After I watched some videos my friend Syd made
to the music of Pink Floyd, I came up with a few little guideposts for
integrating music and video. Some artists (Syd included) already
intuit these, but I thought it was interesting to explore devices for having
sound and video compliment one another.
In the text below,
I use examples from his videos, but the discussion is still easy to follow.
Surprises - Places where a sudden
note or effect comes it.
Actualization: quick edit and/or footage contains
a "burst" of some sort.
Rhymicity to the beat - Spots
where the music adopts a simple, consistent quarter (or eighth) note beat.
Actualization: Cuts or footage that correspond
to the beat.
Good example: "Any Colour You Like" has the
two guitars panned hard left/right in stereo -> footage bounces between
hippies and screen effects.
Emotion - A shift in emotion
in the music (and most likely the lyrics).
Actualization: Shift in the color (can be
taken either literally or metaphorically here) of the footage.
Good example: When the scream comes in on
"Careful with that Axe" -> cut to images of human sacrifice.
Following the long notes - Notes
that are key to a melody/solo and are sustained (especially if they represent
a slide or bend) invoke motion.
Actualization: Camera should pan or image
should pass through it, in either case the motion should be steady and
sustained, just like the note.
Good example: The slide guitar on "Breathe"
-> the motion of the whale through the frame, then the motion of the water,
etc. (Whole sequence works just great!)
Lyrical allusions - Literal presentation
of the song lyrics as they are delivered.
Actualization: Of course, you don't want to
be too obvious about it, but this can be a cute trip, particularly if you
apply it satirically (e.g. superimpose images of recognizable politicians
to lyrics that could be interpreted critically... especially if they weren't
ever intended to be).
Good example: The Lunatic is on the grass
-> lunatics galore!
And later: The paperboy... -> the boy scouts.