How To Create YouTube Videos Using An Image And A Song
I’m sure you’ve seen them before – people posting videos to YouTube that have a static image and a song, usually done by fans of the band. Prompted by some not-so-flattering images being used with some of our bands songs, we decided to do this ourselves, both to make sure great images were being used, but also so that we can put correct info in the description of the video with links to the artist and album/song.
Here’s an example of a Lila Rose track we created recently:
Today I’m going to show you how to do that using a couple different methods.
Using Quicktime 7 Pro
1. Quicktime 7 Pro ($29.99) for Windows or Mac
2. An appropriate high resolution image – 1280×720 is ideal for HD quality.
3. An AIFF or WAV (16 bit, 44.1k) of your song – you can use MP3’s or almost any other format, but an original AIFF or WAV is best. Do not up-convert to AIFF or WAV from a lossy format like MP3 or AAC as this will result in two conversion processes, degrading the quality of the music.
NOTE – This will NOT work with Quicktime Player 10!
1. Launch Quicktime 7 Pro (authorize Pro with your purchase code if you haven’t already done so.)
2. Open the image you want to use (again 1280×720 pixels is ideal – scale or crop your image to fit those dimensions using your favorite image editing app) in Quicktime by going to File>Open File and navigating to your image.
3. Open your song in Quicktime by going to File>Open File and choosing your song.
4. With the song as the front-most window, do a ‘Select All’ (command+a on Mac, control+a on Windows), then Copy (command+c on Mac, control+c on Windows).
5. Click on the image you opened in Quicktime so it’s the front-most window, then go to Edit>Add to Movie (option+command+v on Mac, option+control+v on Windows). This will add the song to the image in the image window.
6. Press play and verify that your song plays and that the static image shows through the entire song.
8. Go to File>Export (do NOT use ‘Export for Web’ as this will generate an error about ‘The movie contains in incorrect time value’) and, in the settings below the file browser, next to Export choose ‘Movie to Quicktime Movie’, then click on the Options button which will open up a new pop up window. Click on ‘Settings’ and choose the following:
Compression Type – MPEG-4 Video
Frame Rate – Current Frame Rate
Key Frames – Automatic
Data Rate – Automatic
Compressor Quality – Best
9. Click OK to close that section, then click on the Size button and choose 1280×720 HD. Hopefully you’ve used a 1280×720 image – if not, you can have Quicktime scale and crop your image to fit the dimensions, but this is not ideal, as it may crop it in such a way that it won’t look right. You shouldn’t need to check either the ‘Preserve Aspect Ratio’ if you’ve used a 1280×720 image, nor the ‘Deinterlace Source Video’ boxes. Click ‘OK’ to close that window.
10. In the Sound section of the Movie Settings window click ‘Settings’ and enter these settings:
Format – AAC
Channels – Stereo (L R)
Rate: 44.100 khz
Quality – Best
Target Bit Rate – 256 kbps
Click OK to close that window
11. You should now be back in the Movie Settings window – verify your settings and then click OK to close that window.
12. Back in the ‘Save Exported File As…’ window, navigate to where you’d like to save your finished movie and then give it an appropriate name in the Save As section. Click ‘Save’ in the lower right of that window and wait for it to finish rendering.
13. Bask in the glory of your accomplishment!
I highly recommend using Quicktime 7 Pro as the method for doing this, as it’s by far the fastest, especially with rendering. Next I’m going to show you how to do this in iPhoto (sorry Windows users, you’re on your own here!), but be prepared for MUCH longer render times and a more complicated workflow.
1. Launch iPhoto and go to File>New Album and create a new album.
2. Drag and drop your images into the main iPhoto window to add them to the album. Did I mention you should have cropped and sized your images to 1280×720 prior to importing them into iPhoto?
3. Click on an image to select it, then click on the ‘+’ button in the lower left of the iPhoto window. In the new sub-window that opens, click on ‘Slideshow’ and name your new slideshow (I usually use the name of the artist and song, for easy identification) and make sure the ‘Use selected items in new slideshow’ button is checked. Click ‘Create’ to create the new slideshow.
4. You should now have a new Slideshow view that contains your image. Click on the ‘Music’ button below the main window – this will open a new ‘Music Settings’ window that will link to your iTunes library where, hopefully, you have the song you want to use with the image. Again, use CD quality songs when possible! In the search box in that window, enter the name of the song you want to use, then click on the appropriate one from the search results. Or you can click on the Source drop down and choose the playlist from which you want to choose the song and click on the appropriate song that way. Make sure the ‘Play music during slideshow’ box is checked, then click ‘Apply’ in the lower right of that window to add the song and close the ‘Music Settings’ window.
5. Click on the ‘Settings’ icon at the bottom of the iPhoto window to open the Slideshow Settings window and enter the following settings:
Check the ‘Fit slideshow to music’ button
Make sure ‘Transition’ is unchecked
Uncheck ‘Show Caption’, ‘Show Title Slide’, ‘Repeat Slideshow’ and ‘Scale photos to fit screen’
Aspect Ratio should be set to 16:9, either ‘This screen (16:9)’ if you have a 16:9 screen or ‘HDTV (16:9)’ if your screen isn’t 16:9.
6. Click the ‘X’ button in the upper left of that window to apply the settings and close the window.
7. In the lower right of the iPhoto window, click on ‘Export’, which will open the ‘Export your slideshow’ window. Uncheck ‘Automatically send slideshow to iTunes’ unless you actually want that option. Uncheck all the ‘Sizes’ options and click on ‘Custom Export’. The reason we do this is, for whatever reason, iPhoto’s ‘Sizes’ options never seem to conform to the 1280×720 size we need.
8. In the new window that opens up, you’ll be able to name the file you’re exporting (again, the name of the artist and song is a good bet) and choose where you want it saved to.
9. In the lower part of that new window next to ‘Export’ choose ‘Movie to Quicktime Movie’, then click on ‘Options’.
10. In the ‘Movie Settings’ window you should use the same settings as with the Quicktime export above, with a few exceptions. Everything is the same as with the Quicktime settings except for step 10, in the Sound section of the Movie Settings window click ‘Settings’ and enter these settings:
Compressor – MPEG-4 Audio
Rate: 44.100 khz
Size : 16 bit
Use : Stereo
11. Click on the ‘Options’ button in that window and enter the following:
Compressor : AAC (Low Complexity)
Target Output : Specified Bit Rate
Bit Rate : 256 kbits/second
Output Sample Rate : 44.100 kHz
Encoder Quality : Best
11. Click ‘OK’ to close that window, click ‘OK’ to close the next window where you’ve made the ‘Compressor’, ‘Rate’, etc. settings, then click ‘OK’ to close the ‘Movie Settings’ window. Make sure you’ve named your file properly and selected where you want to save it, then click ‘Save’ to export your movie.
12. Go get a cup of coffee, do your laundry or write a new song while iPhoto does it’s export (which, as I mentioned, takes a lot longer than using Quicktime).
Upload to YouTube!
You can now upload your ‘videos’ to YouTube – see the Lila Rose video above for a good example of what you should put in the description, such as buy links, links to the artist website, etc.
If you want to really get creative, you can use iPhoto and several images in a slideshow for your song, in which case playing with transitions and and other options in iPhoto can jazz up your video.