Classical & New Age Background Music

classical background musicThis page features original compositions that are as well as our own performances of classical music tracks that are in the public domain (as their copyrights have expired) You may use these for free as background music for non-commercial videos and other non-commercial multimedia-projects; simply add the appropriate credit as shown under each video (see the Terms of Use).

Download Problems

If you are having downloading problems, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).

Public Domain Compositions

These are original performances of public domain compositions. The compositions are in the public domain, but the copyright of the recordings of the performances belong to us. It is quite common to get false Content ID matches and copyright claims when using public domain compositions. This is because two performances of the same composition may sound quite similar. If you should get a Content ID match using the information below the the video.

I Vow to Thee, My Country
(2:12, Background Music 34)


Download WAV: I Vow to Thee, My Country (WAV)
Download MP3: I Vow to Thee, My County (MP3)
Credits:
Piano arrangement and performance by Kate Kwok (2015)
Song composed by Gustav Holst and Sir Cecil Spring Rice (1921)
Dispute information:

The composition for the song being claimed (I Vow to Thee My Country) is in the public domain in all countries. It was composed by Gustav Holst and Sir Cecil Spring Rice in 1921. The recording is an original recording performed by Kate Kwok, who is playing her own arrangement of the song. It is produced by longzijun. The recording is available for use for free for non-commercial purposes and in monetized YouTube videos that are otherwise non-commercial in nature as long as the music is properly credited, which I have done in the video description. The permission is given on the video page for the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac2IiRNEr14), on the producer’s website (http://wp.me/pury4-IK) and on this ToS page (https://longzijun.wordpress.com/music/free-background-music-series-terms-of-use/).

 


Rachmaninoff Prelude in E-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 6
(Background Music 21, 2:57)


Download mp3: www.box.com/s/91tekkreelclol0fvan4
Download wav: www.box.com/s/30rxolp1xirsnxzb4b6q
Credits
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff (Date of Composition: 1901-1903)
Performed by: Tong Chi-ling 2012
Dispute information:

The composition and arrangement for the song being claimed (>Rachmaninoff Prelude in E-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 6) are in the public domain. It was composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff between 1901 and 1903. The recording is an original recording performed by Tong Chi-long. It is produced by longzijun. The recording is available for use for free for non-commercial purposes and in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as the music is properly credited, which I have done in the video description. The permission is given on the video page for the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac2IiRNEr14), on the website Longzijun (http://wp.me/pury4-IK) and on this ToS page (https://longzijun.wordpress.com/music/free-background-music-series-terms-of-use/).

 

Original Compositions

Echoes & Fragments
Background Music 30: 3:00 (minimalist, piano)


Download MP3: Echoes & Fragments
Credits: Music by longzijun

 

The Mercury Tale: Music by Jessica Yip
Short Instrumental Track 15: 53 seconds (piano)


Download MP3: The Mercury Tale
Download WAV (for higher quality): The Mercury Tale by Jessica Yip
Credits: The Mercury Tale: Music by Jessica Yip (2015)

 

Broken
Background Music 35: 3:17 (piano, minimalist)


The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are at the bottom of the YouTube video description (either play the embedded video and click on the YouTube icon to open the YouTube video page or click on this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQBFlHvI_s).
Credits: Music by longzijun

 

Memoryne
Background Music 25: 2:30 (piano)


Download MP3: Memoryne
Credits: Music by longzijun (2013)

 

Love & Time
Short Instrumental Track 4: 25 seconds (piano and synth strings)


Download MP3: Love & Time
Credits” Music by longzijun

 

Short Instrumental Theme 6
Short Instrumental Track 6: 19-21 seconds (synth and horns)


Download MP3 Version: Short Instrumental Theme 06
Download WAV Version: Short Instrumental Theme 06
Credits” Music by longzijun

 

Orchestral Sunset (Brief Intro)
Short Instrumental Track 8: 13 seconds (orchestral)
There is an alternative version with no drums in case you find this one too brash.

Version 2 (Without Drums)


Download MP3: Orchestral Sunset
Download MP3: Orchestral Sunset Version 2 (No Drums)
Credits: Music by longzijun


 

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Our New Video: Kate’s Piano Cover of Misty Road from Moonlight Drawn by Clouds

We continue our student music series with Kate performing her own arrangement of Misty Road (안갯길) from the original soundtrack of the hit Korean television series Love in the Moonlight (구르미 그린 달빛, which has the literal translation of ‘Moonlight Drawn By Clouds’) The original version is sung by Ben (벤) and can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrceHhXYkIA

Note: This song is NOT part of the free background music series as we do not own the copyright to the composition.

