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Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Lesson 32 of 39

Soundtracks for Dummies Part 2

Victor Ha

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

32. Soundtracks for Dummies Part 2

Lesson Info

Soundtracks for Dummies Part 2

Close your eyes. The three words are energetic, edgy and aggressive. Okay, energetic, edgy and aggressive. ♪ Is this thing on? ♪ (rock music) ♪ I can't hear it ♪ That works, that really works. Okay another one, romantic, simple and sweet. ♪ Open your eyes ♪ ♪ Look into mine ♪ ♪ With just one stare ♪ ♪ I know I'll be fine ♪ ♪ Open those lips ♪ ♪ Lock them with mine ♪ ♪ With just one kiss ♪ ♪ Our hands intertwine ♪ So I mean that was romantic, simple and sweet from the way that the music was to even the words that were being sung to the voice of the singer, okay? So I believe in this technique guys, it works because a lot of the videos that I was searching for songs for, I needed to find a way to actually get that song to play and make it do the right thing so I sat there and I would have three words and I would go through this and I would go through all the songs and make sure they were the right songs, you know? 'cause the, you can take time, it can take a lot of effort but you jus...

t, you do it you know? And in an instance where I had to just replace other songs, that were in existing videos or had to just pick a song after the fact with an edit that was there, I just did my best to match the song to the overall feel of the video, okay? So another one that I'm gonna do here is quirky, upbeat and retro. Heard this one already? (country banjo music) it's quirky, it's a little upbeat. It's a little retro, okay. It's a little mixed in, once you kind of get the beat coming in, that's a little bit yeah? Okay. I love this song, this song's great. So let's try it out, okay, let's try it out. I want something light, silly and ironic. Okay and I've got three videos that we're gonna watch in full, the same video with three different songs and I want us to pick when we're all done watching it what song it was, okay? So here we go. (upbeat jazz music) Okay that's the first one. Hold your comments. Same video, another song. (upbeat pop music) ♪ We've been breakin' all the rules ♪ ♪ We've been happy we've been glad ♪ ♪ Most of all we've been blessed with all ♪ ♪ The good things that we've had ♪ ♪ If they ask us where we come back again ♪ ♪ To the place we're dreaming of ♪ ♪ We did it all ♪ ♪ To be with the ones we love ♪ ♪ We did it all ♪ ♪ To be with the ones we love. ♪ Okay, that's your second one, hold your comments, here's your final one, last song. ♪ One, two, three, four ♪ ♪ Everything you do it sends me ♪ ♪ Higher than the moon with every ♪ ♪ Twinkle in your eye you strike a match ♪ ♪ That lights my heart on fire ♪ ♪ When you're near I had mad blushing face ♪ ♪ And trip on my shoelaces ♪ ♪ Grace just isn't my forte ♪ ♪ But it brings me to my knees when you say ♪ ♪ Hello how are you ♪ ♪ My darling, today ♪ ♪ I fall into a pile on the floor ♪ ♪ Puppy love is hard to ignore ♪ ♪ Whenever little thing I do you do adore ♪ Okay. So the words were, light, silly and ironic. So which version did you like that would pair with that the best? Third. Third one. Third one? Marissa? Yeah. Third one. I think there's something very interesting and you'll correct me if I'm wrong, when there's a good song that you're hearing for the first time, you're listening for the words so if they're saying clearly, like the third song it's not as attractive, the second song's sort of like, I was listening for the words and there's a lot of action going on and I felt they were clashing. Okay. So yeah I would either go with one or three. Three, okay. How, what are some of the responses from the chat room so far? Summer Kirk is saying first. First? What are you thinking? I'm thinking the second, I like the second one. Let's see, we have Hannah banana who says the last one. I tend to think the last one because of the word ironic. Yes. That's a hard word. But they're saying like anything you do I adore. It's not the black fly in your chardonnay okay, that's not what ironic means. Right, but it's like everything you do I adore and like, it's about these people who are doing things that aren't really adorable. Exactly, exactly. It's hard to pick music to a word like ironic. Yes, so. Something that stood out to me too and I don't remember the first person that was singing whether they were male or female but that film seemed like it was about the woman and she was kind of working the guys over and the person singing the song was female and that kind of stuck to me too. Very interesting. As irony. So the song that we ended up using was the third one, okay, so it was every little, dah dah dah dah, that one that was the one we picked and we picked a girl voice because the main character was a girl so that was great intuition on your part. And you're absolutely correct that ironic is a really hard word to pick a song for however, what you should glean from that is that when you pick hard words it makes you be more discerning. You can't pick easy words and then expect to be specific with the song, right? If you want specificity, you pick specific words and ironic, the minute we put ironic into it it was like, oh this is a no brainer because in some way shape or form, those three songs did have some of those words right? But it was the fact that third word, was like a safety valve that prevented us from using the other two songs, okay? And that's what, that's what it really comes down to is that when you're trying to pick your songs it's these three words that kind of get you the first level, you listen to a batch of songs and you listen to them again and think about the second word, listen to them again and think about that third word and you start filtering them out a little bit, okay? So how we doing? How does this process feel to you guys? I know it's like, we spent so much time from day one through to today and it's been so focused on production and tools and theory and filmmaking and we've spent time on lighting, we'll do more on lighting and then we're gonna do pre-production and then to throw in a unit about soundtracks