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Making your first music video

Like many of you, I’ve wanted to create since I was little. Whether it was stories on my dad’s computer, stop-motion Lego fight scenes or lip-sync videos with my brother, I was always making something. But, like many of us, I fell out of love with the process, school, and life catch up to you and you’ve succumbed to the mind-numbing tasks of everyday reality. Well, luckily this story is different, this isn’t a “woah is me '' what could have been story. This is a call to go out there and make cool shit again. 

I had never made a music video before, I knew little of the process, didn’t know how to edit, and didn’t even have a camera. One day I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by a band I followed named Jules Bonnot, talking about their new single Bleed. For whatever reason, with no thoughts of consequence, I sent a message asking to film a music video for them. Well, to my fortune, they said yes. 

Over the span of two weeks, I listened to the song on repeat what feels like a million times. I listened to it when I first woke up when I was in the shower while falling asleep. Doing whatever I could to get visuals in my head. Hours were spent watching my favorite music videos, looking for cameras, buying more equipment so it would work, scouting etc, etc. This all culminated in a storyboard that looks nothing like the finished product.

From the creation of the storyboard to the actual day of filming was the longest wait of my lifetime. The process of thinking of something new and writing it down, seeing if it'll work, scrapping old ideas, and the nerves, oh the nerves. I then learned that this is normal.

For all of the waiting, the filming went by in a blur. The camera I used (JVC handheld) had some horrible battery life and I have never shot on tape before, so the process had to be quick. We set up on a roof in the middle of downtown Ann Arbor MI, and we did the whole song in one take. There was no clear direction, mostly me panning in and out around them while they played. The real fun was the filler shots afterward. This is where we had real room to do whatever, I filmed them messing around on some boards I happened to have in my car, they drank fake blood and we got kicked out. I say it went really well in retrospect.

So now I had about 8 minutes of film to sort through and somehow make into a comprehensible video. I started by watching a video on how to edit in Premiere Pro, which cost me an arm and a leg. After not understanding a thing, I turned to Davinci Resolve and cut together a very very rough draft which I hated. The actual synching of the audio and video can be attributed to something otherworldly because it was almost impossible. The video was missing something, and I no longer had the ability to film anymore so I turned to other ideas. In the research part of the process, I learned more about the Cole Bennett style of drawing on the video itself. This turned out to be a fatal mistake. 

The process would then take me another solid 3 weeks of drawing on the video, frame by frame in After Effects. It would be less of a pain if my computer didn’t overheat and lag every 10 minutes of editing. During the editing, I had to listen to the song another 543,230 times over, and at this point, I was the number one listener. After several crashes, having to restart completely at one point, and feeling defeated, I had something.

Waiting for feedback on the video felt like waiting for a big test score. Once I had received the notes, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t salty. In retrospect, I’m grateful for outside perspective and input, but deleting the hundreds of frames I had spent time on hurt a little. This is also normal. 

The worst part was showing the video to my family. They have never been one to understand the creative side of me so anything deemed “different” was automatically bad to them. Their reaction was lukewarm at best and it made me reconsider the whole thing. But, I see this now as a blessing. If your art is automatically praised by everyone then it has failed. All good art has its critics and it wasn’t for them. It was for me.

So, 3 months after the initial message, the music video was out. I had done it. For the first time in a while, I had set out to do something creatively and succeeded. Without the help of the guys in Jules Bonnot and my partner in crime Emma, none of it would have come to fruition. There’s a lot I took away from this whole experiment and hopefully, this can inspire someone out there to just take the leap. Go out there and make some cool shit. Live long and live VASH.

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2 תגובות

04 בפבר׳

Awesome article! Keep putting yourself out there and creating, even though it’s difficult. Great work, Ben!


Karly Maroney
Karly Maroney
02 בפבר׳

Relatable & light-hearted inspiration we all need to hear! Thanks for sharing Ben, keep making cool stuff 🎥

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