Kate is a Form 6 student at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School. She created the arrangement by ear (i.e., nothing is written down), so sheet music is not available, but we plan on contacting publishers this summer to see of they are interested in releasing a score of her version. She is now preparing to take her public exams, so her music life will be on hold for a few months. However, she plans to record two more arrangements of songs from the same series—Moonlight Drawn by Cloulds—after she finishes her exams.

This is the fourteenth song in our music series featuring students at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School in Hong Kong. The purpose of this series is allow students to share their love of music while helping them develop their talents as performers and songwriters (and arrangers!). To view the whole series. featuring originals and covers in English, Cantonese and Japanese, you can go to: longzijun.wordpress.com/works/student-music-originals-and-covers/. Kate’s other videos in this series include her arrangements of Feast of Starlight (from the soundtrack to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and I Vow to Thee My Country and her cover of Taylor Swift’s Breathe.

Credits:
Composition: Misty Road (안갯길) (Love in the Moonlight OST Part 4)
Music composed by Jinyoung (진영) of B1A4
Piano arrangement by Kate Kwok
Piano performance by Kate Kwok
Recording and video by longzijun

Subtitles of the lyrics are available in Korean (Hangul) and English (click on CC below the video to select subtitles or click on the settings/gear icon to choose between English and Korean lyrics). The song is a wistful ode to memories of a former romance. Although the passage of time can dull pain and assuage heartbreak, it will also lead to happier memories starting to blur and then fade away. The misty road of the title serves as a metaphor for this kind of fading memory. In ‘Love in the Moonlight’, the song is associated with the story of the second lead male character, Kim Yoon-sung, who is played by actor, singer and producer Jinyoung, who composed the song.

Regarding this arrangement, I particularly liked the way in with Kate used a variety of techniques in the right-hand part—single-note melodies, octaves, chords and two-note harmonies—to create a variety of different timbres and moods. I am looking forward to hearing her upcoming arrangements.If you like her performance, you can leave a comment on the video to show your support.

Return to the Student Music Series 

Return to Music

Two New Short Instrumentals for Intros, Outros and Credits

Here are two new additions to the Short Instrumentals Collection. These are short pieces suitable for use as intros, outros and credits and can be used for free in non-commercial projects as long as credit is provided (Music by longzijun). I recently learned that songs from this series are also being used as ringtones, which is something I hadn’t thought of.

Short Instrumental 12: Equinox

I finished this 31-second composition on March 20, which is the day of the Spring equinox (yay Spring!); hence the title. This song is mainly built from loops, with the piano part being played on a Korg MicroX. I’ve been watching Breaking Bad on DVD recently, so this song is inspired somewhat by the theme music for that show. I started with an acoustic guitar base, but instead of heading for the country twang of that show’s theme, I went for a jazzier feel with a hint of reggae.

The video is of commuters going though either Central or Hong Kong station after work. I changed the footage into a line drawing in Premiere Pro. The footage was shot while on the way back from doing some video shooting with a student group (Maggie, Winsome and Teresa). On the way home, we thought we would get some footage of the commuters in case the girls needed it for their video later. The video they were working on was about people’s dreams in life. On that day, we interviewed Leonard Lee (aka CM Groovy), a professional bass player, who was one of the main interviewees in the documentary. Here is Maggie, Winsome and Teresa’s final video:

My most popular song is the one I created as background music for that video (it is called Dreams). Besides this documentary, there are some shorter videos as well. You can read about the series here: Dreamers HK: What’s Your Dream in Life.

The same day we interviewed CM, we also talked to two young skateboarders about their dreams.

Short Instrumental Theme No. 6

This 20-second song is a complete reworking of an earlier intro theme. The new version combines electronic arpeggios and sweeping chords with mellow French horns. The feel is relaxed, but with a sense of elegance. All the parts except for the kick drum were played on a Korg MicroX, a budget synthesizer with a two-octave keyboard.

The photo is one I took of Chinese University of Hong Kong at dawn on a particularly blue, clear and peaceful day. You can view more photos of the campus here:
Chinese University at Dawn

More Music

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Creative Commons Licenses: Advantages and Drawbacks

What are Creative Commons licenses?

