Tips for Creating Music Video Montages

When I was in high school, a friend and I got more than a little obsessed with making music videos. When I say this, I mean we’d mostly dress up and dance around lip-synching in front of her Macbook, recording ourselves into iMovie. Fast-forward a fews years later, and I’m a working musician, making my own music and starting to think about making some music videos. The first video I started is still being shot, but over the summer another friend and I had an idea to record and film an acoustic cover of a rap song, to serve as a fun contrast to my own music, which is decidedly more on the indie-folk end of the spectrum. Behold my cover of Nicki Minaj’s “Itty Bitty Piggy:” (Disclaimer: there are a few swear words in here. It’s a rap song. Maybe don’t play this when the kids are around…)


My friend Alison Mah and I figured out the concept for the video, and she filmed and edited the clip. She did such a great job of it that she inspired me to try my own hand at video-editing. Alyzee, my fellow Ahimsa Media intern, and I shot a whole bunch of footage with the intention of making a fun tribute video for our teen-friendly character, Shea. As this was a video ostensibly made by a teen with the target audience of other teens, and also because Shea is a fictional character, it was important not to show too much of my face in the footage. This was a challenge, but I think it actually added to the accessibility of the video in the end. Here is the video:


This post is of necessity not going to be a step-by-step guide about how to manually edit videos, as there are myriad video-editing programs out there, and I am by no means an expert on any of them. However I did learn some things in the process that I wish someone had shared with me:

1) Getting timing exactly right the first time IS important. Little gaps, or strange transitions make for awkward interruptions in the video that really are noticeable. Make sure to be as exact as possible about transitions as you go through your footage. You really, really don’t want to go back and fix every transition. Believe me.

2) Play around, both in the shooting and editing process! Lots of my favourite moments in Shea’s video came about by chance or whim. I had actually finished editing the clips together before I discovered that I could play around with contrast and colour in iMovie. I then went through and played with each separate clip’s colour and contrast until I was happy with them. The colours are definitely my favourite part of the video, and give it a whimsical vibe.

3) If you are making a music video montage like we did, look for a song that matches what you want to say in the video, but try not to make it too literal. If the song mentions eagles, and you show a shot of an eagle flying, it might be a little too contrived. Try to be unobtrusively quirky and unexpected in your images, no matter the subject matter. Everyone appreciates a clever image/lyric/music match-up.

4) Make sure to name and tag your video appropriately. The most prevalent part of the name should be to credit the musician. For example, we called Shea’s video “Hannah Georgas – The Beat Stuff tribute,” after the artist and title of the song we made the montage around. The video is yours, but the music is the musician’s. Credit them!

5) Most of all, have fun. If you’re making a video-montage, what better time is there to play around with effects, timing, and images? With modern technology, everyone can be a passable film-maker and graphics editor. Take advantage of it! Explore as you go! Video-editing can be a time consuming process, but it doesn’t have to have to be painful. And in the end, you have a guaranteed crowd-impressing product. (Lots of people don’t realise how easy it is to edit videos…)

Our Family is Growing

We are very pleased to announce that our family has grown!!!  We have a few new additions to add to the Hargreave / Yearwood team, on top of our wonderful crew of educational and tech based contractors.

The first new addition to the family is Liz Kearsley, a photographer and journalist hailing from the UK. Liz has already been a nominee in an international photography contest since she joined our ranks and has had a few rather amusing introductions to Canadian culture, having joined us in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, to help tell the Yorkton Film Festival’s story interactively.

3 of our new team members: Bronwyn, Liz and Alyzee

Shortly after Liz’s arrival, we had twins!  No, really we welcomed two new interns from UBC’s English Department, Alyzee Lakhani and Bronwyn Malloy.  Both have been a welcome addition to the team.  They have been getting their feet wet writing on the Yorkton Film Festival Blog and helping Emme Rogers out with her prose.  Currently they are busy developing a tween and teen friendly character for Erica Hargreave to talk about in the classroom, and they will be assisting Erica this summer with her programs for Capilano University and the Delta School District.

Liz, Alyzee and Bronwyn Playing with Imagery for the Shaw Rocket Fund

Finally, we are very pleased to have Susan Brinton acting as a business advisor to us on some interactive projects that we are building for the future.  With over 20 years experience in film and television, including as an Executive in Charge of Production for CanWest and the Global Television Network, and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Television for both the Canadian Television Fund and Telefilm Canada, Susan’s advice and guidance is absolutely invaluable. We are thrilled to be working with and learning from her.