almost seems non-secular and it seems so, so different from what we've been talking about and I wanna make sure that this process feels okay to you, like what do you guys feel about it? Yeah? [Audience Members overtalking] It's good, yeah. It works. Really good. Easy. Cool. Easier. It's a lot? It's not easy it's easier. Easier? Right, so what I've found in my experience with picking music is that it's, there are people who are gifted in it, there are people who just listen to a song and know it's gonna be good. I've got a friend who's a photographer, she photographs a lot of bands and she's been published in Rolling Stone, she's been published in The New York Times, she recently just got a two-page seven photo spread in The New York Times because she has innate ability not only to be a great photographer, but find bands that haven't made it big yet and photograph them, and so some of these bands that are just making it and just getting big, she's got some of their first photographs that have ever been taken together as a band and so those will be so valuable later on when those bands explode but she has a gift, and some people have that gift of being able to listen to a song and go, you know what? That's the perfect song. Some people like me, just need a little bit more work and the more structure to be able to go you know what, that song's not gonna work 'cause it doesn't meet these three words and I gave you this process because it was a process that was given to me by my friends at Triple Scoop 'cause I went to them and said, you know what I have a lot of trouble picking music. I consider myself a musical person, I love karaoke, you know. I love the stuff so can you help me figure out a good process? And we sat down and they taught me how they, they taught me how they pick music and it was such a great way for me to understand how they select music that it's something I wanted to put in this class so you guys can understand it, make sense? How we doing? Good, I've got a question from contrarian who wonders, along those lines of asking questions and we see everyone had different opinions. So contrarian wants to know, is there value in getting third party review of your choice or do you believe in sticking to your artistic purity and going with your own gut? So there's a huge difference in filmmaking versus photography, okay? In filmmaking, it's a collaborative process so I am always sending my edits out to friends that I trust their opinion on because I live with the material so long that if I don't at least get some sort of a third party opinion, I don't know if my gage is off, you know? If my needle's pointing correctly north. So photographers generally like to kind of be very insular, they keep to themselves a lot and don't ask a lot for feedback because they want to keep that process of being creative, very pure. But because filmmaking I think is just by nature more collaborative, just more people doing more jobs, kind of when get on in it, that you're open to, you should be open to criticism a little bit more. And I think when it comes down to it, there are so many moving parts to a motion project. Those moving parts, and it's kinda hard to keep track of all those spinning plates, you know, when you keep trying to track of all those spinning plates, if you have someone who isn't associated with your project viewing what you've done, it kind of helps add that, another layer of discernment and understanding towards the project, you know, so I think that's the right answer to that question, so I mean, that's what I feel about it. We spent a lot of time just listening to different music, okay, and we spent a lot of time at a point where it let, the music was affecting us on an emotional level so that we can be able to create something special. You use music to enhance a product, you use, production, you use music to enhance what you wanna say to a customer very much in the same way that we use motion to enhance the feelings that we want our viewers to have. Remember the first day, I asked you the question why do we capture video? We capture video because it's multi-sensory, it evokes emotion and it's fun, right? So that's what we wanna do, music just adds that extra layer of multi-sensory and that extra layer of just emotion. So Victor I know, we're not getting into editing during this course, but can we briefly touch on how much more emotion you can evoke by editing to the music and if you have any tips for us as far as editing to music, if you can just? So, so when we're picking a song chances are you're picking a song based upon the beat and the feeling and the, how the song moves along okay? So as you place a song into an edit, you should put the song in your timeline first and when you put the song in your timeline first, that'll give you something to edit to. Rarely, if ever, do I make an edit and not have a song in my timeline. So I put the song in, and then I do all of my editing first, to that song, okay? And so, typically you're gonna listen to the song a few times, sometimes you wanna edit on beat. On beat means the cut happens on the beat, off beat means the cut happens off beat and when you're watching a film or a movie that has no dialogue and it's just music, typically it's done on beat, and so music is counted in one of two ways. You can count in one, two, three, four, two, two, three, four. Three, two, three, four and that four count acts as a measure and when you count four times of a four count, that's four measures. Or you can count it in threes, one two three, one two three, one two three, one two three, right, and that's like a waltz right? It kinda swings. So if you count music in fours or threes, there's other ways to count it too but those are the very basic ways of listening to music and editing to music, if you can listen to a song, and let's actually listen to a song right now and count out that song and we'll see here, 'cause when you edit to the beat, when you edit to the beat, you've gotta know how to count and where the strong beats are right? So here we go, oh I got a kick out, give me a second here. Okay so here we go, (country banjo music) So wait for, let's turn it down just a little bit here, okay, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four, so