Digital Storytelling

Lyrical Aventure

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

For my first assignment of the week, I wanted to create something that people love yet is very controversial on YouTube: a lyric video. This is the “Create A Lyric Video” assignment from the DS106 assignment bank. I decided to start off with this assignment since it is worth a whopping four and a half stars and I am doing the second option we were given for the week that involved us completing tens stars worth of assignments.

The song I decided to create a lyric video for is “Tuff Enuff” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds (1986). I first heard this song while driving home from work one night, listening to old reruns of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. American Top 40 began in 1970 and played the top forty hits from the Billboard charts. There are a few radio stations in Richmond and Fredericksburg that replay the 1980s countdowns, and involve Kasem telling stories about the artists on the countdown, playing long-distance deductions (that arrived by snail-mail), and taking a look back at the 1950s and 1960s at times. I listen to American Top 40 because I love 1980s music and culture, and listening to it is almost like being transported by to the 1980s. I remembered this song in particular because it was one I had somehow never heard before, and I know a lot of ’80s songs. Kasem told a story about the drummer, Fran Christina, and how the Canadian Mounties had to go find him for the band, which was amusing. Then, I forgot the song and the drummer’s name. I spent a month searching for the song before finding it again, and I plan to never let it go!

To start off, I tried my hand at creating a presentation that would sync up with the music and highlight text as the corresponding lyrics were sung. I thought it was great, but it failed when I tried to record it. However, I was not deterred! I decided to try and do something with the official music video, which is colorful and amusing in itself.

I downloaded the video from YouTube using the VLC Media Player Codec trick (which I won’t describe here, on the offhand chance they try and patch it) and uploaded the video to the Windows Video Editor. I’d like to point out Windows Video Editor and Windows Movie Maker are two different things, and unfortunately Movie Maker is not compatible with my computer. The Video Editor can be found within the Photo Editor, which is both confusing and surprising. I also have OpenShot, but it’s a bit finicky, and did not have the proper tools for what I did to the video. The Video Editor has split and trim tools that let you look at it down to the second. Basically what I did was go through the video, and every time I heard a verse, slit the video. I did this for every verse. This took a long time, since the Video Editor is not that precise and I had to be very precise with my mouse. The result played effortlessly, like the original video, but now I could go through and add animated text for the lyrics without them overlapping.

Adding the lyrics was simple, but time consuming. I Googled the lyrics, despite knowing them by heart. I wanted to make sure I had them correct and added them one by one to each of the split sections. Plus, I had to ensure they started and stopped at appropriate times, which took some adjusting in the settings. I wanted it to look cartoonish and used a subtitle option called “Joy” that let me use the colorful subtitle fonts. I personally think it makes the lyrics look more alive as the video plays. A final thing I did was tint the video lightly, using a filter called “Sunset” to make the colors pop out a little more to compliment the lyrics.

Now all that was left was to upload it to YouTube. As I’m sure we are all aware, DMCA takedowns can be a pain, meaning videos you upload to YouTube can be blocked, taken down, or have segments removed if they infringe copyright. You are supposed to be able to use copyrighted media for educational use (like in this class), but YouTube doesn’t allow you to identify whether or not your video is educational or not. I seem to remember there being a place to identify that, but I couldn’t find it when uploading this. Thankfully, YouTube let me leave it as unlisted without removing any of the visuals or audio, despite it being blocked just about everywhere. If this is no longer the case at the time of anyone watching this video, please let me know. I can always upload it to Vimeo if something happens.

Please leave a comment down below and tell me what you think!

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