Hey everyone. I’m back with a new blog post and some exciting news – I just published “Streets are for People” – my long-term personal video project that features music by my alter-ego Mikooshka (co-written with pianist Jeff Simpson). I’d like to share some insights into my creative process, tools and workflow.
I learned a great deal about video editing and colour correction, and created a series of interesting visual effects and motion graphics while producing this video. In addition to shooting and editing this video, and designing all the motion graphics / titles, I also co-wrote the tune and produced all the music.
My main tools were:
- Adobe Premiere Pro (Video Editing)
- Adobe After Effects (Motion Graphics / Titles)
- Adobe Photoshop (Graphics)
- Ableton Live (Music Production)
- WordPress (Website)
I’m most proud of the overall look of the film. The motion graphics, titles and effects bring big production value to a video with an indie budget. It was mostly shot hand-held with a Canon DSLR and handy-cam. Time-lapse scenes were shot with a tripod. I also innovated with some reverse follow shots executed via rear-facing camera mounted on a tripod between the seats of a convertible.
The music was written by Mikooshka and Jeff Simpson and produced mainly in Ableton Live. Much of it was based on live performance. Solid sound is truly the foundation for any good film or video. I laboured for a long time getting all the drums/percussion and orchestral sounds just right. Jeff Simpson laid down the pianos (acoustic/electric) that provided the backbone for the tune – without that lovely melody there would be no “Streets are for People” track for this video to accompany. There are some “sounds of the street” mixed into the video as well. Listen for the skateboard rushing past and the gears of the rickshaw in the final scene.
I shot a lot of video over five years. The biggest challenge overall was sorting through all the raw footage. I shot about 20 hours of footage and edited it down to less than five minutes. Random street clips and time-lapses made for some interesting source material, but there was no storyboard. The sequences of shots were arrived at in the editing process. Many edits and experiments produced the final cut.
Last but not least I’m very proud of the workflow and media production routines I developed.
I learned how to or improved my ability to:
- Edit a complex video sequence using Adobe Premiere Pro
- Plan and produce motion graphics, particularly for a title sequence (After Effects)
- Render to professional standard formats (such as ProRes QT) and convert using Adobe Media Encoder
- Apply colour grading effects to give scenes a cohesive look (Premiere Pro)
- Fix clips with stabilization, time stretch and de-noise inside After Effects / Premiere Pro
- Generate lighting and visual effects via software tools from Adobe / Red Giant
- Write, arrange and produce music using the Ableton Live DAW / master the mix with Ozone
- Arrange orchestral music parts using samples and midi (VSTs by Native Instruments, Myroslav Philharmonik)
As a bonus I strengthened my knowledge of how to:
- Coordinate video production, find talent, and location scout
- Manage a multi-aspect backup routine for thousands of graphic, video, sound and project files
- Promote projects via social media and distribute using tools like HootSuite / Buffer
Please take a moment to check out the video and website – full links below!
Cheers – hope you like it!
Music and sound production by Mikooshka aka Mike Simpson.
Video production and motion graphics by Mike Simpson.
Music co-written by Jeff Simpson (piano) with vocals by Grey Coyote
and guitar by Paul Schedlich.
Thank you to video participants: Jeff Simpson, Grey Coyote, Shamez Amlani, Paul Schedlich, Aaron Water and Nadia Tumakova
Thank you to project contributors: Chris Holvs (video), Josh McConnell (photography) and Nick Caron (illustration).