imagine an edit, I would edit now, two three four, cut, cut, hold and then, cut two three four, cut two three four, cut, hold, and then cut and then you can actually do it a different way too. So can you hear the beat? Click, click, you can do an off beats, click, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut click, hold, cut. So you can either cut on the strong beats or cut on the off beats and it changes the way you can perceive that song and perceive that edit okay? Let's listen to another song. So this song doesn't have a strong beat, does it? So when the song doesn't have a strong beat, you can actually kind of get away without the need to cut on beat. Okay but what's the count first? Identify the count, one, two, three, four two, two, three, so it's four count. Okay so now that you know the count, you can pick where you want to count you can either count on, cut on one two three or four because there isn't a strong beat is there? It's just a drone. (humming along to baseline) So I listen for things in a song, so right now I've got that bass line (humming along to baseline) Right? So I'll use that as kind of my my constant and I'll listen, so if there's like a little trill like that I'll make an edit happen there, okay? You listen to your song and you edit to the song, okay let's listen for another one. (upbeat music) That's easy. Okay let's see here. That's an easy one too. Oh okay, here. So you listen to the song and it starts off very simple and you can actually not even need to cut to this but what's the count? Two, two, three, four, one, two, three, oh so now the drums come in oh so wait let's play that over really quickly here, we listen to the song so it's very simple, I would not do a lot of editing here and coming up, you would listen 'cause I know that that strong beat is starting to come in, that's when I'm gonna make the action happen in my film okay? So it's maybe one, two three, four. One, two three, four. Listen to that kick drum right? (humming to drum beat) So you listen to that song and you listen to that drum and because that drum line is so strong, you've got to edit to that. Alternatively, (humming to guitar medley) so you can edit to that too. Alright, so think about this so if we're gonna edit to that, dan-dan nan nan-nan nan-nan-nan-nan-nan, right? You can do a really quick edit, edit, cut cut cut cut cut cut cut cut, cut, cut cut cut, cut cut, cut cut, and just flash stuff and into cut cut cut cut cut cut, it'd be very very quick or you can do it the other way and edit to the drums. (humming drum beat) cut, cut and, cut, cut, hold, cut, cut, right? So what I like to do is when I watch my own film and when I edit, I'm always sitting there and I identify the count first, one two three four, one two three four, or one two three, one two three, one two three, and on the strong beats is the one, and on the off beats are the twos. Okay in a four count. So if it's one two three four, it's one two three four, one two three four, one two three four and it's always going to be the strong beat is that one. So you want the most important cut or the most important action to happen on that one. (audience member mumbles) Yeah absolutely, alright. So here's the thing right, let's make believe you edit a piece and it's one cut, so it's cut cut cut cut cut cut cut cut, it gets really offensive, right? It gets really offensive so you can do cut cut cut, hold, hold hold hold, cut cut cut hold hold, you know? And actually hold off and give your editing what we call pacing, alright? So Victor talk about, I'm so glad we asked you that question. (audience members laughing) Tell us about choosing a song with vocals versus choosing just an instrumental, like when would you do that? So when you pick a song with vocals versus picking an instrumental, okay, the one thing you have to be very careful about are the words that that person is singing. So a lot of the times, you have to be aware of what the words do because do the words reinforce the themes in your song or do they contradict the themes in your song? Because as someone is watching it, it can either play into what you're doing or play against what you're doing so I think picking an instrumental tends to be the easiest way to go because if you're trying to find a song in ten thousands of them, it can be hard to match words up with what your film's about. However, if you can find a song with words that can support the material, I think that's a really great thing. But you don't have to. I mean plenty of movies use instrumentals, plenty of movies use instrumentals okay? Great and we have time for maybe one more final question and this is one that everyone is asking over and over again. Now, I know that, like the music for all the videos that we've been playing here, we've thankfully Triple Scoop music who, Roy and the people there, are just awesome and we love working with them and they let us use those so thank you to Triple Scoop music. They're obviously a great resource. Yes. For affordable rights for, Usage. Affordable music usage with the correct rights. Where else do you go? Where do you get your music from? I, you know, I've been in this industry for a long time, like 13 years and in the photography space, there wasn't anywhere that you could go until Triple Scoop music came on so I unfortunately, I've really only know them because they were there when I started, you know, so they kind of captured me from the beginning and I've just been a loyal partner and subscriber to the services for the longest time. I'm sure if you Google, you know, if you Google royalty free music, you'll find other sites. The thing that I like about Triple Scoop, and I don't want this to turn into an advert but what I do like about them is that they have, they have songs that are kind of broken out into different types of work. Portraits, you know, senior portraits, events and fashion you know so it helps you pick a song and all these songs that I've found, I picked off of Triple Scoop music and you know it's just my personal taste. They've got tens of thousands of songs on there and so I'm pretty sure you can find stuff that you'd like too as well.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

