So earlier today I saw someone I followed on Twitter, create a really cool video, something better than I would have expected him to have the resources to do. I dropped him a reply to say what an awesome video and he responded by telling how he made it. He told me about the ‘Filmsupply Challenge’ which essentially was a challenge run by a cinematic stock video site, which gave you access to 40 stock videos and 5 stock audio tracks (from Musicbed) and you could win a bunch of prizes. The biggest prize being a 50k workstation!
I decided I would look a little bit into this challenge as it seemed like a really cool thing to do (and you can’t not throw your hat in the ring for that prize pool!). Previously I had not heard of either Filmsupply or Musicbed, but was intrigued to give them a try. After landing on their site I realised it was pretty easy to enter, they’ll send you a starter kit to get you going and you end with a nice ‘may the best edit win’ message. I was up for the challenge.
However, there was one slight caveat before I embarked on this challenge – the closing date for submissions was that evening! Usually, a video edit with all footage pre shot and planned would take me anywhere between 8–20 hours to complete. So in order to complete a video for my submission, I’d need to come up with an idea, plan a brief storyboard, search for clips, select my clips, search for music, select my music, edit, colour grade and render. All by the 8pm submission deadline (it was 6pm).
Here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Picking the clips
I knew I’d have to be really quick to pick an idea and plan a storyboard so I could leave enough time for the edit. As soon as I logged onto Filmsupply I had to choose a theme. Looking through a few pages of stock video, I saw a collection of dark, eery cinematic shots filmed by Chris Laclerc. I thought this would be perfect for a trailer-style video.
Filmsupply has this handy feature where the videographer can upload their clips as a group or collection. For instance, if it had all been shot on the same day, or with a similar style, you could add it to a collection. The collection I chose had 70+ similar clips, from the same shoot, that I thought I could quite easily piece a narrative from. I sifted through these clips and started to bring a storyboard together in my mind. This was then jotted down on my notepad and I got to select the clips. The challenge allowed you to choose up to 40 clips, so I had to have an idea of what I was choosing. I didn’t want to waste my clips. Downloading them as a low res, watermarked version was also an option.
It was easy to download, just popped in the code that Filmsupply offered in the starter-pack and I new option to download was added to each clip. A brand new ‘Filmsupply Challenge’ button.
Once I chose my clips I was onto the next step, picking the audio. I was aware I wouldn’t have much time to do any sort of sound engineering, so I had planned to just use one track to set the tone of my video – it had to be good.
Having never used Musicbed before, I was unsure how easy it would be to find the track that I was after. Oh, how surprised I was – it was an absolute breeze to toggle through different types of audio tracks, by tone, type of audio, lyrical or non-lyrical. I knew the type of style I was after, so popped in the eery toggle and already had a solid array of options. I listened to about 10 and managed to decide on a track pretty quickly. Downloaded it using the code and I was all set.
Step 2: Onto the edit!
Now here is where I thought I was very fortunate; I managed to gather all the video assets within 40 minutes, and this meant I had a solid 1 hour and 20 minutes to edit. I had already planned all the shots I wanted to use so had a good idea of how I was going to compose my timeline.
I laid down the audio track and then started constructing my timeline with my previously selected clips and spliced away. Within about 60 minutes I had a first draft which I was pretty pleased with. I made the final adjustments to make sure my pacing was right and checked I was within the 60-second limit. I knew I would not have any time to add any motion graphics, so I tried to keep the submission as raw as possible, trying to find the best way of telling the story.
Now colour grading a project like this, when all the clips had a similar style straight from stock, was a pretty quick job. Usually, I would spend quite some time fine-tuning my colour, but on this occasion, it wasn’t really worth the time. I found a style I liked and used a few adjustment layers – I was good to go.
Step 3: Final amends and submission
I had a few friends have a look over it to see what they thought, I used Frame.io to share this and gather their comments (I highly recommend their service, it is very helpful for all filmmakers). After making a few amends based on their thoughts, it was coming close to the 8pm deadline. I exported the final version and submitted it!
I was very pleased I managed to get it finished in the short time frame. It isn’t the greatest work I’ve ever produced, but it is nice to give yourself a challenge like this every now and again, to test your creativity. You can see my final submission below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’ve got to say how impressed I was with the challenge that Filmsupply set up. It was a fantastic opportunity for all filmmakers to test their skills against the best, with a truly brilliant prize pool at the end. The ease of use of the service made it an absolute breeze to participate and the fact it did not cost a penny was a bonus.
The quality of submissions were extraordinary, and the winners have now been announced. There really are some talented editors out there, who put a lot of time and effort into the challenge. If you’d like to see the winners of the challenge, see the article below!