Wigs, Final Cut Pro and Serious Lip Sync Action: Organising a tribute video in 7 days

This was one of the most joyous things I’ve been involved with.

I was approached very recently by one Jayson Mansaray to help organise and create a tribute video for our mutual friend Darren.

Darren was about to celebrate his 40th birthday and, being a Kiwi who has lived in Australia and now in London, there were a lot of people who wouldn’t have the chance to be there in person. Jayson came up with the idea of asking people to singalong to one of Darren’s favourite songs; ‘Sunday’ by Hurts.

Apart from the video being five minutes of gloriously silly fun, I thought it might be useful to share our learnings from the project:

  • Do you best to answer questions before they arise. We had very little time (seven days) to start and finish this. When we contacted people on Facebook and by email, we attached an instruction sheet with lyrics, links to the track, as well as suggestions about the practicalities of making and returning the recording.
  • Sharing. We ended up with almost 50 clips coming to over 4GBs of footage from several continents. WeTransfer is a great, straightforward way of sharing large files online.
  • You need some editing skills. Editing happened with Final Cut Pro and iMovie with some audio tweaking in Garageband and Audacity. While it would be possible to do the whole thing in iMovie, it would be far from desirable. FCP gives a flexibility that proved invaluable as the complexity grew.
  • Enlist. This sort of thing shouldn’t be left on one pair of shoulders. We created a Gmail account as a place to communicate with people (that we didn’t know on Facebook) and populate a spreadsheet of files that both of us could access. Having a second pair of eyes meant that we caught one link that had been marked as ‘received’.
  • Put ‘Use landscape, not portrait’ in bold, underlined, italics and 48 pt font. We even included images illustrating the concept, but for many, recording in portrait mode is more natural and comfortable.
  • Wigs. Who knew so many people have fabulous wigs, costumes and accessories lying around?

The mind boggles when I think about how, not that very long ago, this would have been practically impossible to achieve with a budget of zero and a mere week. Technology, eh?


#GingerHurts on Vimeo [downloadable video]

The Birthday boy’s reaction as the video was shown for the first time [YouTube]


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