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One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:57 am UTC
by Eliminator Jr.
Hey guys, I'm interested in making a one-man-band video. That is, playing the guitar(s), the bass, the drums and doing the vocals and then film all of them and have them in the same video, creating the illusion that there is three or five or ten of me playing in a band at once. I've figured that I should keep the camera in the exact same spot and film each part individually (obviously, I can't film myself doing two things at once), but putting them in the same video is the hard part. As in, to make things simple I'm making each "member" of the band stay in a set position and not overlapping (eg. the guitarist won't be standing in front of the drummer at any point) so I can just put the videos together and because the camera remains still I can just piece things together.

Now what I'm asking is, how the hell do I do this? Does anybody know of any video programs I could use?

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:21 am UTC
by smw543
Most decent ones can do this, but you'd need a blue screen setup (can't remember the name of it, but the one we used in high school had this feature and it was pretty middle-of-the-road, probably $100-200 USD retail price.) There might be some really advanced software that can figure it out by analyzing what parts are different from each clip, but I'd imagine that a feature like that is only available on serious software. As in the kind that is way too expensive to buy and too well protected to find a bootlegged copy of.

So again, a blue screen should work fine.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:46 am UTC
by Eliminator Jr.
Thanks for the quick reply, it's appreciated lots. Could you explain what a blue screen is though? I'm a complete amateur when it comes to computer terms.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:55 am UTC
by Carnildo
It's a videography term: you record the actor in front of a uniform-color screen (usually blue or green), and then replace everything that's screen-colored with a different video. See Wikipedia's article for more information.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:26 am UTC
by Eliminator Jr.
Oh wait, I'm not sure if I was being clear. I mean like in a room, I have videoed it like this:

Drums Guitar Bass Vocals

^
Camera


And I record four times with the camera in the same spot, one of me playing each instrument, how can I cut each video so the drum video only shows the part of drumming, the guitar video only shows the part of guitar etc. and then put them into the one video (and because the camera is in the same spot there won't be any dodgy edges of videos because they'll all fit in).

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:02 am UTC
by smw543
I'm not sure exactly what the problem is. Chroma key is pretty much the way to do this; it's easy and effective and pretty much the only viable option. If you're unclear on how to do it, a Google search for "diy chroma key" (DIY=do it yourself) gives over thirty thousand hits.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:48 am UTC
by DonChubby
You really don't need a Blue/Green screen, so long as each "person" is in a separate part of the screen.
If you have any sort of decent video editing software, eg. not Windows Movie Maker, you can use masks.
Here's a tutorial on how to use them in Adobe After Effects. I'd assume it works similarly in other programs.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:35 am UTC
by Eliminator Jr.
Thank you DonChubby, that's exactly what I meant. And sorry to smw543, I probably just wasn't clear enough in what I meant. But yeah, thanks heaps, I'll go look at that link now.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:21 am UTC
by Schmut
Actually, you were perfectly clear in your intent but though smw543 completely misunderstood what you were suggesting chroma key is still worth mentioning.

I imagine it's actually relatively cheap to achieve a simple chroma key set up and would assume that any editing software that allows for masking and cropping of video shall also include a feature for turning certain colours transparent. Green and blue work best, which is why they're used and it shouldn't be too much to simply buy a sheet of the right colour which you could then pin across your ceiling at different depths for filming each part. It would allow for a more realistic band set-up than the masking/cropping method.

On the other hand, low-grade editing software will be unable to completely do away with the background colour. You can see in amateur films, quite a lot, that the individuals extracted from a green screen back drop still have a green outer glow; it's especially a problem around hair. So, seeing as you know what you're doing with the masking method and are quite certain that's the path you're going to go with, I have some advice you should bare in mind.

I've used the method before also to create a film where I was arguing with my inner demon and have since been the camera man on a project where the same technique was used in a music video. Some problems occur, some of which are hard to control. First of these is simple; any camera movement from one take to the next will ruin it so lock off the camera and do not touch it until you have filmed everything! I know you've already taken that into account, so I'm sorry to reiterate it.
Secondly, something you may not have considered is lighting. If, for example, you are filming this in a room where natural light is entering through a window each take is going to have a slightly different lighting. It is unnoticable in any ordinary edit but you'll be displaying these shots side by side with a fine line between them. You can somewhat conceal the change by having a gradient between each cropped video piece but you would be far better off if you light the scene before hand and allow no natural light whatsoever to enter the room.
Lastly, little things like cables that may cross the cutting lines in your video. Just make sure not to move anything across the lines where the final image will be cut together... Or else you'll give the whole effect away.

