This is home camcorder footage of FLASHGUNS performing Ro Shambo live in Manchester as part of In The City, 6 October 2008. I shot it on a very cheap Canon camcorder – the current equivalent, the Canon MD25 is a widescreen mini-DV camera with a reasonable lens that currently costs less than £130. I edited the footage on my ancient Powerbook G4 using iMovie – an app that’s been bundled free with Apple computers for years. Incidentally, the older version (iMovie 06) is much better for editing than the more recent iMovie 08. If you happen to own that, Apple will let you ‘downgrade’ to the superior iMovie 06 here.
Now that YouTube has upgraded its player to widescreen – with the option of watching in higher quality – you can get surprisingly good results very cheaply – check out the actual YouTube page hosting this video. The point is that with an original performance is as electrifying as this, even wobbly low light footage can be made into something reasonably watchable at very low cost. Imagine what you could do with two camcorders, proper stage lighting and a bit of time !
High definition camcorders are getting cheaper and more widespread, so you may be able to borrow one off a friend or relative. These shoot at 1280 x 720 pixels and the good news for Mac owners is that iMovie 06 and 08 can both handle HD footage. The bad news is that high definition video files guzzle disc space and need a lot of processor power to edit – working in HDV will slow you right down compared to standard DV. You may notice a big difference once you’ve uploaded the results to YouTube… there again, you may not.
Songwriter Kit Ashton also uses iMovie – but by heading in the opposite direction and embracing lo-fi footage he eliminated shooting costs completely. “A few months ago I had the crazy idea of making a music video entirely of mobile phone clips…” he writes. “So I got fans and friends to film random stuff at my gigs, bluetooth it all to me, and then mashed it up in iMovie myself – this is the somewhat trippy result…”
This is Kit’s single I Kicked It Down – currently available on iTunes. “It was mixed by Brit award winning producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Zutons, Foals etc)” he says. “Buy it for me will ya??” Here’s the link if you want to oblige: