On Friday afternoon, I found myself in a bit of a rare situation: I had nothing to do. Well, nothing to work on for MotionWorks. (I have plenty of home repairs that I should be getting around to unless I manage to find a contractor who is willing to work for the ever popular offer of ‘exposure’. All the creatives can laugh along with me on that one.) I finished up everything I had to edit, I cleaned the studio, and I was feeling less than inspired to just go out and create something on my own.
I decided to check out the Vimeo Weekend Challenge and see if I could find inspiration there. Often their challenges are presented with unique stipulations, and the idea of a challenge itself is enough to get the creativity flowing. This week’s challenge was to create a “Swishblog” of your weekend, in under 60 seconds. I wasn’t aware that a swishblog was a thing, but the premise was simple enough. Hit record, swish your camera into your shot, then swish out again.
My finished piece isn’t anything that is unconventional, or overly artistic; just a glimpse into a pretty ordinary weekend for us. A combination of fun, work, and family.
I had originally planned to select and license music through one of our favorite licensing services, but when Chris and Cecelia started playing the piano together on Sunday afternoon, I knew I wanted to use that. It also meant I had to be picky on what he was playing (even cover music has to be licensed for video production, and last time I check, Billy Joel wasn’t exactly providing affordable options).
Last weekend, Chris decided that he wanted to tune our piano. If you’ve had any experience in the music industry, you know that this just isn’t a thing that people (even trained pianists) do, it’s something you hire out. It’s a really specialized skill, a cross between a science and an art. If you’re married, you also know that sometimes you pick your battles, and this was not going to be one of mine. It was already out of tune, I just figured no harm in letting him make it more (or differently) out of tune. So I walked away and endured the 3 hours of repetitive plucking away at the keys. I’m happy to say that I was completely wrong, and Chris managed to tune our piano. Add that to his list of random things that he can do really well on the first try (it’s a long list).
Sadly, in true WV fashion, right after he tuned it the temperature rose to 75 then dropped back down to 30, so it’s a little bit out again. It’s also an old (but well loved) piano, so it may always be just a little out of tune.
Using live music as the soundtrack added a bit of complexity to the edit. I needed the video of him playing the piano to match the audio when I got to that part of the edit, so I had to work within a very specific timeframe. With the swish on the end of each clip, I was locked into a preset clip length that I could only vary by a frame or two instead of having the freedom to cut them clip to only feature the best portion and to fit the exact time needed.
It’s not a technique I think I would ever use exclusively in the videos we produce but may pull it out again to use on another vacation video or little weekend feature like this. It was fun and easy, and I’m looking forward to seeing how others in the Vimeo community use it to create some truly interesting pieces. Cecelia was also REALLY interested in it, particularly in putting the edit together, so I think it’s probably something she will use in her vlog in the future. If nothing else, there’s definite value in inspiring my girl to continue to be creative and in sharing the time we spent making this with her.