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janbb's avatar

How do they make mash-ups of film clips to songs match so well?

Asked by janbb (57228points) January 4th, 2017

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11 Answers

Nostromo's avatar

With video editing software involving a STEEP learning curve. It can be done with Open Source software, but I’d get a bit of training first. Good synchronization is NOT easy.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

On the simplest video editing freeware, you have a screen showing the film with twon graphs below it. One graph shows the progress of the film as a striaight line. If you right click anywhere on this line, it will capture a frame in the film. Off to the side of the strip you can see a digital clock, showing exactly where that frame in the film is to the hundreth of a second.

The audio of the music will play in the background.

The other line shows the progress of the music as a wavy line. like hills and valleys. You can pick which part of the music you want to affect the line, such as melody or baseline of percussion, or just the music in general, whatever aspect of the music that you want to sync the film to. If you right click that line you will see a digital clock exactly where that point in the music is to the hundreth of a second.

You can either freeze the film at a specific frame, then double clic a point in the audio you wish to sync with, or drag the point on the either graph to a point on the other, or line up the two numerically by punching in time points into the clock, or drag that point in the audio to.that specific the film.

You can also speed up or slow down segments of the film, or cut frames, a series a frames, or whole segments out, or put new segments in, or repeat segments—all with the click of a mouse.

I’m sure you’ve seen the short vid clip showing cars sliding on ice and crashing into each other in slo-mo to the tune of the Blue Danube. This would be an easy beginners excercise. You have very well defined hills and valleys, a slow beat and crescendos. You have well defined moments in the music—and therefore the audio graph—to match to equally well defined moments in the film.

That’s the kind of film and music you want to practice with. If you have a piece or pieces of film and music you’d like to sync, and can pretty much envision what you want to accomplish, you’ll pick it up pretty quickly.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, actually. It’s just lining up visual and audio using clock numbers and graphs to help you sync the two using a mouse. It used to be a lot, lot more complicated before computers. Now you can do it in your home for free.

And the music software and photo enhancement software that is out there is amazing. Today you can hum or sing that tune that has been running in your head all day into a USB mic and it will show up on your screen in musical notation. By the end of the afternoon it can be a full concerto complete with brass, strings, percussion, the works.

You can track and retrack your own voice singing different parts of the same music and have a full choir starring you in a couple of hours. Ha. If you’re flat or off key, there is software to correct that. Hell, there is a woman, Patty something, who does that and played Hollywood Bowl singing first chair live to a full choir of her own voices. Her a capella version of Tubular Bells was a big hit.

You really have to be our age to fully appreciate this stuff, Jan. It’s bloody mind blowing.

Today the inventors and innovators aren’t found out back in the barn or the garage. They are found in your kid’s bedroom, in the study or at the kitchen table creatively working with software, often free software.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is one of the best I’ve seen: Uptown Funk, 66 old movie dance scenes .

I won’t say how many times I’ve watched it.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^Whoa! That was the best I’ve ever seen. Thanks, Lucky!

LuckyGuy's avatar

^^ So much talent – both the performers and the video curators and editors!
I’m glad you like it.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It is interesting. I think that anyone who found those performances boring and archaic would see them much differently and with much more appreciation after seeing that clip simply because of the application of modern music. That was a great clip. I downloaded a YouTube downloader just so I could keep it on my desktop.

LuckyGuy's avatar

They didn’t just synchronize the dancing. They even found clips where similar words were spoken. Watch closely. 0:47 Sinatra, 1:11, 1:38, 2:27, 3:09,
And the incredible finale moves with the splits.4:29, 4:37! All before the days of Photoshop and CGI!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Yeah, I saw that. They also sped up and slowed down some of the steps to meet the beat with so much subtlety that it is almost unoticeable and those last splits by who I think might be the Nicholas Brothers is run backwards at the end. The grand finale with Gene Kelley and Co. with the couch was perfect. This clip is a true work of art. Absolutely amazing. Thanks again, bro.

janbb's avatar

I’d seen that clip before and it is amazing and delightful.. So – to recap EC’s explanation which makes it clearer to me, the mashup maker is editing the film clips to go with the music after finding the clips. I thought the clips were unedited and couldn’t figure out how they could match them up so perfectly. I don’t wwnt to do it, I just wanted to know how it’s done.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ LOL. That was a really confusing and badly written explanation. It was one of those deals where I was writing after waking up in the middle of the night and surfing the net in order to get back to sleep. Ha. But it appears you got it anyway.

janbb's avatar

^^ It took some distillation but I’m good at interpretation! :-)

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