Music For (Incredibly Short) Films: My First Attempts With Music And Video
Last November, I upgraded to an iPhone 4 with video camera. It’s my first video camera phone. In fact, it’s the first video camera I’ve ever owned. When I was a boy, I begged my parents for a Bell & Howell Super 8 film camera.
Much to my surprise, they gave me one for Christmas. And a little movie light. I filmed my toy soldiers, G.I. Joe doll, (sorry, G.I. Joe ACTION FIGURE) and various model cars and planes. I used vinyl album covers for backdrops, such as the street scene on the cover of Physical Graffiti:
I made in-camera edits where my brother Peter appeared to pop in and out, disappearing and reappearing and playing street hockey with himself, passing himself the tennis ball. Movie magic. I don’t know where the films are today, my brother Mike also made some and he seems to still have all of his. They, (his AND mine) were crude but inspired attempts to make moving images, finger painted with film, heavy on the clumsy brush strokes but with the unselfconscious abandon that only a child can bring to art.
For various reasons, I put film aside when I pursued music. I never attempted to buy a Sony Handycam when everyone was doing it. So when I got the iPhone 4, I was curious about making some movies, and of course now that Apple’s democratizing software is so easy use, I could edit as well.
But what could I do to test the water? Actually, the answer had a little bit to do with that democratizing Apple software. About five years ago, I had some issues with my ProTools and couldn’t afford to upgrade completely so the whole suite remained unused and unusable for years. But in the meantime, I had discovered Apple’s GarageBand software. I had initially waved this off as “amateur” ware, and I was a serious musician, but as I got deeper into it, I realized that you could do a lot with it. So I have amassed hours of unheard material. A lot of it instrumental electronica, often credited to my electronic band Flam! (just me). Wouldn’t some of that stuff be “soundtrack” material for my new films.? Of course it would. And like all students, I started with purely image based (i.e. non-narrative) student art film.
Today I wanted to put two of these early experiments up for you on The Pulmyears Music Blog.
The first of these was shot while driving through Joshua Tree National Park in our two-door Toyota Echo and it’s called, Desert Drive:
For that one, I actually made a rough cut and then wrote music that I thought would fit nicely. For my next test film, I wanted to go another route, taking an existing Flam! instrumental called “A Stringy Thing”, then laying in found images, literally filmed off the screen of my MacBook Pro from YouTube. Editing to taste.
This one was called Violin • Robot • Strings:
Liza made an interesting point the other day. “Why don’t you tell a story with the films?”. That’s a great suggestion, so I’m off to try that. I’ll let you know when I’ve got something to show.