Charli XCXâ€™s 2020 music video for her song â€˜Foreverâ€™ is a great example of how a crowdsourced music video can be used to create stunning visuals. Locked down during the first wave of COVID, the record company couldn't shoot a promo video. Instead, the team behind the project sent out an open call for users to submit their own content that could be used in the video. Charli tookÂ to Twitter and posted a list of instructions and tasks for fans to complete and submit to her for a chance to be featured in the music clip.
It was quite a detailed list. Each contributor had to send 3-5 video clips, mostly old clips already stored on their phone library. Then to suit the direction of the producers, some specific new footage was required: like tossing the phone in slow motion or picking up a sentimental object.
i want to make a music video for â€œforeverâ€ and i need ur helppp ðŸ’“ if u want to be involved in the video please follow the instructions in the document below and send clips to [email protected] ðŸ’“ pic.twitter.com/bh3Eh3eo3f— Charli (@charli_xcx) April 10, 2020
Despite the somewhat arduous filming brief, over 6,000 people responded by submitting clips to a single-use gmail account and Charli XCX's team was able to pick out the best ones to construct her music video. In the video Charli's own confinement was interspersed with that of her fans. When COVID was still fresh, it provided a welcome distraction.
However, the process of creating the video involved a great deal of creativity and organisation in order to sift through all the clips sent in. All submissions had to have a similar look and feel in order for them to fit together seamlessly when edited. This meant watching all 6,000 clips over and over again!
Luckily all of Asylum Records creative team within Atlantic Records were also working from home. So each has to sit in their bedrooms or makeshift offices reviewing user-generated video clips. Someone's unenviable job was to transfer the video clips from Gmail into a Google Drive that was share between the team. Then a shortlist of favorite clips was done manually by updating a Google Doc. True collaboration forged in the white heat of a global pandemic.
To make this task easier, Charli XCX enlisted help from her team who divided the work up between them so that no one person had to watch all of them. They then used software like Adobe Premiere Pro that allowed them to quickly review each submission and discard any that didnâ€™t match up with the desired aesthetic.
One of the major problems was that her core demographic of fans all record videos in portrait mode, whereas the creative team at Asylum needed landscape. So landscape videos were more likely to be featured. And then contributors of good clips that were portrait were discreetly asked to re-record in landscape. Finally, two people were assigned the task of reformatting and cropping detail from portrait videos. Â The clips were then color-graded to ensure each matched for a compilation.
The result is a piece of art that has captivated audiences around the globe and made its way into many peopleâ€™s hearts (and playlists). However it also serves as inspiration for other brands who want to take advantage of crowdsourced videos without having to deal with copyright issues or lack enough resources to process them all.
In addition to editing software, the team also had to make sure they got permission from everyone who submitted a clip before using it in the final video. Despite the Twitter instructions stating that by uploading, the fan gave permission, Atlantic's legal team had different views. They required content assignment forms from everyone, to ensure that clip ownership was transferred to Asylum/Atlantic.
This involved tracking down contact information for each contributor, getting their agreement on a contract, as well as acquiring copyright permissions if necessary (depending on where they live). Itâ€™s actually quite expensive and time consuming so itâ€™s not something small brands would be able to afford without help.
However, it doesnâ€™t have to be this way! By running a video contest on Vloggi â€“ an automated platform designed specifically for managing footage submissions â€“ marketers in brands can get creative with their social media campaigns while also avoiding any costly legal issues along the way.
Vloggi takes care of everything from cloud storage and moderation, right through to making sure all contributors are credited properly according user-submitted information including age or location. The platform also includes automatic color grading and audio normalisation, to ensure that all your clips can be spliced together easily into your final video. All portrait clips are reformatted into landscape or available as raw files for social media video editing software.
This ease-of-use makes it easy for brands with smaller budgets or less access rights expertise to crowdsource stunning audiovisual content just like Charli XCX did for â€˜Foreverâ€™!
Hamilton the Musical also crowdsourced a music video top launch the show's Melbourne performances. The creative team there used Vloggi to crowdsource and estimated they saved $10,000 in staff costs doing the admin that goes into successful crowdsourced video projects.
Charli XCX loved the crowdsourcing experience. In fact, Forever was a cut from the album How I'm Feeling Now. Released on 15 May 2020, the album was recorded over six weeks during the COVID-19 lockdown as a do-it-yourself collaborative process. Charli XCX used Zoom calls to share demos and text conversations with producers to finish the album and asked for fan input on single releases, song ideas, and artwork.
Vloggi offers one potential solution: A private video submission platform where companies can launch their own contests and manage all rights permissions, cloud storage and moderation â€“ all under one platform. This makes it much easier and more affordable for marketers in small brands who want to create social media campaigns using user-generated content but donâ€™t have either the budget or manpower necessary needed for successful management of countless incoming clips from different sources.
With Vloggi, even those with limited resources can enjoy all the benefits of crowdsourcing â€“ including creativity, authenticity and cost savingsâ€“without having to worry about sorting through myriad clips or dealing with legalities associated with copyrights or model releases for every submission. Just like Charli XCX was able to create something truly spectacular by leveraging user footage worldwide; you too can harness your audienceâ€™s creative power by running engaging video contests on Vloggi!