So you’ve got a band. Or your friends do. Or you want to get involved on the creative side of video but you’re not up to the demands of a full-length movie. Or you’ve got a digital camcorder that’s crying out to be used for something more than Christmas at Mom’s house. Or you work professionally with DV, but you’re getting tired of making training films for insurance claims processors. Make a music video. The Kennedys will show you how.
It’s pretty amazing that Paul and Maura Kennedy could find time to write this book, considering how much time they spend touring. While they’re on the road, they make their own videos, and they’ve learned how to do it on the cheap, while still creating little gems that make their music shine even brighter. Make Your Own Music Videos with Adobe Premiere brings together all they’ve learned about both Premiere and the art of low-budget music video production -- in plain English.
So who are these Kennedys (not to be confused with the early-‘80s Dead Kennedys)?
They started out playing in Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra; they’ve played with everyone from Steve Earle to Nils Lofgren to Roger McGuinn. One hates to tag music with adjectives -- Texas country, roots music, folk-inflected -- but if you like Lucinda Williams, or Kathy Mattea, or Mary-Chapin Carpenter, or even some old Springsteen, you’ll love their stuff. We’re not selling CDs here: I’m telling you this because the accompanying CD-ROM contains their newest music videos, and even if you’re watching them purely to learn video technique, these tunes will stick to your ribs. (Start with "Nickeltown.")
Because they’re pros, they can go “beyond the box” to teach the realities of music video production that aren’t in the Premiere manual. (How to shoot a live performance without inciting the performers and audience to murder you. What you need to know about rights. Where to find funky costumes cheap, so the band doesn’t look like it walked straight out of Kmart.)
In an earlier lifetime, Maura Kennedy was a corporate WordPerfect trainer, so she knows how to teach software, too. You hit the ground running in Chapter 1, actually producing a simple music video segment; then you step back and look at the big picture: what it’ll take to really do the job right.
Drawing on their experience and some great music videos you’ve probably already seen, they show how to conceptualize your video: how to bring a piece of music alive visually, as you envision a project you actually have the time, skills, and resources to create.
After an utterly crucial chapter on shooting raw footage, you’ll learn essential lighting and camera techniques; how to bring action into your footage; and what you’ll need to know about continuity and shot composition. You’ll also discover sources for additional low-cost or no-cost footage, and learn how to import your footage into Premiere quickly and efficiently.
Then, you’re on to editing: making your first rough cut and tweaking it into condition; adding titles, sound overdubs, and maybe even narration; and using built-in Premiere effects. (There’s even a chapter on shooting footage with your ideas for special effects already in mind.) You’ll learn how to prepare your video for tape, CD, or the Web; then how to promote and distribute your video (stuff the Kennedys have doubtless learned the hard way through a long and not-always-easy ride through the American music biz).
Perhaps you’re thinking, I don’t own Premiere and I’m not sure I want to spend the money till I’m sure I can do this. No sweat: The book’s CD-ROM contains 30-day trial versions of both Premiere and After Effects, Adobe’s great professional special-effects package. Work at your music video for a month. You’ll be amazed how far you can get before the clock runs out -- and by the time you do, you may well be ready to make the investment. (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.