Creative Commons is a free licensing system designed to make it easier for creative people to share their work and make it freely available for people to use (creativecommons.org/).

This article examines the benefits, perils and pitfalls of using Creative Commons Licences. If you are doing creative work and want to share your work, you can consider if the Creative Commons license is right for you. There is no need for a formal registration process; you can simply indicate somewhere on or by a specific work that you are publishing it under one of the six licenses:

  • Attribution (CC BY) (The user needs to credit the creator)
  • Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA) (The user needs to credit the creator and the the new work, whatever it is, should have the same Creative Commons license.
  • Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY-ND) (The user needs to credit the creator; the user may use, but may not adapt or remix the original work).
  • Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)(The user needs to credit the creator; the work may only be used for free for non-commercial purposes; however, the creator, is free to make other arrangements for people who want to use the work commercially)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)

Why should content creators like artists, musicians, photographers, bloggers consider using them?

You can make your work available to a wider audience. It can help others—like students, charities, amateur filmmakers or simply fellow hobbyists—create their own work.

Creative Commons licences are becoming more popular. Many media sites sharing like YouTube, Vimeo, Wikimedia Commons and Flickr include functions that allows users to post Creative Commons content (with Vimeo, the default sharing setting is a Creative Commons license). This Creative Commons licensing feature is typically found under Advanced Settings or Sharing Options.

These media sharing sites, as well as search engines like Google (in Google’s case, this function is found under Advanced Search), also enable people to search specifically for Creative Commons content, so if you upload your content using such a license, it may bring your work more exposure through such searches. However, Not a lot of people know about these search filters yet, so you are unlikely to see a huge increase in views/traffic.

Search for Creative Commons work using the YouTube search filter
Search for Creative Commons work using YouTube’s search filter

What are the drawbacks of Creative Commons licences?

Although Creative Commons licenses are very useful they can be misused, so content creators and content users need to be careful.

1. If you are a content user, can you guarantee that the content creator had the rights to publish that content under a Creative Commons license?
This may be the fatal flaw of the Creative Commons system; in order for it to work properly, everyone needs to be familiar with concepts like copyright law and public domain. For example, Person A may publish under a Creative Commons license a recording of her saxophone quartet’s version of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Person A may think that this composition is in the public domain, but the quartet was using an arrangement that is protected by copyright as it is a substantial adaptation of the original Beethoven work. Therefore, Person A did not actually have the right to issue the work under a Creative Commons license. Person B then comes across the song and uses it in a video that he uploads to YouTube, and he publishes that video under a Creative Commons license. Then twenty other people make use of that video to create their own videos. The problem is that Person B and the twenty other people are now guilty of copyright infringement and could have their videos taken down. This kind of inadvertent copyright infringement is popping up quite frequently on YouTube’s help discussion forum.

2. They last forever…kind of
For the creator: Once you license your work, or state that you are issuing your work under a Creative Commons license, the license is irrevocable. One day down the line, you might want to make your work ‘less free’. For example, perhaps your photography hobby has now turned into a profession. You would not be able to cancel the Creative Commons licenses you applied to all of your old work.

For the user: Not all creators follow the above rule and people often change or cancel the licenses. For example, on Flickr, a photographer can upload photos with a Creative Commons license and then some time later change the copyright on the photos to ‘All Rights Reserved’. If you really want to be safe, when you download anything listed under Creative Commons and plan to use it in your own work, it would be a good idea to get a screen capture of the webpage and write down the date downloaded, the site URL and the type of license the work was published under. Here’s a case in which YouTuber meloST used the YouTube video editor to create his own videos from CC-licensed YouTube videos. Sometime later, the uploader of one of the videos used removed the CC licensing and then had two of meloST’s videos taken down, earning him two copyright strikes and putting his channel in jeopardy: productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/youtube/HEMd4WQcTlk/Z4xEqVXDHvgJ

3. Are you sure that you are OK with all possible uses of your work?
Let’s say, for example, you have strong views on a social issue like gay marriage. Would you mind if someone used your photo of two men as an illustration in a popular blog article espousing completely the opposite view and then having your name attached to it. Under the Creative Commons system, you can demand to have your name removed, but would you mind having your work used to support something you are strongly opposed to? The international Creative Commons licenses do include a moral rights clause stating that end users “must not distort, mutilate, modify or take other derogatory action in relation to the Work which would be prejudicial to the Original Author’s honor or reputation.” However, it is difficult to see how this clause could be used by you, the photographer, in the given example, which simply involves opposing points of view. After all, what is considered immoral or reputation-damaging by one person, may not be considered so bad by the community in general. The blog writer may even consider his/her use of your photo to be doing you a favor in terms of your honor and reputation.

