Making of a low budget music video

About half a year ago, chatting in a bar with a friend who is a member of an ambient-industrial-noise band called Älymystö, it became apparent they didn’t have enough music videos to promote their music, only one to be exact.


Älymystö performing @ Kuudes Linja, Helsinki (2009)

As I thought about it afterwards, I remembered I did have some old live video material I took during one of their live gigs years ago in a small live venue in Helsinki. Since I had iMovie ’09 installed on my MacBook Pro, I decided to give it a try what I could come up with it.

Overcoming technical limitations

So there was roughly 15 minutes of video from two separate live performances in the same venue (Factory, which sadly closed its doors two years ago). It was taken with a Sony DSC-717 digital camera and the resolution was a modest 320×240. Since the video was in plain mpeg-files, I immediately had the problem of getting them imported into iMovie, which didn’t support the format. Even if it did support it, I would still have the problem with the next to unusable low resolution of the raw material.

Then I got an idea. I picked up my new Canon IXUS 860 IS digital camera, start playing the original videos on my monitor full screen and re-record them into new video files sized 640×480 resolution. Basically I was already editing video for the final version by panning and zooming around the screen while making sure the focus won’t get too sharp to reveal the technique with monitor pixels.


Raw video material on iMovie.

Syncing with the music track

Once I had enough material, I imported the new material into iMovie which it accepted with no problems. Since iMovie was basically aimed for home videos and not accurate sync-editing with sound (in this case music), I picked a track from the band that didn’t have singing, as it would otherwise have been a major headache to find clips that fit with them sync-wise.

Even without vocals the process of syncing audio with video was a bit awkward with iMovie, but my enthusiasm was greater than the frustration and after two evenings I managed to come up with a something that might be called a low budget fan music video.

Rewarding project

The band wasn’t aware of my doings and were happy to find out one of their tracks got wrapped up in a video when I gave them a look. Now, after five months or so, it got put online on YouTube by the band itself.

Making the video was fun, although I will think twice about doing another one with iMovie. As simple as it is, it wasn’t meant for making music videos. Also, I’d like to use material in a much higher resolution next time.

Given the crippling limitations of source material, editing software and even the fact I rarely play with video, the result was still quite pleasing. It’s nothing professional by all means, but I wasn’t expecting it to be. Anyway, here it is:

Comments are now closed.