Over the last few months, I’ve posted various videosong videos. I’m a fan, but haven’t tried to put one together, but I have to say, they look fun. I also like videosongs that show some clever instruments like whisks and soda bottles, etc. When I posted the latest videosong from youtube that caught my eye, I was told about VideoSongsBlog.com on Twitter. A blog fully devoted to the videosong medium?? Cool! Just a little while later I was contacted by Arno Ceres who runs VideoSongsBlog.com, so I sent him some questions asking about what videosongs were all about and some tips to get started. He was kind enough to answer!
– Can you basically explain what a videosong is?
The videosong is a video medium which appeared in 2008. The concept is very simple, you need to film yourself during the audio recording of each separate track. Once the song mixed, you use each video track to create a video clip. This medium is perfect for multi-instrumentist musicians who want to share their music using a medium way more fun than a simple mp3. It also allowed us to discover some awesome really talented unknown musicians, which is pretty cool.
– What are the basic ‘rules’ when it comes to creating a videosong? Are drum tracks allowed?
The videosong has two very simple rules:
1. What you see is what you hear (no post-sync voice or instrument).
2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).
It means that any sound from any source can be used as long as it’s shown in the video. Samples are also allowed but it has to be shown as a wave form – like in this video
– What tools are needed for the editing/creating the piece, besides the actual instruments. I’m more referring to video/audio editing software.
The software used to make a videosong are the standard tools used to make music and movie such as Protools, Cubase or Garageband for the audio and Final Cut or Sony Vegas for the video editing.
– What costs are involved (both entry level and professional level).
This media doesn’t involve any particular cost. Most of the people who make their first videosong have already this minimum required gear, which is (beside instruments): an audio interface, a microphone and a camera. Nowadays, everybody has a digital camera (often able to film in HD) which is totally fine to shoot a videosong. When videosongers want to reach the next level in matter of quality they usually buy a DSLR camera (*Digital Single-Lens Reflex). *Those cameras let you work on video with the same level of control that you get for pictures (aperture, focal length…). With a wide angle lens, you’ll get a nice, arty blur (like in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsYoybAF-Xs). The only real cost in the making of a videosong is the time. People who make videosongs are already musicians and are familiar with the audio recording technics. But they aren’t all videographers. The most time consuming part of the process is, with no doubt, the video editing part. You can ask every single videosonger, they will all say the same thing: video editing is the longest part of the process!
– When it comes to audio, what microphones do you recommend?
Nowadays there’s no need to spend a lot of money to get decent recording gear. You can find some good mics for less than $100. The best thing to do to save money is to buy a USB mic for which no audio interface is required. For example, people who have a Mac don’t need any audio interface, audio software or camera. iMovie with iSight and Garageband are already installed, the only thing needed left is a mic and a cheap USB mic will be enough to have a good recording.
– How long does it usually take to record and edit everything?
It can be very short. For this video, recording, mixing and editing only took a day. But for this one, it took 6 months! It was involving 5 people who lived in 5 different cities, I had to deal with everyone’s schedule which was very time consuming. But most of the time it depends of the complexity and the length of the song.
– What types of effects (pedals) that are extremely useful when creating videosongs?
There’s no effect more or less useful than an other but some videosongers like to show them in their video like Jreng in this Bohemian rapsody cover
– How long has your site been around? Why did you create the site?
When I first found out about Jack Conte (he’s the one who defined the rules of the videosong) in 2009 I was totally fascinated by the “one man home studio” aspect of the video. As a musician, green with envy at that roomful of instruments, I had a true epiphany. This new medium became an obsession – “This is what I need to be doing !”. I just couldn’t stop taking about it to people around me. A coworker of mine, who was quite annoyed by that, told me that I should make a blog about it. I hesitated for a few months then did it in march 2010. I’ve quickly contacted Jack Conte for an interview and this interview made people know about the site. The blog became the reference in matter of videosongs and is now, with the FB page, THE link (means it gathers videosongers and link them with each other… I don’t know how to translate that) for the community which is growing stronger everyday.
The team of the site is composed of musicians, a sound engineer and a film director. We now try to help people making videosongs and discovering great artists through this medium.
– Who are some stand out artists when it comes to videosongs?
The undisputed star is Jack Conte (the inventor of the concept) and his band Pomplamoose which have astronomical numbers of views on their videos. So much views that they now make a living of their music by selling mp3s on their site or on iTunes. There are also artists like Ein Astronaut Project RnL, Joel Cathey, Twintapes or Alaa Wardi and Trudbol (a capella music). You will be able to discover more on the site in the “link” section.
– What is the future of videosongs?
The community is growing stronger everyday because this medium makes the music look very attractive. It’s also very educative as every instrument of the song is shown. It’s way easier to share music with a video than with an mp3. It’s natural that musicians who found out about this medium want to try it to share their own music too. It’s also a great way to make music with people/friends who live far from you (like inthis video).We are now at the era of DIY. The videosong concept is 100% in that way. I think that in a near future making a videosong will be part of the standard process of any musicians/band like rehearsing and making gigs. People will make videosongs to promote their music over the Internet.