4. Is everyone involved in your work OK with all the possible uses?
And what about the two men in the photo? Perhaps it is just a photo of two of your friends taken during a trip to the beach. Suddenly, because of the blog’s popularity, the photo starts appearing in Facebook feeds and before long, your two straight friends have become poster boys for homosexuality. Notwithstanding their own views on gay rights, would they be comfortable with their new role as symbols. A similar thing happened to a Texan teen, whose images, published by a friend on Flickr with a CC BY license, were used in a Virgin Mobile advertising campaign in Australia that presented her in an unflattering light (www.cbsnews.com/2100-205_162-3290986.html). Her family attempted to sue various parties, but was unsuccessful (the main stumbling block was that there was no clear jurisdiction).

5. Creative Commons licenses can easily be abused by scrapers
Scrapers are people who collect, often using automated software, content produced by others and then republish the content with the goal being to drive people to their own website and earn advertising dollars (this is called ‘web scraping’). If all of your photos, videos or blog entries are published under Creative Commons licenses, there is nothing to stop a scraper from downloading and re-uploading ALL your work into what essentially becomes a mirror site. If you find out your Creative Commons licensed work is scraped, there is not much you can do about it, especially if your name is included somewhere on the page. If your work is NOT published under a Creative Commons license, however, you can act to have the copied content removed

6. The licences may be too specific, not specific enough or may clash
Here are some examples:

  1. Can images with a Non-Derivative license be used unaltered to make a video?
  2. What exactly does non-commercial mean? Are monetized YouTube videos commercial? What about a company-produced video that features one of its products but doesn’t actually try to sell the product? Is that still commercial use?
  3. If you create a video that uses an Attribution (BY) Share Alike (SA) image that you found along with music that you received permission to use, should you slap a Share Alike license on your own video? If you don’t, the use of the image infringes the rights of the photographer. If you do, you are infringing on the copyright held by the composer/musician.
  4. Can you upload a video you made that contains music issued under an CC-NC license to YouTube and publish it under YouTube’s Creative Common’s system (CC-BY)?
  5. If I take a photo of graffiti, can I then publish it under a licence allowing for commercial purposes?

I can answer all of the above questions based on my understanding of the related laws: 1) No, they can’t. 2. There are grey areas; Yes, it is;  Yes, it is. 3) You would need to get permission from the musician to do that. 4) No. 5) Most likely no, but it would depend on the extent to which the photo includes things other than the graffiti (the person or organisation that owns the wall the graffiti was painted on owns the copyright to the actual graffiti unless other arrangements were made with the artist).

However, different people might give you completely different answers.

Summary

Content creators need to look carefully at the pitfalls of Creative Commons licenses before deciding whether they are willing to share their work permanently under those terms. Content users need to especially careful when using Creative Commons work. They should only use work from creators they have full confidence in and should keep a clear record of the licenses (e.g, they should take screen shots)  .

My own use of Creative Commons

I rarely use Creative Commons works in my own work. One exception might be to use attributed CC photos in something like class notes.

I used to use it for my music compositions music, but was put off by the permanent nature of the license and by seeing scrapers re-publishing my work. To make my work available for use, I set up my own terms of use with specific terms governing scraping, remixing and altering and an option for people who monetize videos using my music on YouTube.

I currently use it for some photos (CC-BY-NC), but never for photos with people in them. These I publish using the ‘All Rights Reserved’ setting.

I don’t use CC licenses with blog posts. Why give someone the right to republish your work in it’s entirety when it is just as effective for the other person to quote a paragraph and then have a “read the original article link” at the end of the paragraph?

Related Articles

Music: Public Domain, Fair Use, Copyright and YouTube: Guidelines for video-makers
The Illegal Downloading Debate: Is it OK to Download Songs without Paying?


