Recent Video Production Work
2013 is going to be the Year Of The Demo Video here at Rocket Music! We've toyed around with the concept the past couple of years with marginal results. This year, we're going to actually make it happen. Realistically, I'm hoping we're able to push out a new video every week or so (once we're fully setup)...
Step 1 on the path to getting fully setup has been revisiting the branding that we want to have as a component of every video we produce. That involves an intro and an outro segment along with some audio that will hopefully become well recognized and associated immediately with us. It's a concept called "audio branding". Think Intel's ubiqitous "boom bah booh bing" or NBC's three tone "chimes" theme. You hear those short, simple themes, and you know immediately who's involved.
Personally, no matter what the marketing professors might say, I still want to go a little bit beyond the 3-4 tone thing. Danny's a guitar guy, I'm a bass guy... I want our "audio brand" to reflect that. So I've taken another run at the previous video intro theme that we came up with some time back. I've simplified the instrumentation, and I REALLY massaged the mix to the best of my abilities. I think I'm on Day 4 mixing this little 16-second jingle. I'm still learning to mix properly, and this little project was just another excuse for me to push my skills beyond where they were. Destructive EQ was the name of the game this week: I spent a lot of time removing un-neccessary frequency content from every instrument in the mix. You know you're a perfectionist when you spend 45 minutes tweaking the EQ on the tamborine. :help::rollno::D
Being a little happy with the progress I've made on fretless over the past couple years, I decided to re-record the bassline using my Roscoe Century Signature V fretless. I figure that if I'm going to have to listen to this jingle every week for the next however many months or years, I probably want it to be something that represents my most recent playing style. It's hard to capture that in just 16 seconds, but I took a stab at adding a little fretless pizazz in what little time the tune provides.
The bass went direct through my REDDI tube DI and my P1 preamp (both by A-Designs). I added quite a bit of "seasoning" to the bass tone in the final mix: there's some subtle distortion, chorus and reverb mixed in with the clean direct tone. More on that below. For now, while we're talking about her - let's take a look. Oooh, la, la!
Step 2 was to buy some new video editing software. We had Avid's Media Composer, but that was just too much tool for us. It's waaaaay too complicated for what we need to do. After a quick bit of research, I decided to grab a copy of Adobe Premier Elements 11. I think it's exactly what I'm looking for. It's more powerful than some of the free stuff out there like Windows Movie Maker (which I've used for some personal stuff with limited success), but the big selling point is that the Adobe software is much, much easier to use than Avid MC. So I dropped my $79, installed the software and very quickly ported over the old video work that Danny had done in MC. Then I integrated the new audio, and Boom! Here's the latest version of our video intro segment!
"Rocket Music Video Intro"
Now onto the bass tone. I was really striving to get a tone as close to Geddy Lee's as I could on a fretless. That means adding a bit of hair to the tone, and I did that all in the box in Sonar. The final bass tone consists of the direct track plus a band-passed dirty version of that track, plus chorus and reverb.
Here's the direct track, which is really the raw material for the entire final bass tone:
"Rocket Music Video Intro" (direct bass track, no EQ, panning or FX)
Here's the dirty version of the clean/direct track. I used a send from the bass track to run to a bus that used tube saturation and a band pass filter to add some dirt/crunch in the 600Hz - 2500 Hz range. It sounds thin and weak all by itself, but that leaves the lower frequencies on the direct track uncluttered by fuzzy tone.
"Rocket Music Video Intro" (direct bass distorted and run through a band pass filter.)
Here's the amount of chorus I added:
"Rocket Music Video Intro" (direct bass track run through a chorus effect)
And here's the amount of Reverb I added:
"Rocket Music Video Intro" (direct bass track run through a reverb effect)
Add all that nonsense together, and you get a pretty nice bass tone:
"Rocket Music Video Intro" (everything combined and panned right up the middle)
Next up, we'll throw together a quick video outro segment. I just quickly lashed together the audio that I want to underpin that segment. The lead guitar part from the intro is our equivalent to the NBC chimes, so I stripped away everything else and built the outro audio around that. I found a cool rocket launch sound sample out there on the interwebs, and I've used that to add a little audio interest to the segment. The rocket slowly pans across the stereo spectrum to make you feel like you're watching a launch at Cape Kennedy. Rocket. Rocket Music. Get it? :D
Tomorrow I'll see if I can massage the "burning letters" from the intro video for use in the outro. It might not be that simple... but that's my hope!
