Making a Music Video in the Australian Bush

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On a hot summer’s evening, we head into the beautiful Australian bush: Imogen, Sophie, Gemma-Rose and me. We follow a narrow stone-strewn track that winds between gum trees until we arrive at a cave-like rock on the edge of a cliff.

Sophie and I have cameras and tripods. Gemma-Rose has an iPod. And Imogen has a golden cardboard box.

Imogen sits on a rock next to the cave. She places the box on her lap. We point our cameras towards her. And then Sophie begins the countdown:

“Three, two, one…”

We press ‘record’ and the cameras come to life. Gemma-Rose presses ‘play’ and music floats between the trees towards Imogen. Imogen waits for her cue and then sings What Child is This? making sure she keeps time with the iPod music.

We are deep in the Australian bush recording a music video.

A few minutes later: “Let’s record it again from another angle,” says Sophie.

Cameras are rearranged. Sophie and I press ‘record’. Gemma-Rose presses ‘play’. Imogen sings.

As the last note fades into the bush, Sophie says, “One more take!” She grabs the tripod and heads to a new spot with her camera.

By the time we have recorded the song for the third time, the sun is sinking low in the sky.

“We’re losing the light,” shouts Sophie. “Hurry! We still need to record the extra bits.” She aims the camera at Imogen and the golden cardboard box.

Imogen reaches into the box and takes out a number of figures, one at a time. She arranges them on a large rock. Baby Jesus completes the nativity scene.

“Finished?” I ask.

Sophie nods her head. “I think we have enough shots.”

“If you need any more, we’ll have to return tomorrow. It’s getting dark.”

We quickly pack our equipment into bags, hoist them onto our shoulders and make our way along the track, back through the bush towards home. We are covered with streaks of dirt and scratches and mozzie bites.

We chat as we walk while the light fades.

“Do you know how difficult it is to stay still and sing when a mozzie is biting you?”

“I bet you’re the first person ever to sing What Child is This? here in the bush.”

“Next time we make a music video, can we choose a location that’s easier to get to?”

Later, Sophie uploads the video clips to her computer. And then Imogen gets to work. She cuts and moves video frames, deletes the music track that was recorded in the bush, and adds one she recorded with her home studio recording equipment and mixed with Audacity. Before long, she has her very first music video.

Do you know what I enjoyed most about this project? I loved watching my girls working together, sharing their skills with each other, learning from one another.

I also enjoyed watching the final video. And here it is!

 

I’d like to thank everyone for reading my blog posts this year. I hope you have a very joyful Christmas.

Happy Christmas!

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Comments

  1. Reply

    Oh my! I am absolutely blown away. What a lovely Christmas present you have given us! Her voice is like that of an angel. I don't comment often, but I do read your blog reguarly. Thank you and God bless you all.

    1. Reply

      Phyllis,

      You are very kind. Thank you for your encouraging comment. I have been thinking about these words which I found on your blog regarding siblings: 'All for one and one for all.' Oh yes! I love watching my children work together and take pleasure in each other's achievements. It sounds like the same thing happens in your family! I'm so glad you stopped by today. It's lovely to know you read my blog. Thank you! May God bless you and your family, and may you have a wonderful Christmas together!

  2. Reply

    Oh my! I am absolutely blown away. What a lovely Christmas present you have given us! Her voice is like that of an angel. I don't comment often, but I do read your blog reguarly. Thank you and God bless you all.

    • Beate
    • December 22, 2015
    Reply

    Beautifully done, all of you :-). Thank you for sharing your lovely gift with us – the location you chose was perfect!

    1. Reply

      Beate,

      We were discussing the location, wondering whether it was appropriate for a Christmas carol. The bush feels like a Christmas place to us, but probably is very alien to most other people. So glad you liked the setting! It was rather beautiful listening to the music wafting through the bush, joining the songs of the birds!

      Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. Have a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family!

    2. Reply

      Beate,

      Now I know why some of my overseas friends talk about brushfires! Brush and bush must be similar. I'm sure most people think our bush is a collection of bushes, but really it is native forest with tall trees, as well as bushes. Some of it is hard to walk through if there isn't a track. Oh yes, the cave association is perfect. Thank you for reminding me!

      • Beate
      • December 23, 2015
      Reply

      Perfect, because it is more likely that Jesus was born in a little cave 🙂 Your bush is beautiful, different, and yet similar, to our south TX brush country.

