As the Lockdown continues to bite, businesses all over the UK and indeed the world are forced to look for alternative revenue streams…
Being a small company, 4 Part Music has already been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost all of our business involves going out and working with large groups of people. As none of this is allowed, whilst we can still produce CDs and create digital albums, we can’t actually go out and record anyone. To make matters worse we do not qualify for any financial support, other than a Government loan which has a higher rate of interest than most credit cards.
However, this is not a plea for help. We are not (yet) about to launch any crowdfunding campaigns or ask for handouts. Our company, for the moment will just remain here until such time as we are allowed back out. The big question for me is not when lockdown will end but when schools and choirs will actually be allowed to resume. Without wishing to paint a negative picture, it would seem choirs could well be amongst the last group activities to be allowed again once this is all over.
In order to generate some income and, more to the point, keep myself from going insane, I have started putting together lockdown videos of choirs. Video is not particularly something I am experienced in. However, currently there is plenty of time to learn new skills.
Primarily this came about because I was looking for ways to inspire and keep my choirs together whilst we are not allowed to meet. They do all meet for zoom rehearsals on a weekly basis although these can be a challenge. The lag of the internet and the fact the software was designed for voice communication rather than singing renders anything other than a sing along with everyone muted, almost impossible. Nevertheless it can still be quite a lot of fun and the social aspect of getting people together for a chat should not be underestimated in these trying times.
Realistically the only way to hear choirs singing together is to get everyone to record their individual parts at home and then combine them as a virtual choir. This can either be done just as audio or, more usually, as a video.
Audio mastering (and indeed recording) is time consuming as we know only too well. Video, however, is a whole different ball game. The time it takes to put video together (not to mention the digital file sizes) is quite considerable by comparison. By investing in a range of video editing software we have geared up our studio to start producing video along with audio. Who knows, this may even become a part of our business after lockdown – even if it is just a case of making better quality promotional videos for ourselves.
Making these sorts of videos, at the most basic level, is a two part process. First, we extract all the audio and create a properly balanced and mastered audio track. This we can do, and pride ourselves on being able to take audio from an iPhone and turn it into something half way decent. Once the master audio is created then you start work on the video. Firstly you need some sort of plan for the layout, depending on how many videos you need to include.
The more videos you have the more of a challenge this is to the point where larger choirs end up looking rather like a zoom meeting.
Below are a couple of examples of our first efforts at creating videos. Im well aware these are not about to win any awards any time soon, but they do at least prove what is within the realm of possibility. With a bit more work, we will be offering this service to choirs for a very nominal fee. In the meantime we hope you enjoy these few videos and if nothing else they make you smile in these very difficult and challenging times.
We hope you enjoy some of these videos. If you would like help in creating something similar for your choir then please get in touch on 01225 3023143 or click here to email us.