Here's the preliminary outro audio:
"Rocket Music Video Outro Audio"
Once we have the intro and outro segments done, then we just need to get setup to shoot some actual video content to cram between the two segments. That'll probably involve some carpentry here at the new store, so it won't happen right away. But we're gonna get on it!! We're on a mission!!
Lastly - if any of you marketing geniuses out there think we're missing the mark or if you just have a good idea for us, please do speak up!! I'm an engineer, not a marketing guy... :help::D
Very curious/anxious to see this one progress. I've been taking notes on how some of the other fellas do it, and it'll be neat to see those Rocket Boys take things to the next level.
The guys at SoundPure continue to produce my favorite videos right now. They've got Eddie Berman (from Indoor Storm) on their team now, and he's a really nice player. Their guitar videos are short, sweet and really simple. There's no talking, it's all playing. They cut in stationary footage of him playing what you hear along with closeups of the instrument and maybe some motion shots or closeups. There's just a smidge of flyover text to convey the essential information about the instrument.
You don't have to push us to drop the voice narration thing. That was usually one of the hardest parts of producing a video, coming up with something intelligent/meaningful to say that doesn't make you sound like a clown. Let the music do the talking, keep the details to a minimum, and create a warm, welcoming vibe. Which, of course, sounds easier than it is...
What other production characteristics tickle your fancy, Jerry? Or whose videos send a thrill up your leg?
You know, when done right, I'm actually a sucker for the voice narration thing. Problem is, hardly anyone does it right. :D I like the, "get to know us" connection something like that offers. The human element has some intrinsic marketing value, IMO, and it's always nice to have a link between the product, the person playing/demoing it, and the vendor.
One of the keys, I think, is a consistent script, or at least an outline, that applies to anything and everything you're trying to demo. What is it? What are the key components/construction elements? What are the key features? Is there anything to highlight that really makes this product stand out? Then....while actually doing the demo, the scrolling text vibe can fill in all the blanks that would otherwise take up valuable time. If it's a guitar, what amp are you using? What are the EQ settings? What cable are you using? Etc...
The demo "performance" - another opportunity for consistency. Maybe a blues, maybe a cycle of fourths? Something where you have enough material to run the instrument (or stomp box, or amp...whatever) through its paces. And something, from video to video, where the customer can compare products on a level playing field. (How does that Lull sound, flat & centered, over an Em blues, vs. how does that Roscoe sound, same dealio?) The real key for me, and I find this to be the most frustrating thing, is how does this product sound in the most common environment? In other words, I really don't care if the bass sounds cool while demo boy taps and plays harmonics. Gimme some 'What is Hip' on the back pickup, and 'Forget Me Nots' on the front pickup, and I can extrapolate the rest. :)
I'm rambling....sorry. Bottom line. I've found that many shops do some of these things well, but no one is putting everything together in a concise, well-informed, and well-produced package.
(....seriously, good ideas, J! :) )
Cool - thanks for the input, Jerry! Your promotion package and signing bonus are in the mail... :)
I can't even compete with all the technical comments so I'll keep it simple.
I really like it! :)
Really phat tone on the fretless! The vibrato on the last notes sound really nice!
You should definitely play around with adding some crunch and chorus to the tone of your basslines. The crunch helps it cut through, and the chorus widens the signal to make the bass part seem bigger without being louder. I spent a good day and a half mixing on just the bass tone, playing with different distortions and finding a balance between all the elements that I liked and what worked in the mix. I'm pretty sure I could keep working on that for weeks and still be thrilled to be doing it.
There are a ton of tracks you would swear have "clean" bass that have had a touch of distortion or crunch added after the fact and blended in for just a little bit of cut. You can't pick it out in the mix but you can definitely tell the difference when it is there or not.
I think it could sound cool, but only a little. I personally can't stand bass effects that have distortion as a programmed sound. Yuck to me, but real over drive from the instrument can sound good.
So, here's the perfect example of how NOT to do a video....
First, the on-screen talent sucks. Second, he doesn't know the specs on the bass. And third...totally not his fault, but the production team used one of those horrible Zoom cameras with the world's worst 'auto' audio level algorithm. Now that your expectations are properly set, here goes:
There may be more of these to follow, and interestingly, they're also working on an architecture for improved quality and consistency.