If you own a DSLR camera, you already own a powerful filmmaking tool. Ready to learn how to use it? Join CreativeLive and Victor Ha for a course that will cover the core principles of capturing video with your DSLR.

Through hands-on demos - including how to create compelling video interviews - Victor will guide you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to apply the compositional skills of still photography to taking video. You’ll also learn about how to navigate the video-capturing features of your DSLR, choose the right gear for your filmmaking needs, and incorporate audio into your shoots. From framing shots to producing simple projects to spatial relationships, the skills you gain in this course will leave you ready and inspired to create high-quality, engaging film projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Victors White Board Notes - High Resolution

Pre-Production Planner


Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Victor van Dijk

This course was quite a treat! I had been learning piecemeal about DSLR Filmmaking but never had the opportunity to follow a course that ties it all together. And my namesake Victor is ex-cel-lent!!! Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a very very clear (I would almost say, lucid!), carefully, comprehensively tied together course teaching all you need and wanted to know about DSLR Filmmaking. Massive PLUS is that the course is first and before all NOT about the nitty-gritty technical details and numbers, but all about the basics of what filmmaking REALLY is all about. And yes, technique and gear are part of that but not for their own sake. And Victor shares that it's all about fun, and telling your story your way in the way that you like. I truly admire Victor's carefully planned and laid out path, in my opinion he planned the course exactly and meticulously like he would a full-blown movie production. And he is very open and honest and not belittling at all. He is really passionate, compassionate and 'infectious' with his happy happy mood :-)! I HIGHLY recommend this course for anyone wanting to properly and thoroughly learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, with a strong focus on using a DSLR.

Penny Foster

This is a very well constructed course by Victor Ha, who is very easy to watch, and very knowledgeable about using the DSLR for more than just taking pictures. For a Wedding Photographer like me, who wants to add some moving images into a slideshow for my client, this course was perfect. Victor shows us that, with the equipment you already own as a working professional photographer, you can get started into video RIGHT NOW, with baby steps. This is not a course on video editing, so if you need that tuition look elsewhere, BUT, Victor shows us how to set our cameras up for success right from the start, so that when we are at the editing stage, the footage is in the perfect state possible to produce excellently exposed, perfectly colour balanced material. He goes over the use of a light meter for capturing video, and how essential it is to get the exposure right 'in camera', so this is certainly a Fundamental DSLR Filmmaking course, for anyone who is already using their DSLR for stills, but who is interested in adding something else to their skill set. Victor is so enthusiastic in his teaching style, and this is a course I will keep coming back to time after time.

Sara safajar

Excellent overview on how to think as a storyteller with DSLR video. Great breakdown and really accessible examples- fun video on the making of a peanut butter sandwich- which inspire and make it feel like the video beast can be conquered. This course is packed with great ideas on not only figuring out to how to make the switch from still to motion, but also creative inspiration on how to begin thinking cinematically. Well worth the price. Great course!