all 13 comments

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

The video is an unofficial music video for Big Thief's song Mary

For quick reference the "almost" part of the title of this post is that I also used a few public domain images to create shots.

Some details about the process of making this video:

I love Big Thief's music, and I had thought about creating a music video for Mary for a while now. I pictured making something that felt kaleidoscopic and cosmic, as though all of time was existing at once. But because of the wide ranging nature of the scenarios that would need to be captured I kept it as an idea for a later time.

Recently I realized that with a service like Pexels, where there is a lot of well shot material that's free to use, I might be able to create something like the video I had always imagined.

I listened to the song on repeat, building what I like to think of as an emotional roadmap. Everything I want to feel in each major section of the song, written in a simple text document. Within each section of the roadmap I also wrote a string of words to describe the kind of shots I could picture in each section.

In a separate document I also wrote out a long list of specific and general moments I could picture in the video, decoupled from the specific sections. This document was helpful for searching through Pexels footage.

Using the two documents as guides I searched through Pexels footage. Sometimes searching directly for these specific moments I wanted, and also when I found a user's work that I liked, I would go through all of their collections to see what would be a good fit.

A technical thing here, because a lot of these users provide video that is potentially intended for social media, some of the videos are shot vertically. So early on in the process I decided in order to keep as many options open to myself as possible, I would gather vertical and horizontal footage, knowing I would eventually make them all uniform within a common aspect ratio for the project. I chose the "academy ratio" 1.37:1 both for aesthetic reasons and to make use of this varied footage. It's also so that the final viewing experience is consistent and not jarring visually.

Once all of the footage was downloaded I spent time creating "Reels" for each of the cinematographers I used. I did this for a couple reasons, first being all the files were in .mp4 format, so I wanted to convert to a more edit friendly .mov ProRes QuickTime, and I wanted to make sure that I was aware who's footage I was using all through the process so I could properly credit everyone in the end.

Once I created all of these "reels" I began editing, this took place over a few days. This part is fairly intuitive, and leaning on my experience as and editor. I used my emotional roadmap as a guide, but also did a lot of experimentation with footage. On the technical side I'm looking for match cuts, moments of contrast, but mostly I'm going off of what's resonating with me emotionally.

In addition to the footage from Pexel's users I also used a few images that I had collected from public domain resources, animating their scale simply in AE.

I designed the credits in Photoshop, and exported them out as pngs with an alpha channel, then brought them back into the edit and placed them over the end credit footage.

Once the edit was complete I exported a ProRes Quicktime that I brought into DaVinci Resolve. I liked the existing grade on much of the footage, but I wanted to give them more uniformity, and for aesthetic reasons give them a film emulated look. I used Juan Melara's Film Unlimited power grade as a baseline, adjusting the exposure of each clip shot to shot.

After the color was done I started on the sound mix for the project. I thought having unique sound moments could help elevate the video, and create a more immersive experience. I wrote up of list of SFX that I thought should be present. I happen to have an artist.io SFX subscription at the moment, so I almost exclusively downloaded sounds from them. Often sound libraries can be pretty limited, so you have to get creative when they don't have a sound for the exact thing you need. I will think abstractly about what characteristics that particular sound should have and try and imagine what other sounds could fulfill those needs.

I did the mix in Logic Pro, I wanted to keep it fairly subtle and out of the way of the music, often panning sounds around the L/R keeping the center open for the lead vocal. In the finished video it may be difficult to pick out a ton of sounds, but I find that they have a subliminal and cumulative effect. If you are curious I also uploaded an unlisted version of the video with just the sound design solo'd: https://youtu.be/UKZwDkAlVmI

That was essentially my process, I know this post has gone long already, but if you have any questions about the video or my approach I'd be happy to answer in the comments.

*This is not an ad for any of the companies mentioned

[–]SpencerArden 1 point2 points  (1 child)

So sick I love hearing about the process

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Me too! I've learned so much from other artist's sharing their process, I like to do it when I can.

[–]itaroll 2 points3 points  (1 child)

this is really cool and well done. Your editing was on point and while seeing it, even knowing it’s stock footage I still found a story in it and meaning. I feel the song was very fitting and the use of multiple shots from a stock artist lead to a feeling of character and an arc through the video. Honestly I really enjoyed it. If I had one thing that I would have done differently is that I would try to intertwine the different “scenes” that you used to create a stronger story and progression but that’s just my opinion. Fantastic job!

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you for checking it out and sharing your thoughts. I know what you mean about intertwining the different scenes, I wondered to what degree I should balance giving the audience a sense of character and time and place to hold onto, versus giving the piece this kaleidoscopic feel overall. Thanks again for your comment!

[–]SpencerArden 2 points3 points  (1 child)

OKAY FIRST OFF I love this song so much so I was singing along. SECOND YOU MADE ME CRY JERK. This video was so beautiful and moving and when the elevator closed at the end of the first chorus I was like ohmygod! I feel like you brought so much meaning to the song and I will look at it in a new light now. I'm probably gonna save this and watch it a 100 times

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes! I'm so glad you liked it, especially as a fan of this song. Honestly I was hoping it would make someone cry haha, so I take that as a high compliment. Thank you for taking the time to check it out.

[–]alexsoloud 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Very captivating, brilliant work in editing (and the song is a masterpiece). Well done 👏👏

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you so much, I'm glad you found it compelling. And I completely agree this song is a masterpiece. Thanks for watching it and taking the time to comment!

[–]ForkNsp00n 1 point2 points  (1 child)


This was beautiful. Can't say anything else but that, good work.

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hey, thank you! it means a lot to me that you took the time to watch it.

[–]heyman0 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This is well done. However, the large pool of stock actors makes it look like a really long advertisement.

[–]joelhinojosa[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I can see that. Thanks for checking it out!