  3. Reply

    How lovely was that to listen to, Sue! Well done to your girls. You must be very proud of them. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and may the Lord bless all that you undertake in the New Year.

    1. Reply

      Chel,

      Thank you for watching Imogen's video and for your kind words!

      I bet you can relate to Christmas in the bush! Proud of my girls? I'm sometimes very surprised at what they can do. Like all kids, they are so good at learning new things!

      I hope you also have a wonderful Christmas. I saw you have your grandchildren staying with you. Enjoy!

  4. Reply

    So beautiful. All of you working together thank you for sharing just what I needed today x

    1. Reply

      San,

      Oh yes, working together was the best bit! Thank you so much for your kind comment. It will encourage Imogen to record another video. She has a folk song she'd like to try next. Sharing her videos is a great learning experience for her. Jump in the deep end and see what happens!

      I hope you have a very blessed Christmas. I'll be writing to you later! xxx

  5. Reply

    Oh wow!!! Beautiful!!!!!!!

    1. Reply

      Nancy,

      Thank you! I was thinking about you while we were in the bush recording the video. I hoped you'd enjoy the location. Happy Christmas!

    • Wendy
    • December 22, 2015
    Reply

    That was great! Leena, my daughter who makes music videos really loved it, too!

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      I saw Leena's Youtube channel! Wow! her videos are good. She is obviously an expert! Imogen is only just learning how to put together a video. Sophie gave her a few tips and then she did a bit of experimenting. Lots of fun learning new things!

      Thank you so much for watching. We're glad you enjoyed the video. Happy Christmas to you and your family!

  6. Reply

    That was wonderful, thank you for sharing it .

    Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

    Next time you come to the Blue Mountains, look us up.

    1. Reply

      Kathryn,

      Thank you for watching!

      I'll be sure to contact you if we come up to the Mountains again. I'd love to meet you and your family. I hope you have a good summer without any bushfires!

      I hope you also have a wonderful Christmas. I bet your children are getting excited. Ours are, even the young adult ones! Happy Christmas!

    • Vicky
    • December 23, 2015
    Reply

    Such beautiful singing!! The video looked very professional, too. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the girls' videos. xxx

    1. Reply

      Vicky,

      Thank you for your encouraging comment! Imogen has already planned the next video. I'll let you know when it is finished. Your interest is appreciated! Love to all the family. I hope you have a fantastic Christmas! xxx

    • Chris
    • December 23, 2015
    Reply

    So beautiful!

    And I love how you shared the set up as well as so many pictures!!!!!

    Gorgeous bush…but esp what a lovely family!

    Love you, Sue, my friend.

    Merry Christmas!!! I know it's Christmas Eve right now for you and I wish you a wonderful day!!!
    xoxoxo

    1. Reply

      Chris,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the behind-the-scenes photos! I do love our Aussie bush and sharing it with you. Thank you so much for watching the video!

      Yes, it's Christmas Eve. It's almost 4 pm as I write this. Soon things will get busy around here: last minute music practices, the girls all want Sophie to do elaborate hairstyles for them before they choose their Christmas clothes, dinner…. and then Midnight Mass! We can't wait!

      Merry Christmas to you too, Chris! It's been so lovely sharing blogging and friendship with you for another year. Love to you and your family. xxx

  7. Reply

    Thank you so much, dear Elvis family! This was my favorite carol as a girl, and to hear it – from the Australian bush! – sung so beautifully (I LOVED the harmonies!) brought tears to my eyes! I had just been reading something from St. John Chrysostom about everyone singing at Christmas (shepherds, angels, you name it!) and thinking about how fitting singing is for Christmas…and then God gave me an angel's song! Recorded by angelic sisters! With the angel-author mom assisting! God has given you all such wonderful gifts, and I am so grateful that you've shared them with us! …Oh, and then I went on to hear Imogen singing Gluck – another favorite! All that is left is for you to record "Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella" for me now 🙂 (I hope you take requests!) — God bless all you marvelous Elvises and THANK YOU so much for making my Christmas especially lovely. Now I must go share this! Merry, merry Christmas, with love from Suzie Andres

    1. Reply

      Suzie,

      I like the harmonies as well! Four Imogens singing at the same time. Of course, she sang the four parts separately and then mixed them together! I couldn't even sing one part so I think that's very clever. I'm in awe of anyone who can sing because my singing skills are practically non-existent! It's just as well I'm good at carrying cameras and tripods so I can be part of the music videos!

