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Music Video

Prologues and Epilogues to Music Videos?


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95% of my videos use a simple fade-in Title as the music track begins, and end credits while the music finishes. 

 

However, there been a few videos where I felt an urge to create a mood, or enhance the message, by creating something extra before the album track started.  And also, sometimes, something reflective once the music stops. Hey, after all, isn’t this is meant to be creative fun? And it doesn't cost anything (except possibly one's pride) :)

 

An example of this is “Earthrise”.  When sitting at the kitchen table with my guitar, the song’s perspective was as an astronaut returning to Earth after a long journey across the empty chasms of space. A tin can with death constantly a few millimeters outside the walls, and limited air food and water inside, all precariously teetering on a knife’s edge of complex technology. The Earth therefore would become the sole heart-wrenching beacon of hope and salvation.

 

The actual album track launches straight into the lament without any lead-in exposition, so I tried to convey this visually, together with sound effects.  This prologue is approx 60 seconds.  The 20 seconds of visuals after the song stops (and a bookend to the opening scenes) are meant, reflectively, to convey the idea that the Earth can't sustain us for much longer at the rate we're going.

 

 

Any questions, please ask.

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Prologues

Running From Red”, Track 8 on the “Prescient” album, was a very personal song from my collaborator Martin.  Musically I only contributed bass, kettle drums and strings while, for atmosphere, I built the coda based on ‘invasion’ sound effects.

 

This was the first time I was ever satisfied with a video prologue, despite the paucity of materials to choose from (but sometimes lack of choice can be a good thing).

 

Martin and I were both born in England in the shell-shocked recovery decade after WWII with the increasing threat of Russian territorial aggression throughout Eastern Europe and also an ever-present fear of nuclear war.  While trying to find potential imagery for the video I realised that many younger listeners (and also perhaps anyone not from Western Europe) would not have knowledge or a gut feel for that period of history.   Growing up in the UK, all movie sessions (at the cinema back then) were prefaced by “Pathe News”, a black-and-white news digest from around the world.  This became my point of entry and I used the prologue to set the scene for the song ... the released track merges in around 0:33.

 

This video is rare for me to have a black screen and several seconds of silence at the end after the music has faded out.  I felt the listener needed a breather after the horrendous story.  (Without this ending, YouTube will break any mood by kicking in unbidden with the next thing on the playlist, or some random video).

 

Looking back, another key decision was the underscoring of the song’s message by using the colour ‘red’:

  • in the video title,
  • the flowing ‘blood’ on the European map and some military footage.  This was black paint on card but hue-changed to red in Premiere Pro.
  • Kruschev’s hand using Photoshop (his famous lectern-thumping speech at the UN).

 

 

 

Edited by GregB
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There's been no discussion yet about video prologues/epilogue, so here’s my last word on the subject.

 

“The C-Bomb”, Track 1 from “The Flat White Album” (2020) had a fairly obvious message about climate, and the audio itself already contained a distinct prologue/epilogue.  However, because overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change are the things I feel the most helplessly angry about, I wanted the video to have extra 'oomph'.

 

While other pathways could have been followed, I decided on the simple use of quotes.  This solution provides pin-point arguments but without the need for yet more ‘perfect’ images.  The visual prologue is therefore white text on a black screen, all delivered in total silence (which, on re-watching, I still find strangely unnerving and moving).  The audio from the released track eventually enters at 0:32.   At the end, a Greta Thunberg quote is presented over the music fade, followed by my own statement over the video's final 20 seconds, again white text on black and in absolute silence.

 

 

 

Edited by GregB
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