I am testing out two options for my Final Major Project – the live performance (live performance to camera), and the music video (pre-production – short clip/storyboard). I am interested in both of these options because they allow me to have a lot of creative freedom when completing the project. I also believe they would both help me to progress in my own musical career outside of college, as the music video task aids me in improving my videography, direction and editing skills, and the live performance task will allow me to further develop my live set in terms of production, set up and presentation.
Option #1 – music video – pre-production, short clip/storyboard
For my pre-production of this option, I will create a mood board and storyboard of my ideas for the music video – these will eventually materialise into clips for the video.
I am using my original song ‘Before Our Time’ to accompany the video – I will be finalising the recording, production, mixing and mastering of the track during the project timeline, including recording the drum parts and the lead vocals, to name a few aspects (I will likely try to get some Metropolis time so the recordings are as good as possible).
I recorded the demo using the following equipment:
Rode NT1-A microphone
AKAI mp25 midi keyboard
Logic Pro X
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface
Reflection filter/portable sound booth
The basis of my songs are formed completely out of synths, so I didn’t need to work with anybody else to produce the demo, and I used synthetic Logic drums to set an example of what I wanted my drummer Lloyd to play. The NT1-A is the best microphone I could find on a budget – it has worked wonders for me in the past, when producing my last three singles, and has a very clear sound quality, especially when paired with the vocal booth, to keep out any unwanted background noise, however when I recorded most of the backing vocals for this track, my knowledge of vocal production wasn’t the standard it is now, and I plan to improve the quality of all track recordings in the final product.
‘Before Our Time’ / Demo:
To complete the pre-production stage, I will need to think carefully about the meaning of the song and the lyrics, analysing what moods and atmosphere the song gives off. I will then use these ideas to form a storyboard for the video. Later on in the project, it will also be important to take a look at other music videos that inspire me, to take ideas from them that will influence the development of my concept into the final video.
See the mood boards below:
Here, I have also explored the main themes and ideas of the song, and what the message conveys – this will really help me deliver the same feeling through the music video, making for an enhanced musical experience.
Since, for the video, I do not think I will have a particular ‘plot’ in place, instead of a storyboard I have produced a mind map of the themes, ideas, quotes, images, feelings, and colours that accompany this song and it’s connotations. From this I have then sketched some of the images and scenes that I would like to be in the video. Inspiration for these scenes came very easily to me, perhaps as I am so connected to the song emotionally, I saw exactly what I envisioned the video to be in my head.
Option #2 – live performance – live performance to camera
For my second option, I have chosen to try out the live performance to camera. I think choosing the live performance option would really help me in thinking outside of the box when it comes to my live sets, working on presentation, band set up, and live production of my songs. It would also be great to work on the visual aspect of my sets, incorporating animation or moving video projections to my live performances. The benefit of carrying out the live performance option is that it would raise awareness of my music in the Guildford and Surrey area.
My pre-production for this option consists of video footage of myself performing my original song CROWN. at Tasteneon, Wednesday 07/03/18. To prepare for this performance, I rehearsed with my drummer Lloyd – we usually rehearse every Wednesday, and spent a lot of time working on CROWN., to get every detail right, down to the arrangement and dynamics of the piece.
At the event, we supplied our own drum kit, which wasn’t difficult to transport to the venue, however due to the nature of the venue (an old underground warehouse building), they were slightly tough to get through the venue and to set up.
After looking back at my footage, I feel it would be a big improvement to my sets to add more live elements, such as a synth player or guitarist, to fill out the sound and create more movement on stage, and ultimately more band interaction too. I am very confident in my performance and vocal delivery. However, I feel that my crowd interaction, and speaking in between songs, could be improved. I found it really difficult to perform without proper lighting and stage setup, with no smoke or haze whatsoever, as my music calls for some kind of atmospheric stage ambience, and this gets me more into the music. There was also an overwhelming lack of reverb or delay due to the mixing desk not being up to scratch. However, I still feel that I gave a convincing performance.
Below, I have added photographs to evidence my on-stage performance style, confidence and artistic, visual presentation.
I would love to add visuals to my final performance too, to be projected on stage – I think they can enhance a performance massively. It would be amazing to have some dramatic lighting and smoke accompanying these to fulfil the visual aspect of the performance.
Below, I have created a mood board of all the elements I would like to incorporate into my live set. Along with lighting, projections, and possibly more band members, I am also working towards adding my spds drum pad into the sets too.
I have featured an example of projection mapping, emulating the kind of thing I would like to recreate in my performances.
– executing projection mapping graphics like this, live, would be a challenge, however I have connections with some people working in the entertainment industry who also use projections on a regular basis who can aid in the process. The examples I have found online are far more advanced in technicality, equipment and cost than is currently practical for my live set, therefore I would be looking at achieving a high quality projection which hints at some of the mapping elements.
From a small focus group, asking male and females with a wide age range, including those in the business, as well as general public, feedback results confirmed that my live performance is of a high standard, and any suggested improvements would not require me to ‘step out of the box’ for my FMP. With Before Our Time, the response to the initial demo recording was extremely positive, with comments suggesting the very popular end section could be extended for great effect, with a little more pronunciation clarity when recording vocals. Some participants within the focus group also suggested that further care could be taken to vary the instrumentation throughout the track. Click here to see the full feedback responses.
Therefore, from analysing my work on both pre-production options, I find that live performance comes most naturally to me – it is easy for me to embrace my music in a stage setup and I enjoy rehearsing and workshopping the tracks – however, I feel that attempting to incorporate beautiful projection mapping would be over-estimating my ability within this project, and would be better to execute outside of college deadlines, to achieve the best result.
With regards to the music video option, I really enjoyed taking on the Pre-Production, and thinking about all of the themes within the song, eventually materialising into sketches of scenes that will feature in the video. I think out of the two options the video would benefit me the most as I also endeavour to produce this piece as part of my own career as BRUCH. It will also help me to develop valuable video editing and filming skills. To create a bit of an extra challenge, I will also be completing the recording process of the track, Before Our Time, and this will allow me to work on my studio skills and communication when working in a team with other producers and musicians, in a professional setting (as I am self produced from home, and I usually work completely solo, creating and recording everything on my tracks myself, entirely from Logic, with added originals sounds and my voice – the only part I do not do myself is mastering). Releasing the video will also improve my online presence by adding to my official YouTube videos, which can then be shared throughout my social media platforms to increase views and subscribers.
From drawing together my findings, I have decided to continue with the music video for my Final Major Project.