about that one. Brad’s my ideas man. He tells me what he sees in his head, then I try to find a way to somehow put it up on the screen. And every once in a while I’ll get a better idea. Those are usually 3-4 seconds long. So then I revert back to his. And the result is something that looks decent. Plus a number of the things that happened were just accidents. I had some video of Jesus and the disciples walking through a field with some sheep in the background. I threw it in for lack of anything else to put there. Then about the 10th time I’d played through that sequence–you do a lot of playback during editing–I noticed that during the line “Did you know that your baby boy was Heaven’s perfect lamb?” Jesus happened to look down–towards a lamb walking past. I’d be pretty impressed if someone else put that subtle detail in there. But this was an accident. Or, more likely, it was God doing me a favor.
It’s been a lot of work, but a lot of fun.
And, incidentally, if you ever find yourself having to do any video production, Premiere 6 is an excellent product. I really dislike Adobe as a company, and I wish there were a better product out there than Premiere 6, but I sure haven’t found it. At $250, the Pinnacle DV200 bundled with Premiere 6 is a steal. If you’re into home movies and already have a camcorder with a firewire port (or are considering one), a DV200 and a little time will give you the snazziest home movies on the block.