~by longzijun

writing

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New Composition: Elegy

I’ve just added this song to the background music series: longzijun.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/free-background-music/

The song was written in memory of a former student of mine who passed away from a stroke two weeks ago at the age of 21. It was a way of expressing my feelings. This is the message I posted on Facebook:

Wow…Kitty, I don’t know what to say. We’re all going to miss you. At least, during your short life (far, far too short), you were able to touch so many people in a positive way. That’s a big accomplishment that not many of us can achieve. Even the younger students here have all been talking about how wonderful you are …your smile, your liveliness, your leadership. You inspired a lot of people. In our memories, in the way you’ve changed us, you’ll always be around.

As for the song itself, because it is requiem inspired by a such sad event, I wrote it in a major key (otherwise it would probably be unbearably melancholic). The light arrangement (with high notes on the piano and bells) is meant to convey her lively, but gently demeanor. The final verse is purposefully cut  short and left unresolved. It was recorded using a Korg M50 synthesizer.

Student Video Activities: Fifty People One Question, Language Challenge & Oral Histories

These are learning activities suitable for high school or even tertiary level students. They could be used classes in language, media. film, communication, social students or liberal studies or with student media production teams or campus television stations.

 

1. The Fifty People, One Question Approach

The Fifty People, One Question activity would involve having students work in groups to create a video a based on the Fifty People, One Question series of videos. In these videos, people are interviewed in the street and are asked one question. The original video was shot in New Orleans in 2008 by the creative partnership of Crush and Lovely & Deltree; their question was: “By the end of today, what would you wish to happen?”

The team also asked the same question in New York and Brooklyn and in London asked the question “Where do you you wish to wake up tomorrow?”  The videos are quite popular and have inspired a series of similar videos such as PostSecret’s: What’s your Secret? (The video set in Ottawa, however, isn’t suitable for secondary school classwork, however, as the interviewees are asked what their favourite curse word is.). The Fifty People One Question Team is quite happy for others to use their approach and even the same title as long as credit is given with a link back to their website:
fiftypeopleonequestion.com
The 50 People, One Question approach can also be used as a starting point for students to develop their own formats. A much more visual approach was used by BenHaistFilms, who took the general idea and gave it a new spin by having interviewees write and down and physically show their answers to the question.

In the above video, the 50 People, 1 Question concept served not so much as a model to be copied, but as a starting point and as a source of inspiration.

A group of my own students in Hong Kong adapted the approach (they were the ones who noticed the original series of videos). In addition to the in-the-street-interviews, they also conducted sit-down interviews which allowed the interviewees to really talk a lot more and go into greater depth. In this video, the first part of series of short films entitled Dreamers, the students look at CM (a professional session musician, arranger and producer who also goes by the name of CMgroovy) and Chan Yat-kuen (an artist and retired teacher).They also conducted interviews in the street with passers-by and learned how varied our dreams can be. The video directors decided not to have a long introduction, but to get to the point almost straight away, starting with the interviewees repeating the question (so the viewer knows pretty much what to expect from the very beginning). Here is the main video (the other videos are at the end of the article):

Because the students collected quite a lot of footage, they produced a series of related films: cmestudio.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/dreamers-hk-part-1/

If students are interested in making a Fifty People, One Question video, they can first think of a suitable question. The questions in the orginal videos are quite good as they are a little unusual and would help avoid pre-thought-out ‘canned’ answers.

 

2. Language Challenges and Comparisons

This is a good activity for students to do if they know native speakers of different languages and if they are looking for something with a little more humor. The format is very flexible. In this video, we have native speakers of Italian and Cantonese try out each other’s language:

 

3. The Oral History Approach

The oral history approach was made famous by Studs Terkel, an American historian who interviewed thousands of ordinary people in-depth; he broadcast these interviews over the radio and published them in a collection of books. Often his interviews would have a specific (e.g., Work, Life during the war, etc.). Oral histories help give a voice to people who are often overlooked in textbooks and in media.  A lot of work on oral histories in the US, for example, has focused on Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who participated in the the Braceros Program, in which temporary labourers were imported into America between 1947 and 1964.


A student group producing an oral history video would interview one person or a small group of persons get them to talk as much as possible about their experiences. The focus is usually on the interviewee’s personal experiences and their thoughts and feelings on these experiences rather than their thoughts in more general issues or things they were not directly involved with.  This kind of  project is great in helping young people understand what life was really like during a specific period of time and understand how the world has changed.