      Suzie, your words are such a gift. Thank you so much for your kindness. I'm sure Imogen will be encouraged to keep singing and sharing when she reads your comment.

      'Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella'? I haven't heard that carol but now I want to! It's on Youtube so I will listen. And maybe Imogen will sing it another time!

      Suzie, thank you for your friendship this year. I have enjoyed every single email we've exchanged, all our conversations about writing and so many other things, how we worked together on your page… I'm looking forward to another year of being your friend.

      May God bless you and your family too! Merry Christmas! Sending love to you, N. and all your family xxx

    2. Reply

      Suzie,

      Thank you so much for the video link. I'll be off to watch it after writing this comment. You are all so very kind gathering around to watch Imogen's video. You are full of love and encouragement. Thank you! Please thank N for her kind words. I wish I could taste her coffee cake. Yes, daughters are truly delightful!

      Yes, we have moved on to St Stephen's Day. It's about 4.20 pm as I write this. The rain is falling steadily outside. It's not cold at all so it's rather pleasant. I love rain! We're having a quiet and relaxing day which is perfect after all the excitement of yesterday.

      I will keep writing and I hope you do too! I'm sure the girls will all be busy as well with their various projects and dreams. Sending you and N and all the family more love. (Never too much love!) xxxoo

    3. Reply

      Oh Sue! I'm so excited to introduce this carol to you this year!
      Here is the version I love:


      But guess what?
      I showed this to N. (who was thrilled to see your greeting and receive your love and returns it with interest!~) this morning as she made us a wonderful homemade coffee cake for Christmas day – no wonder you love having daughters 🙂 … Well, after showing N. this favorite video of mine, I showed her…Imogen's! Oh, THEN the whole family gathered around my little computer to see and hear your lovely daughter! All were delighted! And N.? She said, "I like this one better than the former!" – that is, she (and we) enjoyed Imogen's video best! Thanks again to Sophie and Gemma-Rose for their work and fun making this beautiful gift for us! Now go listen to "our" carol and let us know if you like it 🙂 Merry, merry Christmas!! (or perhaps, where you are, happy St. Stephen's Day already!) We love you! Oh, and in the New Year, keep writing, Sue Elvis, keep singing, Imogen, keep filming and assisting, Sophie and Gemma-Rose: please! love, Suzie and N. 🙂

  8. Reply

    This was fantastic. She has a beautiful voice, and the bush, that's not so "bushy" more "woody" is a tremendous place. I hope one day to see in in real life.
    A blessed Christmas I wish all you good Elvis'es. I'm happy to know you.

    1. Reply

      Uglemor,

      Oh yes, the bush is more bushy than woody. That's a good description! There are lots of tall trees with slim trunks, and in between are native plants which are more bush-like. Lots of them flower. There must have been wattles in flower at the spot where we were recording the video, because I can see yellow wattle flowers in Sophie's hair in one of the photos! I think you'd like our bush. Maybe one day you will indeed visit and I can take you bushwalking! I'd love to do that.

      Oh Uglemor, I am so glad I know you too! Sending love to you and you family. May you have a blessed Christmas too! Merry Christmas!

  9. Reply

    It's hard to believe it's her first music video! I'm so impressed with how the girls have collaborated on this, what great experience for them each individually and as a team.

    1. Reply

      Kelly,

      Thank you for your kind comment! It's amazing what kids can do with the Internet and all the various software programs and equipment, isn't it? So many opportunities that weren't available when I was a child. The girls are learning so much as they experiment together. Still lots to learn but that's okay. I'm looking forward to seeing what they produce next!

  10. Reply

    I absolutely love this! Your daughter has a beautiful voice. Your children are so blessed to be in a family where their gifts and talents are encouraged to be pursued. I hope you had a beautiful holiday and I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts in the New Year!

    1. Reply

      Michelle,

      Thank you so much! We are very blessed to have many beautiful friends who encourage us in our passions.

      I'm enjoying a break from blogging, but ideas for new posts are starting to bubble up at the back of my mind as I do other things! I'm so glad you'll be reading along in the New Year.

      I hope you're enjoying the holidays too. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Wendy
    • December 26, 2015
    Reply

    Do you think Imogen and the girls would mind if I used this video as my closing video (12th day) in my 12 Days of Christmas series?

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      Imogen and the other girls would feel honoured to be part of your 12 Days Of Christmas series. Thank you very much for thinking of them! I hope you're enjoying the Christmas season!

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