Fourteen months since Shawn from the Zeros approached me about doing a promotional video for the band. Twelve months since I put together what was essentially a dry run by editing a full song from a concert they put on last spring (of 2015). Another ten months or so of occasionally shooting video footage with nothing very definitive in mind about what I was going to put together, and between other jobs and priorities on both sides, the project effectively went into abeyance. Then, one winter night, while randomly channel surfing, an unexpected inspiration for a hook in the video that re-ignited the project. But that required learning to do some specific tricks in Adobe, so that took time. Then finally, about three weeks of intensive editing once I got started. All for a two minute, forty-five second video.
Indeed, video is definitely a different animal from photography.
I had an idea of what I was getting into when I began to move into video. And it was intimidating. The commitment required is—I don’t want to say greater than—but it’s different from the commitment required for photography. The editing process is absolutely more intense and time consuming, which is the nature of the beast. And for someone as meticulous and, frankly, a perfectionist like me, it has been all-consuming.
Anyway. To finally be at the point where we’re releasing the finished product after so long, and after a period where I wondered if I ever would resume the project, much less actually finish it, is a relief. And gratifying. I’ve had a lot of self doubt as to whether I was really cut out for videography, and I think in a big way that acted as a block on my ability to follow through. Slowly but surely, however, I completed other video projects, studied what other videographers were doing, and gradually my self-confidence in my ability to do this asserted itself.
As to the video, I knew for a long time that I wanted to keep it somewhat brief. Getting people to view a video is a greater challenge than viewing a photo gallery. You can click through a photo gallery in seconds and maybe stop at one and take it in before moving on, but with video, it’s a different thing to get people to even click play, much less sit through the entire clip. I’ve seen some great promo videos for other acts, with high production values, but I’d realize I kind of got what I needed to get out of it by the second or third minute, and there’d still be another seven minutes to go. I think it’s more important to get to the point and give people just enough to let them know what the product is about and leave them wanting to know more. Even three minutes might be a bit too long, and this video is 2:45, but I rationalized it by having the final 30 seconds be a long fade out with the band’s name and contact info featured.
There are a couple of things I expect people might be wondering about in this video, and the first would be the logo sting at the beginning and end. I’ll be honest, I bought an 80s theme preset animation and customized it accordingly. In other words, I cheated ;-). But I did jimmy it enough to cleverly segue it into and out of the video smoothly.
The second thing are the freeze frame action shots of each band member starting at the 40 second mark. Those were inspired by the end credits of the comedy movie “Hot Tub Time Machine”. That was what I stumbled on that late night last winter while channel surfing that reignited the project for me. I hadn’t seen the movie since it was released however many years ago, but after seeing the end credits again, I knew I was going to find a way to use that idea for the Zeros. A strangely compelling argument for having cable? Well.
Knowing I wanted to use that idea is one thing, figuring out how to do it was something else. And that’s where the beauty of the Adobe Creative Suite came in. I built each of the freeze frames as a layered Photoshop file, imported those into After Effects and animated each layer, then finally brought them into Premiere. So simple, yet so intensive. Woe to the perfectionist.
So that’s it. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to finally share this publicly. I know the band is excited about it, I’m excited about it, and to see something like this finally just be DONE is a huge deal. Thanks to the band for giving me the space and time to realize my vision. I definitely look forward to the next project going quicker ;-).
BONUS Video Clip: The aforementioned full clip of the Zeros performing New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” from last spring (2015).