One of my main focuses for the visuals for the live performance of Before, is that they work well with the song and that they both complement one another. To achieve this, all the elements of the video’s production will be linked to the movements of the song.
The decision to omit all vocals and lyrics was partly circumstantial – I tried and failed to write and decent vocal line. Once I had decided to use it as the song to design visuals to, it became clear that that was ok, as it would just emphasise the final performance as more cinematic with the emphasis less on the band.
The advantage that I have is that, as the song’s writer, I do not have to study the song the way I would someone else’s as I already know all of the theory and the creative process that went into it. However, it also means that I do not have the benefit of listening to the finished track ‘for the first time’ – without all the associations and connotations I have developed through the process of taking the song from a few ideas to a finished piece.
I created a short questionnaire to try and get a range of initial responses to the track. The questions are:
- Did you enjoy this song? (0 – not at all, 10 – very much)
- Do you think that this piece of music would work as part of a film score?
- If so, what genre of film would you expect to hear it in? (choice from selection)
- Did you feel that the music was…(Dramatic, sad, uplifting, building to a climax, impactful, powerful, dark)
- Did the music prompt you to think about or visualise anything specific? (please outline)
- Do you think the song lends itself to visuals based in (choice from selection)
The reasoning behind these questions:
- Mainly for my own validation… ha
- The selection and development of the track was based on the fact that I thought it would. Hopefully fresh ears would agree.
- This would give me a great indication of what style of film I should create.
- The options I gave were a selection of descriptors that I thought could describe the track. I wanted to gauge how many people agreed with them and these figures could then directly be applied to the film.
- Space for people to leave a more personal response to the track.
- These were a few examples of scenery that the music could work with. This was to see if there were any that people largely connected to or vice versa.
Through social media, I managed to get around 80 responses from a cross section of different tastes and interests. This corresponds well with the size of audience the film will hopefully be performed to and as such, is a large enough data set to be deemed relevant.
Here are the survey monkey generated visualisations of the responses:
Cracking, that’s what I was hoping for
So the biggest hits are; action, superhero, sci-fi, adventure and fantasy. It is heartening that each genre has been selected at least once and I am pleased that a broad range of genre are thought of as applicable.
Again, I am fairly pleased with how inconclusive these results appear to be. The options I provided were essentially a series of buzzwords that I thought were applicable to the track and the responses show that they all are. The most selected buzzwords are ‘powerful’, ‘dramatic’ and ‘building to a climax’ – the accompanying film must be all of these.
Of the people who chose to respond to this question, some were incredibly in depth. Here are a selection of my favourites:
I imagined a war scene, people running towards each other with shields and sword. Or someone walking away from something they love/loved that can no longer be.
12/7/2013 6:52 PM
its that build up scene, where the good guys are preparing for a fight. its the moment they realise they matter or its like a vast land scape, like from After Earth, lookign out over cliffs
A man revisiting a space where he once went to a rave with a woman who is now dead. Memory floods over him and he cries.
A) The build up to a massive Sci-Fi battle in space or on an alien planet B) A video of a helicopter’s view of a big city eg. London
Pretty simple chord progression and structure, it’s obviously a bit long for this but, edited, sounds like some of the title music for the Call of Duty series, I like the way it builds up at the end but think you could definitely increase the dynamic range more; that ending could certainly be more climactic. Sorry if you weren’t looking for feedback on the song as it’s completed, but the feeling I have is that the song vaguely fits a sort of Action Film/Game stereotype, but the ideas of the piece could use more definition in order to better fit that stereotype – otherwise it’s much harder to categorise!
A dramatic montage – preparing for battle. A machine/ UFO/ creature gradually appearing. A dramatic conclusion being revealed.
Heroic moment of male action figure slow-mo shooting at a bunch of enemies. Screaming with that deep toned “aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh” with the recoil of the weapon being focussed on his arms. The odd explosion and what not in the background.
it prompted me to think about Masterchief ass-fucking every single evil alien in the galaxy
Action, fire, destruction, heavy shit going on in the background with the main character of a film, a Vin Diesel-esque hard man being a fucking boss over the top of the track
People running towards the horizon. A loan figure on a cliff edge staring out into the distance. A big of slow motion blade fighting at one point too.
Horses running wild / wild animals running free
A lycra-clad female jumping from a skyscraper, free falling then releasing her parachute and landing triumphantly on the ground where she continues to flea her pursuer.
A victorious ending after a lin and hard fight (physically or metaphorically); a well-earned homecoming; a happily ever after. Blues, turquoise, and purples to start; reds and oranges at peak; ending with comfortable yet lively greens and yellows.
A chase, through a huge crowd, building up to a point where the ‘chased’ hits a dead end and has to ‘fly’ perhaps jump off the edge..
I found myself visualising a montage of action, all sorts of action, like a compilation of moments from action/drama films. I also imagined aerial footage of nature’s most powerful and awesome sights.
I am pleased with the responses to this question as well as they demonstrate the diversity of the potential location/scenery of the film.
I think there are two elements to note here:
- As yet, the song has no visual accompaniment and as such, is open to an array of possibilities. As soon as the song is heard with a visual accompaniment an association will be made. In other words, whatever subject matter I choose for visuals will affect and dictate the imagery that will end up being associated with the track in the mind of the audience.
- That said, the data collected from questions 3 and 4 indicate that the music best lends itself to an action setting: dynamic and building throughout to a dramatic and potentially violent climax.