Making an Indie Music Video the New Old-Fashioned Way

Leslie Ayers's picture

Making an Indie Music Video the New Old-Fashioned Way

Yunyu's a girl with a message and a Mac.


Yunyu, a 27-year-old Singapore-born resident of Sydney, Australia, looks a lot like the Japanese anime characters she admires. Her long dark hair and big brown eyes give her a girlish but haunted air. You'd never guess that she used to work in IT.


It's not quite as surprising to learn that she's a recording artist with a dedicated fan base, despite being unsigned and never having booked a major tour. A video for her single, "Lenore's Song," assembled from 16,000 still photos and then pieced together using G4 PowerBooks and Final Cut Pro, was posted on YouTube in July. Through word of mouth, Yunyu hooked up with some big names in Australian film, including director Tahnee McGuire, producer Matt Carter, cinematographer Callan Green (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), and colorist Trish Cahill (Superman Returns), to shoot the video in three days. Editing took an additional three months. The video won a gold award in November from the Australian Cinematographers Society.


"The way this video and the debut album, Spiked Soul, have been spread is indicative of how tech and the Interweb are changing the music industry," Yunyu says, adding that artists like her can still "find themselves with fans right across the globe because the Internet has made it so easy to get our work across to people regardless of where they are." Yunyu credits her "minions," fans who frequent her blog and spread the word about her work, for encouraging their friends to check out the single and buy her album online.




Despite Yunyu's tech background, her video shoot was not without technical difficulties. "The first practice shoots came with major disasters, like using USB 1.0 to transfer 2GB of photos from the CompactFlash cards to our Macs," she says, "which, if you're curious, takes 45 minutes." Not very efficient. And even though she hates to say a harsh word against her PowerBook, Yunyu admits that the sheer size of the RAW-format photos shot for the video posed a distinct challenge. "JPEGs, though smaller in size, still froze our PowerBooks." In the end, the team had to use low-res JPEGs to create the video, and then reconnect the pictures in the final sequence using the high-res images.


Yunyu's DIY approach to her creative endeavors is enabled, in large part, by her Mac. "I found the Mac so unbelievably intuitive, it's obscene," she says. "The fact that the Mac comes with the easy-to-use iMovie and iDVD has made me feel near invincible. I can now edit a lot of my own gigs and prepare my own press kits with iDVD. They look really professional, or close to. I have also gotten into Comic Life, which adds another communication element between my minions and me. I can draw, even though I can't - yay!"


Check out Yunyu's blog, and pick up her album, Spiked Soul, at the iTunes Store or CDBaby.




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