With around half a million views my video of the music from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become, for me, a soaraway success (well, compared to my other videos which normally consist of people on trampolines or moving Lego contraptions).
So, I thought I’d talk about how I create the video and answer some of the questions I am regularly asked in the comments.
How do I choose the music to use?
Whilst most TV shows will have a specific theme tune, the trend in films recently has been to have no opening credits (or don’t use original music, (cough) (cough) Mr Blue Sky). In this case, I have chosen a piece of music from the soundtrack which I feel best represents the film. I have tried to avoid the end titles, where possible, as these are long and more compilations than a single, set piece.
How do I create the video?
I’d love to say I’m using some ultra-professional software but the reality is that I’m just using Apple iMovie. Hardware wise, I’m using a Macbook, some rather cracking Creative speakers and a 5K monitor. My ShuttleXpress – a jog/shuttle wheel intended for video editing – is always a joy to use as I can advance frames and move things one frame at a time with relative ease.
No, the software isn’t the thing here – I just love creating video compilations. I’ve been doing them for years, mainly for video games. I love the editing process and spending way too much time getting video and sound synced together perfectly. The long intro before the credits and the post-credits sequence as well, go hand in hand with an abundance of music, many from the MCU.
Tweaking the results
Apart from spending some time getting each soundtrack to play in as seamlessly as possible, I also spend some time tweaking the volume of each track too – different recordings will be at different volume levels, so I do this by ear.
Once all that is done, I apply a minor boost to the bass to add a bit more impact to the result – I found the original recordings a bit flat before doing this.
As I mention in the video description, the resulting video is intentionally saved at 720p resolution, rather than, say, 1080p. This is to improve bandwidth and ensure that YouTube compresses the resulting result as little as possible. My side, I save the video as high a quality as possible before uploading to YouTube.
Where do I get the music?
I own most of the soundtracks already. The exception are the TV shows, but here I’ve purchased the relevant track to use in the video.
YouTube itself takes care of the copyright issues. It’s rare for an owner to issue a takedown request (I can only think of one video of mine this has happened to).
There are adverts, right?
When I watch the video I don’t see any adverts but I know others are (including some which appear pretty intrusive). This is nothing to do with me, as I have not enabled any monetisation on the video – because I’m using copyrighted music tracks, YouTube is monetising the video for themselves, so they can pay the appropriate royalty fees.
I apologise if they’re annoying but there is nothing I can do.
How can I see the track listing on mobile devices?
There are users who, every time I put up a new video, repeat the track listing in the comments, apparently for “mobile users”. But it’s not needed.
To the right of the video title is a downwards facing arrow. Click on this and the video comments, including track listing, will appear.
Can I add additional tracks?
I do get a few comments like this, wanting me to add more music from the MCU into this mix. However, I intentionally created this to demonstrate the primary themes – in some cases there isn’t an obvious “opening theme tune” (TV shows being the exception) so another track is used that, when watching the movie, would be the nearest you’d equate to it. That’s all this video is about – it’s not about character themes or the bits of music that you enjoy the most (I often get asked to include random bits of music from half way through the movie that an individual is just a particular fan of).
At the end of the day I create these videos in my own time, for no money and just purely for the love of doing it. Right now, that includes only creating the one type of video and its content is pretty specific.
What about Portals from Endgame?
Since the Endgame soundtrack came out pretty much every-other comment on the videos has been a request to include the “Portals” track.
Just to be clear – this is not part of the theme of the film. That’s already covered with what’s already on the video. Indeed, many of the elements of Portals are in Main on End already. It’s a great track, yes, but this isn’t a compilation of the best tracks.
Can I make a version without the TV themes?
I’ve only had this question once but it did provoke a discussion, so I just want to cover this off now. It was followed by this…
A lot of people, including me, aren’t very familiar with the TV series because they aren’t connected to the film MCU.
Tosh. All of the TV shows are canon and are part of the MCU. Just because you haven’t seen them doesn’t make them less relevant. When Disney+ launches a lot of new MCU TV shows will be produced, featuring characters from the movies (Loki, for example), so the crossover between them will be more prominent.
Ignoring this, I could make a separate “Movie themes of the MCU” video (and, maybe, a “TV themes of the MCU”) but it’s not my intention to. See my final comment to the previous question.
Are you going to add the X-Men themes, Deadpool, Venom or any of the other Spider-Man ones?
They’re Marvel but they’re not MCU so… no.
What are my favourite tracks?
Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Thor: Ragnarok. I have a soft spot for Jessica Jones too.