Tuesday, 5 April 2016

You Make Me Feel Better

Whilst I continue to be busy with the music, I have been quiet on here. A quick review of activity suggests I should do some belated updates – the new songs, the revisited projects (I don't always get it right), what I have been up to, and how I approach the music; maybe a little about my other work to give some context. The cross most striving musicians have to bear is that people don't take you seriously – the expectation that you should be doing something more productive! Saying it is "who I am" met with a glazed look. As I say, a gift and a curse…

Full Circle - You Make Me Feel Better

10th April 2010, I uploaded the first YouTube video, me strumming the guitar singing the said song filmed and edited by my brother, Kevan – a start! The video going on to get over 2,000 hits (by some way my most ‘popular’ video). It wasn't the plan to have such a simple track, wanting to produce fuller music backing for my online music. It is a bit frustrating that this version and video continues to out-perform the more accomplished songs and videos that followed!

Six years later, I have finally got a proper version of 'You Make Me Feel Better' recorded, and was fortunate to be able to make a nice video to go with it – on location! In the meantime a couple of dozen other musical projects have come and gone… I had started work on the track in 2013 getting down basic drums and chords, putting down some 'guide' vocals; soon it becomes one of many other songs I'm working on and falls down the pecking order. In the summer of 2014 I was able to make a rough demo that could be used play whilst singing to camera and videoing some footage whilst in the Isle of Man.

Groudle Glen - filming 'You Make Me Feel Better' for video
Groudle Glen - filming for video
The Isle of Man has always been a big part of my life, and after a long hiatus, it was the death of an important figure that brought me back, and into the bosom of some dear friends. So it was a joy to be there; to have a place to stay, and the loan of a car to get round the island. And a mission to film at least one video.

Two days of filming: the first up at the Point of Ayre at the northern tip of the island with a crew (Danny on camera, Barbara with the portable speaker for playback); I then decided to get some extra footage taking the tripod and filming in the beautiful and serene Groudle Glen, and then around Laxey (another glen, the tram station, and at the harbour and on the beach). The song wasn't finished, but at least I had some footage in the can for a YouTube video.

Time went by and the need to focus on one song. The meat of the backing was done a while back, in recent weeks I focused on the guitar parts (these projects tend to be organic), recording some new parts which seemed to fit. I have a confession, the outro was meant to be a guitar solo, which in the end became a keyboard part. (Guitars and recording is another story!). After much effort – and so much effort goes into these musical projects – I was able to do a mix and I had something to use for making the video.

You Make Me Feel Better

You Make Me Feel Better - filmed on location on the Isle of Man

I spent a day reviewing all of the footage I had – lot of it! And the next day I was able to make that all important start, and get some momentum. There was a nice opening shot – me singing on a bridge in Groudle Glen – it soon became obvious that the two days footage wouldn't work together (continuity), though I may use the footage for a second video.

It took 2-3 days to do the edit with Sony Vegas. When I film, I will have an idea of progressing the song as I settle at different locations, with enough footage for the cutaways (for transitions, and to hide the bits that I don’t want you to see). When you start there is always the concern that there is enough good, usable footage to get to the end. It is then a couple of days of watching the video to check for errors, tweaking it. Lip syncing is often a challenge – AVCHD files taxing the processor, such that I have to monitor in low quality!

A final music mix, then the final HD render. As I prepare for the upload, I write some words to accompany the new video. Then it is live… I post the link on my Facebook account and do some tweets.

There is one edit error spotted! A minor fix I’d missed during the making of the video, which I only saw again when I’d uploaded it! Always the way… annoying in that you want it to be a good as it can be. I’ll leave if for now.

Chris Buckley filming for 'You Make Me Feel Better' at Laxey MER Station (2014)
Filming at Laxey MER Station (unused)
Pleased with the outcome of both song and video. I resisted the temptation to incorporate touristy elements promoting my beloved Isle of Man (the tram station shots for example), better to be a bit more generic. Decent song, and video looks good, nice flow to it.

Positive reaction and a vast improvement on the initial, basic, stop-gap offering from 2010, which annoyingly was the follow on video offered by YouTube! (I've now unlisted it; there is also an advisory note on the original pointing to the new video). It would be nice if the new 'proper' video did as well; however, the views on the newer videos are very low (so low I don’t think even my family are watching them!). Disappointing given the effort that goes into them, but hey-ho! No point beating myself up about it. Qué será será. Most important thing for me is to get the songs done.

I’ll do a further blog about the song itself next time…[here.]

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