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P.S. Bonus points for recognizing the gratuitous rock tune references. And, honestly, this really was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I did not expect to be doing this when I walked in the store. Final side note: big lesson learned...don't pre-qualify. Based on the specs (soapbars, in that placement, set neck, wenge board) I did not at all expect to like that instrument. But, even in my clumsy hands, it sounded really, really good.
LOL. We'll definitely have to incorporate the off-screen heckling when the narrator gets something only 85% right. :D
And while I'm sure Vlad's accent is the real deal, I might just adopt an eastern european accent myself. "Luuk at owl the feegyure!" :D I loved that little exchange near the beginning as you ran through the specs.
All kidding aside, it's a nice video that gets the job done.
Just for reference, here's more the kind of target we're shooting for:
It's got a bunch of elements that I think take it up a notch in the production department:
1) Warm, inviting & uncluttered set
2) Serious videography. Notice the bokeh on the closeups? I LOVE that. And the cuts keep it interesting visually. Looks to me like a two camera setup mixed with some flyover shots of the instrument.
3) Superb audio quality. Kick it up to 720p, bandwidth be damned.
My main knock would be on the subject itself. I'd ask the player to sit up straighter and look a bit more enthusiastic. But from a pure video and audio production standpoint, I think these guys are top of the heap at the moment. And, really, from a "get to know me" standpoint, I think if you watch 4-5 of these videos featuring Eddie, you do feel like you do get to know him even without any narration. You certainly get a good feel for his playing style. I will say that I've met him in person, though, so that may be clouding my opinion of how well that's working...
So after I finish the video intro & outro work, my next goal is to build a nice looking set here and get a couple nice video cameras. The camera we have now is OK, but it won't get me any bokeh and it doesn't look this crisp (even though it's 1080p). All I need is time and money. My usual two problems. :help::D
That was a fun watch....and definitely a nice target. I would've loved to hear him talk - even if it was a voice-over thing, not a live narration. Even if just to introduce himself and say hello, and perhaps thank the viewer for watching. I totally dig the on-screen presentation of the gear being used, but I'd like to see (or hear) more about the product they're hawking. What are the woods? What are the pickups? Are there other options?
Side note on the Gelb stuff....proving that sometimes it helps to sample the bad in order to find the good....they're constructing a studio for this kind of stuff, which at a minimum will include one good video camera, and a multi-channel audio feed.
It would be a crime against humanity if you do NOT incorporate a severe Scottish accent into Rocket vids. To include ending each video with, "I'm damn sexy."
Why do we men (most of us, anyway) like boobs? It's not because we know medical details about the fatty tissue involved and the pigment in the areola. It's because there's something lurking deep in our genetics/subconcious that says "boobs = want". And when a boob is put in front of us, we look and we want to put it to use. Same goes for guitars, basses, cars, table saws, etc.
Buying a $3000 guitar is much more an emotional choice rather than a rational choice. There's some interesting research out there that shows that getting someone emotionally charged about an item (any item, really, could be golf balls) is only negatively impacted when you start presenting too many details that then trigger the rational part of our brains to kick in. Once the rational part kicks in, the wallet usually gets put away... and we don't like when that happens, do we? :eyebrow::D
There's some other research that shows that we very rapidly know whether we're going to buy something. We're talking less than 10 seconds. That's our "reptillian response" to imagery. Any time we spend considering the transaction after that is just rationalizing the emotional decision that's already been made. Can I afford it? Do the specs meet my needs? Will the wife kill me? etc. If the emotional charge is strong enough, you may just overlook any or all of those rational considerations.
We certainly don't want to skip or hide the details to be devious. We just don't want to derail whatever emotional reaction you might be having to the video. Once you're hooked emotionally, you'll seek out a link to the guitar or bass on our site and find the details. And then you may very well ignore those details if your emotional self commands you to do so.
Bottom line? Boobs = good.
...I just spit Diet Coke all over my laptop.
You now owe Jerry a new laptop.
This thread keeps getting better!
I blame Jerry's "I'm damn sexy" comment. Got me started thinking about boobs... again... it never stops!!
You're a dude, you never STOP thinking about 'em.
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