Jeffrey Glen Jackson
(c) 1998


This Christmas (1997) break, our High School kids went on a week-long youth retreat. First, we went to Gatlinburg, TN, where we attended a conference in the mornings and evenings. The rest of the time is free time to explore the city. After that, we went skiing at Massanutten, VA. I basically followed groups of them around (we had about 40) and shot video of the activities, snow ball fights, clowning around, etc. I shot a little over an hour of tape. The final result is a 10 minute, high energy, rock video style, record of the trip.


The first minute of the video is an animated version of our logo. The name of the youth group was The Student Body and the letters TSB are prominent in the Logo. I took the Let's Get Ready To Rumble song and mapped out what frame every beat occurs on, then used Extreme 3-D to make the letters mosh to the beat of the music. It's kind of neat, but it takes about 6 hours to render the one minute on a Pentium-Pro 200. Now extrapolate that to the animation they use on Babylon-5! :-)

Music Selection

I used two songs for my background music: 3rd Day's Mad, and Jars of Clay's Crazy Times. If you aren't into Christian rock music, you've probably never heard of them. The first has a steady, strong, fast paced beat and an extended fade out at the end. The second is a little slower and has an extended section without much beat. This works well with the material as we will see.

The first thing I did is, in Media Studio Pro, go through and mark the snare hits with cues. I really wish I could color code cues and/or put labels on them that would show up on the time line like in Master Tracks Pro. To mark major transitions (fills, or anyplace I want to have a video transition instead of a cut) I put two cues next to each other so I know where they are while glancing at the timeline.   I've since started using Premiere 5.1.  There it is possible to label ten of your cues (Adobe calls them markers) with a digit which serves this purpose well.

The time between snare hits is typically a touch over one second. Oh, another thing to note is MSP5 has some latency when you mark cues in real time. They come out about one or two frames late, so I always put my cuts one frame early. I've not noticed any latency in Premiere, plus the audio scrubbing feature lets me zero in on the exact frame in the timeline.

The Video, Song 1

In Song 1, to keep things fast paced, I generally do a cut every cue mark, sometimes every second mark. If I have a larger clip I want to use, I sometimes cut out a little bit of the source clip at the cues to introduce a discontinuity at the snare hits. Its a neat effect if not over done: seldom more than 3 times for a given scene. I use quick transitions between scenes on fills, and other musical transitions where they seem appropriate, if the source material allows: I'm keeping scenes more or less in chronological order, so it isn't always possible to make that work out.

To select the scenes in MSP, I brought up each source clip in the scratch pad and placed a cue at the beginning of each scene I wanted.  Then, I closed the scratch pad and cut the video up into separate clips at eache cue.  I generally had these  held on one of the overlay video tracks.  I then moved each clip onto the Va or Vb track and adjusted the end point to occur on a cue in the audio track.  I  brought up the sratch pad on these clips to make sure the start and end point was where I wanted them.

In Premiere, this process is much simpler with the three point editing feature.  You drag a clip from the project library to the monitor window.  For each scene you want you find the in point.  Then in the preview controls you select the in and out points for the timeline.  Then you press a button, and enough of your source clip is placed on the timeline to occupy the range selected on the timeline.   There is also a tool that displays the first and last frame of the sub clip and lets you drag left and right to adjust the in and out points of the clip, leaving the in and out points on the timeline unmodified.  Its such a pleasure doing things this way, that I expect to never use MSP for this sort of project again!

The Video, The Interviews

After the first day of skiing, I videoed several of the kids talking about how much fun they had, what they did, what spills they had, what injuries they got, etc. I got to this just as the first song was doing its extended fade out. The interviews then continue for a minute or two after the end of the song. I cut out most of my asking questions, and just had them responding. When doing this sort of interview, don't ask yes/no questions: not "did you have fun?", but "what kind of day did you have?" "what did you do?" "tell me about any major spills you had.", etc.

The intro, song 1, and the interviews were one project file. The next song is in a separate project file.  This is done because of the 2GB AVI limit.

The Video, Song 2

Crazy Times is not quite as fast paced, so I don't cut scenes as often and I use more transitions. It's neat when the transition is appropriate for either the song or the video. For example, the word "down" is repeated on 2 and 4 several times at one point at the end of a musical section. So, rather than using one transition out of that section, into the next, I transition between several scenes, using a slide down transition (there are several transitions that would have been appropriate, so long as they used downward movement).

At the non-rhythmic section, I used clips of snowboarders doing the big jump. I set the slow motion to 50%, used moving path to blow up the scene to 2x, and used the Contrast+Brightness filter to increase the contrast (I think I set the gamma to 0.45, if memory serves). The cuts come where they may. The result is surreal video to go with surreal audio.

Parting Notes

I use FAST CAP to play two video files back to back.

I'd like to post clips, but size constraints, privacy issues, and copyright doesn't make that practical.