I used to do a lot of video editing, so it was a real treat to get to bring Karla Adolphe’s gorgeous new song to life with visuals this year.
Goodness is a song about the growth that comes through suffering – the depths of goodness that lie under the soil if are willing to get some dirt under your nails. It’s a beautiful song that deserves a beautiful video. Here’s what Karla and I came up with.
How We Got to Goodness
Getting this video made was a challenge, because our budget was very low, and Karla had a clear vision she wanted to reach.
Karla knew that she wanted to lean into growth as the central visual metaphor for this video. Images of seeds sprouting came to mind. I knew what she was describing, but have no ability to capture multiple plants growing in slow motion. To the internet!
After hours of scouring stock video websites and gasping at prices, I found everything I needed at VideoBlocks for an “unlimited download” monthly fee that Karla could afford. We could now use as many clips as we liked from this library and we liked a lot of them. There are dozens of separate clips used in the Goodness lyric video.
Once I arranged the clips into a rough edit I started reaching for a title design that would match Karla’s brand and the feel of the song. I wanted to use her brand’s script font and animate it subtly. I usually use Davinci Resolve to edit, but its built in titling features are limited. I discovered that Apple is offering a 90-day free trial on Final Cut Pro, so I downloaded that program and quickly found a title style that suited the project, with a few tweaks.
With a music video edit, timing is everything. I watched the audio “waveforms” for peaks and lined my clips up with beats, musical transitions and lifts in energy. In the end, I arrived a video that stirred emotion in both Karla and me, even though we’d heard the song dozens of times by now. That emotion is the intangible finish line I’m always running towards in a video.
The Struggle Nobody Sees
If this all sounds easy, it wasn’t. Finding just the right clips took at least a few hours of research. And then there were the seeds.
In the opening title sequence, a hand gently drops seeds onto soil, and onto Karla Adolphe’s name. I wanted it to look like Karla’s name was a part of the scene, not just floating on top of it. That meant that the seeds had to fall on top of the text, not beneath it. It’s a little detail, but for me it ads weight to the whole title sequence. You might never notice it consciously, but I think you feel it.
Did I mention how important feeling is to video editing?
Since I obviously couldn’t reshoot the footage with Karla’s name actually in the shot, I knew I’d have to fake it with some VFX compositing. Which I’d never done before.
For the graphic and video nerds in the room, what I had to do was to mask out the title text in the exact shape of every seed, and then animate every mask. In the end I had to hand draw and animate a few dozen masks, which took longer than I thought it was.
Have you ever been in too deep to turn back? That’s where I found myself.
The end results are worth it for me – and Karla laughed at how focussed I was on those seeds. When you’re an artist about to launch a new thing, laughter is a great release.