Capturing the Mood Behind Butterscotch’s Music Video

By in Video Editing

Avid Pro Tools and Avid Media Composer were instrumental in the creation of the latest single and music video, ‘Accept Who I Am’, from beatboxing artist, Butterscotch. Entirely recorded and mixed using Pro Tools, with the video edited using Media Composer, the track features Butterscotch’s unique combination of singing, beatboxing and piano playing, accompanied by some powerful imagery in the accompanying video. This blog features a chat with the video’s editor, Ali Mao, and how she helped Butterscotch bring her music to life.

The music video for ‘Accept Who I am’, conceived by Butterscotch and director and choreographer, Mary John Frank, blends modern dance and physical theater to tell Butterscotch’s story. It showcases many of the challenges Butterscotch has faced in her life, with the dancers in the video representing some of her personal struggles that she’s overcome. “It’s already a challenge to make a music video,” Butterscotch explained, “but one that was about your life and representing all the bad things you went through – it was heavy! The editor, Ali, and I wanted to have the inside shots to be black and white, because that’s the turmoil that I went through back in the day. She made everything super clean using Media Composer.”


Butterscotch video dancers

Ali Mao, of Arcade in New York, edited the video for ‘Accept Who I Am’ using Avid Media Composer. “On every project I work on, I like to speak with the director before I start editing to get a sense of the story they are trying to tell,” Ali explained. “Then I do the first assembly on my own because it allows me the opportunity to develop a relationship with the footage that’s different from the director’s relationship to the footage. That way, when we finally start to work together, we’re coming at the edit with different insights on how to achieve the same goal, which is to tell the best story.”

One of the things Ali loved about working with the director and choreographer, Mary John Frank, is that she was always so invested in the editorial process. “She’s one of those directors that knows every frame of her footage,” Ali continued, “and loves to tinker with every thought that she or the editor may have in regards to telling the best story possible. Every project with her is truly a creative collaboration between the director and editor, which is my favorite way of working.”

“Every project with her is truly a creative collaboration between the director and editor, which is my favorite way of working.”

—Ali Mao, editor

Media Composer was also used for basic color correction in Butterscotch’s video to help set the mood, as Ali explained: “Since MJ had a very distinct concept for the color of this music video – black and white versus color – I did perform some basic color correction so that we could see what shots were and weren’t working in contrast to one another.”

There were many effects that Ali used during the editing of ‘Accept Who I Am’. “One of the best things about Avid is the animate effect, which allows you to shape your own garbage matte with an infinite number of points,” she added. “It’s saved me so often in various jobs, and we used it on a few scenes in this edit so that we could cheat the timing and positioning of certain actions in relation to others. The Fluid Motion effect is also one of the most amazing speed effects I’ve ever used; its ability to smooth an image when sped up or slowed down is something all of us editors ‘nerd out’ about!

“Avid recently added the option to mute a clip, which along with the nesting function, was crucial for this edit.”

—Ali Mao, editor

“Avid recently added the option to mute a clip, which along with the nesting function, was crucial for this edit. There were anything from three to seven takes for each of the singing scenes, and because MJ likes to play with a lot of options during the edit, it made sense to layer all the singing takes on to the music track. I then nested each scene – black and white singing, dancing singing, Joshua tree singing – and as we worked through the edit, I could then mute a clip here and there to see what worked best in relation to the clips around it.”

“The song and the video are about me coming to terms with who I am,” Butterscotch summarized. “It’s a song about letting people know they are not alone in their struggles, and how we can come together and make this world a better place.”

Avid Powers the Making of 'Accept Who I Am'

'Accept Who I Am' - Official Music Video - Butterscotch

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