Last month a group of musicians from diverse backgrounds developed and released the ‘Farewell to Erin’ project, which involved over 20 musicians performing a challenging piece virtually. In addition to the high degree collaboration and excellent musicianship displayed it also demonstrated a level of technical knowledge required to bring together videos recorded by the different individuals.
A number of community members have inquired on how they could produce a similar video. In response, this article has been contributed by the ringleader of the ‘Farewell to Erin’ project, Patrick McHale, to help answer how to put together a similar presentation. It’s been fantastic seeing the fife and drum community come together in a way that truly helps fill the void of not having the ability to be together during the pandemic. The hope is to enable more people to create videos and bring the community together in a digital way, until we do have the pleasure of being together making music once again.
First, here's the end-product.
How it Was Done
Let’s start with step one - getting people involved. There are 3 main ways to go about this:
- Make it a corps project
- Select a group of people you want involved
- Post a video of you playing, with links to the project, and have anyone join in who wants to take part (this is what I did!)
Once you have the group ready, make sure you create a public google drive with all of the music and instructions. Google drive is free, and a great place to store all videos, files, and everything else you need! For Farewell to Erin, I had the bass, snare and fife music in the drive, along with instructions, and made a separate folder titled “Videos” for everyone to come in and post their videos once recorded - it was easy and worked perfectly!
Patrick has offered his assistance to others that my want to produce a similar video.
- Feel free to add him on Facebook (Patrick McHale) or Instagram (@pmchale7).
- He is happy to video chat, message, or train you in how to use the software.
For the instructions - the only possible way to ensure the videos align is to have everyone involved play with one single video or click track. This took a lot of trial and error for me - at first I had people play with different videos and we had to start all over! Your members can use their phones or computers to record - it doesn’t matter what type of camera is used, as long as everyone plays with the same track.
Once you have all of your videos ready to go, you need a program to compile all of the videos. This is the part that took me the longest - lots of trial and error. My two recommendations are:
- Adobe Rush for videos with less than 5 people, or 5 different video/audio tracks ($10 a month)
- Adobe Premiere Pro for unlimited video/audio tracks. This program has EVERYTHING, and is what professionals use to make movies, YouTube videos, etc. It’s what I created the final version of Farewell to Erin with - and is very user friendly! ($30 a month)
The program takes some time to get used to - you can download the videos from Google Drive and upload them straight into the video software. Put the initial first video / recording that everyone played along to first, and then it’s easy to filter in all of the other videos to match up with the first video recording. It takes some messing around to make sure each video aligns correctly, but you can move each video by 0.03 second intervals, which is how you can get it perfectly in time to sound clean.
Last note is to make sure you have a computer that can handle a hefty video software - newer macs or PCs will work just fine. That’s really it! The video software is the trickiest part - I wish I had started with Adobe Premiere Pro from the start - once I got the program everything fell into place just fine - and I’m still just a beginner. If I could do it, anyone can!!!
- Contributed by Patrick McHale
We are excited to see more activity from the fife and drum community - there are so many things the digital world can do for us, to continue to keep us alone, yet together, continuously sharing the wonderful tradition of Fife and Drum. Best of luck to all future projects and endeavors!