Monday, November 12, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #36 & #37

Africa 2002:  Grey As A Mouse (NO copyrighted music)  #36

Africa 2002:  Grey As A Mouse (YES copyrighted music)  #37

These are two versions of my "Elephant" video from our second trip to Africa.  You may recall that Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was released in 2001.  I decided to read Tolkein's books before seeing the movie, and read them during this trip.  Coincidentally we experienced a large herd of elephants at the same time I read Sam's recitation of a nursery rhyme about "Olifants".
This could not be mere coincidence.

I was inspired to use the poem in a video.  It begins with a native play that includes an elephant puppet,  then I come on screen to personally narrate the poem and introduce close-up video of the giant animals.  The closing scenes are of the elephant herd, with titles and background music.
Example #36 above uses natural sound from the elephant puppet show for the closing background music.  It works well enough and won the annual competition at the local amateur videomakers club.
Example #37 is the same movie, but an excerpt from Fleetwood Mac's song Tusk is used for the closing music.  I think it's a superior version, but the music would have violated rules for the competition.  Notably, no one has questioned the use of Tolkein's work.

Lessons Learned:
There are good alternatives to the use of unlicensed music.
Allow yourself to be inspired; look for magical coincidences like the one described above!

Don't be afraid to enter your work into a competition!

Music Copyright Considerations:
This is a short excerpt from one of my older edited videos.  It contains some identifiable music that is regrettably used without permission.  But remember the time this video was created; in 2002 the audience for this production was usually sitting in my living room.  "Fair Use" allowed me to use the music without consideration of copyright.
Today, with digital distribution, artists' rights deserve more attention.  Since this video is intended for non-profit illustration and educational purposes only, I believe that valid arguments can be made for its "Fair Use" in this situation.  Please understand that I do not encourage improper use of copyrighted material.

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