Youth oral history projects can also help bring different generations together. Your average teen would rarely if ever have a conversation with an elderly person they weren’t related to. In many of the oral histories I’ve viewed, the interviewees seemed to appreciate the chance to tell their stories to the young interviewers. In the following video, Carey Giudici discusses some of the benefits of cross-generational oral history projects:


Here is an interview that is part of the African American Museum of Iowa’s oral history project, Adult Voices, Children’s Eyes.  In the first part of the interview, two woman recount their bitter experiences with discrimination and segregation and then, in the second part, explain how society has changed for the better, why they think it’s changed and how this change makes them feel.

If students are working on oral history projects, they should think of a question and period of time they would like to focus on (e.g., What was life like for you as a labourer in the Braceros Program?, What was life like for you, as a black person, growing up in America? What was life like for you  in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation?).  Another very important consideration is the scope of the study. How many interviews will each student group conduct? Will the whole class focus on a specific theme or will groups be allowed to choose their own area to focus on?  Will the students only present the interviews or will they integrate what they have found with other sources? The students might find that their interviewees have other interesting things to talk about, but it would be good to start with one area to focus on and a clear idea of the scope of the project.

As the oral history approach has been used for a long time, there are a lot of supporting materials describing the whole process of conduction oral history interviews.  The following website describes this process: dohistory.org/on_your_own/toolkit/oralHistory.html

A detailed downloadable guide is also available from the Smithsonian Institute (this is very useful and it provides samples of release forms and other kinds of documentation like personal information forms):  http://www.folklife.si.edu/resources/pdf/interviewingguide.pdf

The following PowerPoint presentation (in video form) video clip gives a detailed overview of the whole process:

 

This clip, from the University of Leicester, focuses on the technical aspects of the interview (e.g., seating positions, audio recording techniques, cameras angles, lighting, and getting the interview started etc.) and gives examples of good and bad interview techniques:

4. Educational Benefits

The video activities have several benefits:

  • They encourage students to reach out to the community and come into contact with people from all walks of life and/or from different generations.
  • They help students develop their confidence and communication skills as they approach potential interviewees.
  • They let students listen to different views and challenge students to review preconceptions.
  • They give students the chance to develop their interpersonal skills as they work in groups to plan, prepare, shoot, edit and publicize the video.
  • They can give students inspiration for the further development of their own ideas (The activity could be followed up by written work like writing their own answers to their question and posting it on a class bulletin board or using the video of their oral history interviews as part of a larger research project. It could also be followed up by oral work like presenting their video to the class and reflecting on what they learned by doing the project).

The 50 People 1 Question approach also helps students learn how to analyze and use film techniques. The original 50 People 1 Question videos give students a framework to build on, not just in terms of the overall format, but also in terms of the shooting style. The creators of the original series of videos created them in a specific style. The videos feature:

  • Long introductions (the camera just examines some of the interviewees, creating a feeling of suspense)
  • A structure in which tends to start with shorter responses and with more insightful and deeper responses appearing later on in the video
  • The interviewer never being heard or seen
  • People sometimes being interviewed in pairs, so we can sometimes see reactions to comments
  • Some interviewees having their footage being intercut with others, often with some link between the interviews in the content or language)
  • Use of establishing shots to give the viewer an idea of the general environment
  • The use of background music to set a contemplative mood
  • The use of shots of interviewees getting into position and of the camera being positioned and being put into focus along with unfocused
    shots and shots of people people partly out of the frame. These shots give the video a sort of guerrilla film-making shooting-on-the-fly feel that contrasts with the professional-quality clear sound (quite difficult to achieve in a street interview)  and very still and clear images
  • Extensive use of close-ups
  • The use of specific camera techniques like rack focus (i.e., the focus of the camera gradually changes from foreground to background or vice-versa) and shallow depth of field (e.g., the foreground is clear, while the background is blurry).

 

5. Questions to Consider

Using video in assignments comes with all kinds of challenges. You will need to consider the following:

  1. Are the educational benefits the students will get from the activity worth the time required by students to produce the video?
    How much do your students know and what skills do they already possess?
  2. What support do the students require in terms of equipment and learning?
  3. If the assignment is assessed and not for a film course, how will you take into consideration the gap between students who have easy access to equipment and software and those who don’t or the gap between those with some video-making experience and those who are working on their first video project?
  4. How will you handle copyright infringement and how can you get students to respect copyright?
    How will you handle privacy issues?

