My latest video, “Bagels and Chocolate Milk,” is unlike any video I have ever made. For one thing, there are three of me on the screen at once. For another, although I have made other rap videos before, I have never made one so unabashedly comical, if you don’t count the musical-improv comedy video I did with Michelle Petro last month. In fact, I rather think that this song represents a turning point in my entire “rap career,” if you can call it one, because perhaps for the first time, I have finally resolved the inner conflict I used to feel between my desire to use rap as a creative means of expression, and the voice in the back of my mind that thought I somehow had to prove myself as a “legitimate” rapper.
“Bagels and Chocolate Milk” puts that all to rest. Admittedly, so did “Flower Child” and “Snuggle Bunny,” and other fun hip hop-ish love songs. But at those times, I actually still cared about this issue, and I secretly suffered over it. But with “Bagels and Chocolate Milk,” for the first time I seriously am not either trying to be something I’m not, nor am I secretly thinking that I really should be trying to be something other than what I am.
So onto the mechanics of making the video. We all have seen music videos where the screen is split in multiple ways. I wanted to do this, but didn’t know exactly know how to. With a little research I found a Youtube video where a woman was explaining the process of overlaying layers of video onto each other on iMovie.
Here is the process I used:
- I started by using a video conferencing service I use regularly for piano teaching called Zoom. On it, I recording myself lip synching to the audio recording of the song. From here, I got a good version of each of the three “characters” I wanted on the screen.
- After this, I used an app on my phone called “PicStitch” to create a photo with a neutral grey background divided into three equal sections. This is the template I used as a reference point when I started overlaying the videos on iMovie.
- Once on iMovie, I uploaded the three video takes of me rapping to the song as the three characters. Then I cropped those videos to take up a third of the screen.
- For the first overlay, I inserted the photo divided into three parts into my iMovie project. Then I inserted the first video segment above the photo. On the movie display box on the upper right hand corner, I selected “Picture on Picture,” which allowed me to move the cropped video take into place in the right third of the screen. I then exported this as a video.
- Following that, I re-imported into iMovie the “new” video with the right third of the screen taken up with my first character. I then followed the same process of putting the second take above the first overlay in the project field. Then I selected “Picture on Picture” on the top right, and then moved my second character into the left third of the screen, making sure that the two takes were synched up together. I then exported this video, which now had two of “me” on it.
- I re-imported this video to iMovie, then did the same process for the third character: placing me in the center of the screen using the “Picture on Picture” function. I then fussed with the third take to get it sync up with the other two takes, inserted the official audio track (of course, turning the other takes down to zero). I exported the new track with all three takes, and— presto!—magical me in triplicate.
Another cool thing about making this video is that I thought up the idea on Monday night, shot the video on Tuesday afternoon, and finished up the video Tuesday night. So about 24 hours from conception to completion. Not bad! (Of course, my wife’s birthday was the following day, so there was no time to waste!).
Enjoy the final product, “Bagels and Chocolate Milk!”: