I recently shot this video which was my last video of 2017. This is the video I’ll be talking about today:
Often times I’ll find myself a client that wants me to create something that is “Trippy”. I don’t know where it all began but someone would visit my Instagram then contact me and ask me to make them a “trippy” video. Every time I finish making one I get someone else that wants one for their video. I get guilty every time I make one of these because I already have a clear-cut formula for getting the “trippy” look. I’ll get a song that is usually slow and has to do with drugs, so I’ll ask,
“What do you want the video to look like? Then they’ll usually say,
“Give me something with a lot of effects”. I always found myself puzzled by what they meant. But what they were really saying is,
“That video you did for [Insert Name Here], I want you to do that for me to”. I remember listening to a photographer speak and he said if someone calls you because you have a specific style, don’t change up that style once you get on set and start shooting. They hired YOU for a reason. So when people do contact me I try not to think of it as,
“This is the same music video that I made last month”. I try to think of it instead as,
“Ok, another ‘trippy’ music video. Based on what I already know what else can I do to the footage?”
I’ve never done drugs before but from how people talk it sounds as though they see things in bright vibrant colors and slowed down when they are high. Before I create the video I look for references and inspiration. A reference/influence that I use when I am going to make a trippy video is looking is the scene from “Vertigo” where he is in a bad dream:
Another influence would be from “2001: A Space Odyssey” when he is Time Traveling:
Or “Dredd” when Mama is falling to her death.
SO! How do I create the “Trippy” look? A lot of it has to do with sound. If you get a song that already doesn’t sound like you’re not on drugs then you already lose. Even if the song is fast paced it’s better that it makes you feel like you’re high than not. The sound is what makes up the edit the edit only works with the way you film.
One of the first things that you do is… Film as if you are high. I mean it. Don’t take the camera and not dial in your settings and stuff, but sway with it. Dance with the camera in a smooth way where you vibe with the song. The best example I can give you is when you’re watching a movie and a character is under the influence. Usually, the camera is not super sharp, it’s not stable, why should it be? Inside the minds of these characters are all over the place but they still have a specific goal to get through or get out of the situation that they are currently in.
When you are filming keep this in mind. Imagine being in the brain of the song or in the brain of the artist. Before you even get to your edit bay you need to know how you want the video to look. That is literally about 70% of how this is going to work out. That means that while filming if you know you’re going to have a lot of transitions that wipe from location to location. At the end of the take film as though the camera is going to get to that destination so that if you whip pan it’s super smooth.
NOW IT’S TIME TO START EDITING!
This is where the magic happens because everything comes together. You will look at your footage and it might look crazy. Not crap (if you did
it right), just crazy. I have literally broken down the “Trippy” look to a formula. Combined with all of the stunning camerawork that you’ve done ADD COLOR! I like to boost up highlights and the whites, the significance?
It makes me think I’m emulating what a dilated eye looks like meaning I also open my aperture to as far as I can go. If my lens goes to f/1.4 then that’s where I’m filming. As much as it bothers me to see my footage being fuzzy I know that it will still look good in the end.
Next is time for your cross dissolves. With this, you want to make this a smooth transition, all that means is that if you’re swirling the camera everywhere try and make it so that the next shot is seamless by adding your cross dissolve. It has a dreamy effect on the video and it makes people impressed because we’re so used to straight up cuts when were watching videos.
By now, if your video doesn’t make you sick… it’s not trippy enough. Fix that then add one more final thing COLOR! One thing I like to do is crush the blacks then up the saturation a touch. I’ll also boost my exposure just a little bit so that I still have details in my shadows. And then add a bit of Hue and Saturation. In Premiere Pro, you will find it under “HLS” (that sounds like a drug). Recently what I did for this music video is just drag out one long Adjustment Layer that blanketed over the entire timeline, add HLS, then cranked the evolution to 58x for the approximately 3-minute video.
You follow those steps and you got yourself a video on LSD. It’s best that you experiment with this idea. Use this as a template and try adding wave warps or find edges and cycle it. The possibilities are literally endless. Just make sure that your computer is strong enough to export out all of those effects.