For any kind of video project, students should formally gain the consent of the interviewees by having them sign release forms (an example is here:  www.smccd.edu/accounts/brenner/lsci110/OralHistoryReleaseForm.html) and personal information forms.


If your students do work on a 50 People 1 Question video or oral history project, let me know. I’d love to see their work.


~by longzijun

education

Return to Education (Projects, Resources & Articles)

 

Three new free background music tracks

Three new free background music tracks have been added to the collection. You can access the whole collection here: Free Background Music Series

You can use these music compositions for any non-commercial projects that you are working on (e.g., video, animation, presentations, etc.). Just provide a credit to: music by longzijun. You can refer to the Terms of Use for more details.

To download an mp3 version, click on the link below the video. 

Background Music 12 – 10:40. 120 bpm, minimalist (piano, syntheszier, drums)

Background Music 11 – 3:00. 80/160 bpm, minimalist (piano, cello, acoustic bass, harp, flute, French horn. clarinet, drums)

Background Music 10 – 3:00. 135 bpm, electronica/pop (synthesizer)

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Homepage

This pages serves as a portfolio of education projects I have worked on as well as my creative work in music, photography and writing.

Featured Video

Holly’s Theme (Background Music No. 37) is a video in the free background music series. This video is a collaborative effort with Kate Kwok (piano arrangement and performance) and dancers from Japan, the USA, the Czech Republic and Georgia.

This blog features:

  • Music: Original compositions; free background music
  • Videos: Travel videos, videos about art, culture and movies
  • Photography: Travel and street photography
  • Writing: Poetry, reviews, Japanese music & blog posts
  • Education Projects: School-related projects, resources and articles
  • AsianVoices: An archived version of a site I used to run featuring poems and stories by young Asian writers

Social Media Links

The WordPress blog serves as my main site, but I also have the following accounts:


I am based in Hong Kong, so I have a Chinese name−龍梓駿—which I use for my web-based work and creative projects as it is more distinctive and easier to search for than my actual name. You can contact me at zijun01@gmail.com

Free Background Music 22: As Long as a Word Remains Unspoken


As Long as a Word Remains Unspoken is the 22nd song in the Free Background Music series.

Tempo: 65 bpm (The tempo is actually 130 bpm, but the feeling is more like 65 bpm.)
Duration: 2:14
Style: New age. This is a very gentle piano instrumental with a slightly East-Asian feel to the melody.

Free Background Music Series

As with the other songs in the Free Background Music Series, this song may be used for free for non-commercial purposes in videos, presentations or other multimedia projects; you only need to provide a credit: music by longzijun. You can also use the music for free in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature). For more information about the terms and conditions regarding using the music (including terms for commercial use), you can refer to the Terms of Use.

Download Links

If you are having downloading problems with the Box.com files, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).

About the Video & Music

The title comes from the quote: “As long as a word remains unspoken, you are its master; once you utter it, you are its slave.” (Solomon Ibn Gabirol ben Judah, an 11th Century poet and philosopher).

The video footage was taken on the hills overlooking Sai Kung in Hong Kong. I used a digital toy camera, a Digital Harinezumi 2, to take the video and then blurred it in After Effects to create a dreamy look.

The song was played on a Korg M50 synthesizer and recorded using Sonar Home Studio.

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Free Background Music 29: Ravenchanter

Ravenchanter is the 29th song in the Free Background Music series.

Tempo: 90 bpm
Duration: 4:04
Style: ambient, new age, chill-out, acoustic (acoustic guitar, bass, piano, drums, percussion and woodwind instruments)

Free Background Music Series

As with the other songs in the Free Background Music Series, this song may be used for free for non-commercial purposes in videos, presentations or other multimedia projects; you only need to provide a credit: music by longzijun. You can also use the music for free in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature). For more information about the terms and conditions regarding using the music (including terms for commercial use), you can refer to the Terms of Use.

Download Links

If you are having downloading problems with the Box.com files, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).

About the Video

This is a mysterious and hypnotic piece that is a combination of folk and ambient music. It has a steady rhythm. It started off with a very simple acoustic guitar accompaniment and I was going for a sound in the style of the country duo The Civil Wars, but as I started adding piano and more ambient elements, it took on a more mystical feel.

The video is made from footage I took of the beaches and shoreline around where I live. The footage was turned into two-tone black and white video using stylize filters like Cartoon and Threshold in Adobe After Effects.

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