Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shooting Your Own Low-Budget Video

Now this is fun!  Pure and simple.  I had no previous experience doing something like this, but then the need came about, and you know what they say...necessity is the mother of invention!  Since I didn't have a lot of time, money, experience, or expensive equipment, this is something you can do yourself!

The Pickin' Chicks decided they wanted to try out for the YouTube edition of America's Got Talent.  Our job was to shoot a 90-second video that had to be live.  (In other words, we could not dub the music into the video.)  I ended up shooting two videos, with one of them being a little bit more creative than the other.  Here's what we did.

There are four girls in the group.  Since they come from three different families, I had three moms to help.  We decided to shoot the video of the girls singing "Seven Bridges Road."  We needed a completely dark room, as the idea was to shoot the video in complete darkness.  If we had had more time, we could have done it at night outside, but this wasn't an option due to time constraints.  The room had to be big enough for all four girls, me and the three moms.  One of the teaching rooms at The Bluegrass Shack has no windows in it and is just big enough that we thought it would work out pretty good.

Here's the setup:  All four girls were laying on their backs facing the ceiling with their heads together.  Diane (Nikki and Mallory's mom) stood on a chair with a very small, LED flashlight.  Directly opposite of Diane, Rhonda (Millie's mom) stood on a stool with my digital camera.  Her head was literally in the ceiling!  Dawn (Paige's mom) helped with the flashlight and getting the girls properly positioned.  I stood in a corner with my guitar next to the lightswitch so I could turn it on and off.

Diane worked the flashlight by using her hand to block and unblock the light.  She also moved it back and forth, twirled it, and made it like a strobe light at times.  Rhonda turned the camera as she was shooting the video, and she also moved the camera closer to the girls.  I played the guitar in my little corner when it was time.  Let's just say that it took several times to get this right because it was completely black and I couldn't see any strings!!!!  Dawn kept repositioning the girls and was helping us get everything together properly.  She and Diane took turns doing the flashlight. 

It got really hot in that room.  We shot the video at least 8 to 10 times before we quit.  We couldn't have any fans or air conditioning running because it would interfere with the sound quality.  We were laughing and the girls were having the time of their lives!  I told the girls to clap for themselves when the lights went out at the end.  Me and all the moms were clapping and hollering along with the girls, and Brad (Nikki & Mallory's dad) stood outside the door (there wasn't room for him in the room) and he hollered from out there.

When the video was done, I had to edit it so it would only be 90 seconds.  I used the free program Microsoft Movie Maker to edit and publish the movie.  The only effects I used were:  1) Add text to the end; 2) Add transitions to where the cuts were made; and 3) Add a color effect so the shirts the girls wore would all be the same color and would change colors together.  Here is what we came up with.  I hope you enjoy it!  We sure had fun making it.

Oh, by the way, we didn't make the cut to America's Got Talent YouTube edition.  We got beat out by a woman singing in her kidding!

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