I highly commend the web page 'Nine top tips for Media students'. From the people behind theory.org.uk, its worth a read!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Class Xmas LipSynch Vid Production 2015

Your challenge is to plan, shoot and edit a complete green screen video in time to be shared and screened in the final week of term.
After some ... discussion, you chose:

We'll use this for our timings, and for the audio track we'll edit to - make sure you all use this particular upload (there are many more!) to work out timings. It seems to be the most widely viewed version (4.5m views).

To succeed in this task you need to break the production down to steps:

STEP 1: Complete a full timing sheet, including some denotation (description) of instrumental sections. Note the start time of each element. As you're doing a green screen shoot, you don't need to storyboard or work on a call sheet, but you do need to agree on...
You don't need detailed denotation, just lyrics and clear information on any instrumental sections - leave room to note which people you've filmed for each portion (filming more than one at some points gives you the option of experimenting with layering).

STEP 2: ...Decide on key props/costume. You'll have seen in the Britney Spears, Alice Cooper, Lady Gaga and 1D videos that some combination of wig/s, hat, clothes (typically a coat/jacket, but also bandanas, wedding dress ... even an actual snake skin!) are donned (worn) by each performer filmed to clearly denote them as the specific pop star. 
Discuss and agree on which props/costume you will use. Bear in mind that we will probably be limited to shots which crop off feet, unless we source a bigger, very robust green screen. Take loose inspiration from the video/band, but think generally: glam rock (outrageous costume), 70s (stick-on sideburns?! long hair: wig), Xmas (tinsel... but also take inspiration from the lyrics, which mention Santa, reindeer...). 
Don't make it too intricate - you want to be able to swap these between performers quickly.
consider whether you might be able to include a real/fake guitar (so, not just the singer?), maybe even drums?! Doing this gives you options of greater variety, not just always focusing on the singer, plus you can have different people lined up to shoot while costumes are swapped around.

The Slade look ... groovy!

STEP 2.5 Are there simple dance sequences that you can choreograph, or other physical mannerisms of the Slade performers that you could coach performers to mimic? If you want a Top of the Pops feel, could you have 'crowd' scenes - and might KS3 students be ideal for this?
You will need to check in advance on any issues with use of student or staff identity.

STEP 3: Source key props/costume. Make a list. Delegate responsibility for acquiring these. Your deadline is Monday 7th December to enable shooting to commence that week.

STEP 4: Set a venue and shoot date. Consider the calendar; avoid clashing with other events. Mock exams also need to be considered. You need to check that your desired location is: available, including enough time to set up and dismantle the green screen; suitable for lighting (even lighting is key to green screening); has a large flat surface you could paper tape the green screen to (damaging neither screen nor wall); enough room for camera placement (you need to take the camera there to check!!!); and some room for the next performers behind the camera to be given instructions and costume. You will also need to be able to play the track audio to guide lipsynching. Lining up a lyric video (see below) would be advisable: can you project this?
Get an A3 copy of your timing sheet ready for the shoot.

STEP 5: Publicise and promote the venture. Tutor announcement? Bulletin article? Poster (see examples below)? Assembly announcement? This is a test of initiative and marketing skills!

A few examples of quickly produced promo posters for comparable efforts...

STEP 6: Set up and film. You could take turns to lead (direct/produce) the shoot, and might also have delegated specific tasks from checking battery charge, SD card capacity, mounting green screen, accessing and controlling lyric video, camera framing ... It is vital that every time a line or instrumental section is filmed that you note this on your timing sheet.
You might consider having treats on hand as an enticement/thankyou for performers willing to look a bit silly on screen.
Be constantly mindful that this is not an easy thing for everyone to do, and be encouraging but understanding!

STEP 7: Edit. You could produce a single version or split into two teams to produce rival cuts. You'll need to consider what to insert behind the green screened footage, which might be still images or video footage, original or googled/ripped. If you split up each of you will have more opportunities to experiment with layering and other video FX.

You can see some examples of how students have worked to similar briefs (some with green screen, some not, but most involving key elements noted above) in this playlist:

Over to you...

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