I have a whole new respect for Youtubers who regularly produce high-quality video essays. I knew it would be a significant amount of work to produce a video essay, but I underestimated how long the whole process takes from beginning to end, from drafting an idea to uploading the finished product. I wrote out the whole script rather than roughly templating it, which I think was really helpful during the recording process, but made the writing process take a bit longer (though converting my notes to a script wasn’t too time-intensive). I recorded straight into Descript to get the audio right, along with the subtitles, then took that audio file first to iMovie (disastrously, as I realized quickly, but not quickly enough after having put in a fair amount of time/work, that iMovie didn’t have many of the tools I needed to do what I wanted to do), then to Adobe Premiere.
Next, I put the audio track down and spent most of my time constructing the visuals to go along with it. Finding the right footage/images is a bit of a pain and takes a lot of time, but I was also able to get into a rhythm. I really wanted to keep the video somewhat variable in terms of the visuals while also keeping it consistent enough to not be distracting and keep the focus on what was being said rather than seen. I think the strategy of having a made video of each thinker being discussed talking with the occasional image/quote overlayed gives the viewer something to look at but keeps the visuals in a supplementary position to the audio, which is what I think a video essay should do. I also had to make a lot of really minute tweaks to the images in regard to transitions and positioning in frame, which aren’t always visible unless they look bad, so hopefully nothing sticks out. I also had to make some of the images into .png files (like the ones of the thinkers at the beginning), because they were originally .jpeg, which I did in Photoshop.
Once I had made it through the entire video with the right spoken audio and visuals, I went back and added the music to the transitions and to the background. I edited the audio levels to make sure they were sitting in the right place on both the words and the music, and went back over everything one last time. In total, I probably spent about 15 hours putting together 15 minutes of video. Enjoy! Loved having class with everyone this semester, hope to see y’all in my classes again 🙂