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Music Video Of "the Occupation Song"?


People seem to like “The Occupation Song”—I played it at both the Tillamook Library and the Bay City Arts Center Open Mike, and it got a good response both times. Guess it’s time to record it. Folks at the library wanted me to make a music video of it, and that’s possible to do, too.

I always want to incorporate new techniques into each new video and this one’s no exception. This time I want to try a variation on the “green screen” technique I saw used in a video of one of Gene Burnett’s songs. The traditional use of the “green screen” is to insert footage of one thing (a singer, say, or band) into footage of something else—but what if you don’t have that kind of technology or technological expertise on hand? What I saw done in the Gene video was a frank overlay—of one film over another. Real impressive. I could take that a little further, and have the two films fade in and out at different times.

We do the recording first; the song drives the video, not vice versa. I think I could film me with a Webcam doing rhythm guitar and vocals (it’d be the first time I’ve done that), extract the audio track from the film and use that as the “base” track on the Tascam onto which I’d pile other instruments. What other instruments probably depends on which of the musicians I know are interested in participating—but I know a fiddle player, a mandolin player, bass player, musical saw player and a few others I’d like to ask. Since the Tascam is portable they wouldn’t have to be together in the same place or at the same time—I can take my mike and my one set of headphones and the laptop to wherever they are, record one track at a time and load it into Audacity (where I’ll end up doing the mixing if there are more than four tracks). I expect I’ll want to add the Electric Banjo, since the banjo is such a great Depression-sounding instrument (and it wouldn’t have to be me playing it—I found out last night I know a real banjo player and I bet I could enlist him).

And while the instrumentalists are being recorded I’ll film each of them playing, on my little digital camera. Probably just little snatches of film that I’ll insert into appropriate points later—I particularly want to focus on the musicians during the two lead breaks. Might could catch a film of some of them playing together that I could use part of, too.

The singer, instrumentalists and “band” are one of the video tracks. For the other, we want stuff: inside and outside footage of a coffee shop, a bakery, and a library (all mentioned in the song), and shots of a porta-potty with a door sign that says “Occupied” (they don’t all say that). I want footage of the little “Occupy Tillamook” and “Occupy Manzanita” demonstrations that have been happening weekly. I’d like to film the big (and semi-permanent) “Occupy Portland” encampment, but that entails going to Portland, and I don’t have an excuse to do so until the 19th (for a Relay for Life meeting). And finally, we spend some time mixing and matching and overlaying, and deciding whether to do this on a Mac or a PC (I have the latter, and have access to the former—they use different software for the video work, and the output looks slightly different, too).

I’ll see some—not all—of the musicians I want to invite at the Rapture Room tonight; the others I can call. I think this is one of those “time-sensitive” projects that probably has to be put out right away in order to have an impact. And I needed something new to work on, anyway. This’ll be fun.



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