How Do I Film A "One Man Band" Video?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by JPM42, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. JPM42 macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2007
    I'm a musician and I've recently fancied the idea of doing a YouTube series of me performing a mixture of both cover songs and originals. However, one of the most appealing aspects is being able to do it "one man band" style; that is, it looks like a band performing, but it's all me.

    A good example of this would be Paul McCartney's music video for "Coming Up":

    While my goals are far more modest, the concept is the same.

    Since I don't have the technical knowledge of how this would be done, I come to you. I'm equipped with an iPhone 4 as my HD camera, with iMovie '11, and Logic Pro for the music stuff. Would I need to be looking at different applications/equipment (i.e. Final Cut Pro X) in order to achieve this goal?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    After Effects' RotoBrush comes in handy in such cases.
    Or Final Cut Pro/Motion and loads of Chroma Keying.

    You have to shoot each layer separately then compose it together later. iMovie won't cut it.
  3. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I would recommend After Effects if you want to keep all of you inside the same frame. There is a 30 day trial on the Adobe website so maybe you could have a go at a few videos and see if it takes your fancy.

    If you are looking to do a much simpler version without much moving around you could just make use of multiple layers in FCP X and crop each shot so that it's only showing the character you need.

    You could also do a much simpler method whereby you record each band member (I am assuming four) in a different environment then scale down each clip so the four clips fit together in the size of a normal clip something like this:


    You will have to find some sort of tripod attachment or something to lean your iPhone onto to ensure that the camera stays in the same place for each musician you record if you want to do the more complicated methods.
  4. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    This one is easier to do:

    Camera on a tripod, each instrument shot separately, then just put on top of each other, synchronized and cropped to taste. Still no iMovie, but for FCP X this would be piece of cake.

    He messed up the light a bit, but you could fix that in post. Watch out for microphone cables....

    That guy is a great musician though.
  5. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009

    I think your goal is an exciting one and will be a learning experience that will also give you more for your "reel."

    After watching the Good, Bad, and Ugly video, which as cgbier suggested would be simpler for you to do by yourself or at least minimal help, I will add a suggestion: If you can, avoid one long take.

    That might have been OK decades ago when moving a camera was expensive. With your set-up it's nothing. Do your whole thing with the overlay takes so you can make the core footage. Then get some more footage with your camera on "one" of you (playing drums or keyboards or even "watching" the band) and cut those into the other footage. It will make the video more interesting/exciting to the viewer. It's almost expected.

    Good luck on the project. Let us know when it's done so we can see it.
  6. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    That's actually a thing I do with my summer interns every year to teach them synchronizing, basic motion effects, color matching, lighting, etc. It's always their first project: Interview yourself.

    Technically, it is pretty simple, but you learn a lot in the effort.
  7. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I'll second cgbeir's recommendation. That would be the best way for you to tackle it now, especially at your skill level.

    Then as you get better you can experiment with roto, keying, and tracking.
  8. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I like the killer queen one but yea for starters go with the Good/Bad version. Try and get all footage shot in the same light :) hard also if your dealing with natural unless you get an awesome sunny day.
  9. wonderspark, Jul 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011

    wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    I did this a long time ago with careful placement of the actor and a lot of masking using After Effects.

    Camera on tripod, roll camera, then have actor play out all positions from start to finish in each area while the camera rolls.

    In post, cut the shot into as many "clones" as you have on screen, and composite them all together in their own layers. Finally, get busy with the masks and drive yourself nuts. Every time the actor crosses a clone, you get to roto him out, but if you keep the guy from crossing any lines at the same time in the edit, you're golden.

    Basically, it takes a lot of planning, blocking and practice for a good result.

    The Killer Queen vid is very impressive on a couple levels (the guy seems to play all instruments, sings quite well, and he planned out his blocking pretty well) but also has obvious technical problems with the different color correction / lighting issues, and some pretty choppy rotoscope work. I'm also impressed the sync didn't become an issue, even if he just replayed the song quietly in the background and took care to edit it out / cover it up from his own voice recording. All it really needs is tighter roto work and some color correction.
  10. Mirrors macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2011
  11. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009

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