I hope I was helpful... and not too patronising. I have a feeling I may have been patronising. :?

EDIT: Shadows! As with lights, shadows are tricky. If you're lighting your scene from the front, shadows are going to be cast on the back wall. Make sure you light the scene so that any shadow movements also do not cross the lines.
Somehow managed to forget this despite it being one of the problems with our recent music video project.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:22 am UTC
by smw543
Schmut wrote:Actually, you were perfectly clear in your intent but though smw543 completely misunderstood what you were suggesting chroma key is still worth mentioning.
The condescension is greatly appreciated :D (there was no "misunderstanding", I simply suggested one option, when it turned out that there was another option which was equally viable but much easier to implement.)

That said, masking definitely looks like the way to go. Make sure to post a link to the video when you finish it!

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:54 am UTC
by Rakysh
Do we get to see the video?

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:56 am UTC
by Helios471
Yes, I would like to see the results.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:06 am UTC
by Schmut
smw543 wrote:The condescension is greatly appreciated :D (there was no "misunderstanding", I simply suggested one option, when it turned out that there was another option which was equally viable but much easier to implement.)


I apologise for my condescension. I had been up all night watching 'The Big Bang Theory' and whenever I do anything like that I sort of associate a lot with favourite characters. This morning, I was behaving a lot like Sheldon.

Anyways, I too would like to see the results. I'd love it if you did a better job than I managed to but I warn you that I will be incredibly critical of even the tiniest flaws.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:09 pm UTC
by OmegaLordX
Too late to the party perhaps, but [url="http://www.debugmode.com/wax/"]Wax[/url] is open-source (free as in beer) and supports chroma-key/blue-screen. I have used it a little, and will probably use it for any videos I do ever.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:38 pm UTC
by MoonBuggy
Although it's already been said, a comparison of (relatively) low-end chroma keying to (relatively) low-end masking makes a decent illustration of the problems with blue/green screens.

They're not a bad solution for some things, and pretty much the only solution for a lot of situations, but at the low end I always find them to look very unprofessional - it's the combination of the 'halo' effect that Schmut mentioned (cleverly reduced in that video by using a background image of a similar hue to the bluescreen, but still visible around the hair and face) and the fact that if you're not experienced, or in a rush, the focus and perspective will be thrown all kinds of weird by simply pasting two different films together. It's a kind of 'uncanny valley' thing: I doubt many people would elucidate why, but they'd intuitively feel that bluescreened footage looks wrong. Hell, this was an ad done professionaly for national TV and you can still see that the guy is hovering in front of a flat image - you'd be amazed how naturally attuned to things like that most people are, just thanks to all the media we're bombarded with in a day. Obviously you can get around these issues, but it's difficult and expensive - hence why the greenscreen work in high-budget movies looks flawless (or sometimes even fools you into thinking it's better than a flawless natural film) but that in ads and YouTube videos tends to look crap.

Re: One Man Band Video?

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:16 am UTC
by Eliminator Jr.
Thanks again for the replies guys. Especially Schmut, I'd considered all of that but thanks for mentioning it, and the information about using gradients could come in handy. Yeah, just having a bit of trouble installing the program - nothing we won't be able to figure out. It works on my Dad's laptop, but because I'm shocking with computers I'll just have to wait until he figures out how to get After Effects on the one I use. But yeah, I'll post the video when it's done. I've got a few songs in mind but if anyone wants to see something done, I'm open to suggestions. Doesn't mean I'll do them but still. Just keep in mind there's a drum kit, bass, guitar and some organ off eBay we got for $5.55 (and an acoustic and twelve-string acoustic that don't plug into amplifiers). Everything's either twenty years old or is cheap but there's a fairly alright guitar amp (and I can probably borrow somebody's hi-hat/cymbals for the drums so they don't turn inside out when I hit them XD) so it'll turn out okay.