After seeing the video I put together for the “Going Green” contest, a friend who’s starting down the addicting road of video editing asked me how I did the intro to the video – speeding up the movement of the clouds while retaining the sound. In truth, it’s pretty easy, and a trick I like to use often as an establishing shot, or as a background for the end credits. To tell you the truth, I got the idea from “Survivor”…!
Anyway, the trick is to film on a day when it’s windy, and the clouds are moving relatively quickly. Use a tripod, and make sure you don’t have anything on screen that moves too much, like branches or leaves moving near the camera. I left animals on the “Going Green” video, but only because they’re far away and I wanted it as part of the effect. Film for at least ten minutes.
When you get your footage on your computer, the first thing you should do is trim the beginning and end, because the camera surely moved a bit when you pushed the “record” button. If you don’t do it right away you’re likely to forget later when it’s sped up.
Adjust your lighting using whatever video editing program you use, and be sure not to use any “auto” effects that adjust continually during the clip. Although the piece I used in the “Going Green” video is at times a little dark and then gets a little light, remember I was trying to emphasize the rain clouds and knowingly filming directly into the sun. With more expensive equipment it could have ended up better. But the point is, if I had used “auto” effects in the editing process, the light/dark variations would have been much more emphasized.
Next you’ll want to separate your audio and video, assuming your program will allow you to do this (most do). On my editing program it’s “unlink audio and video.” I then use the function “time stretch” on the video portion only and in the case of this particular clip, sped it up by about 1500% – or fifteen times its original speed. Now you’ve got a short video clip and a long audio clip – and all that’s left is to choose the portion of the audio you want to match your video and you’re done!
Is 1500% speed not fast enough? You can always do more. Just remember that there are always things moving that you may not be aware of, and at a certain point it’s just going to look blurry. And the other thing is to plan ahead so that you’ll have enough video for your final product. For the video below, I had to take 35 minutes of footage, in order to speed it up fifty times its original speed. I’m still not happy with it – I wanted the complete sunset – and also you can tell that it was so windy that day that even a tripod wasn’t enough to keep the camera completely still. Maybe next time!