So I did make a video of Far over Misty Mountains cold, which has become one of the most-seen videos on this burrow. I may have mentioned to some I would put up a post about how the video was made? So here it is!
Getting the song
The kinship I am a member of, the Grand Order of the Lost Mathom, have a lot of talented musicians. We meet regularly-ish for rehearsals and work on special projects. This September, we played a tribute concert for JRR Tolkien, and naturally, finding a good version of Misty Mountains was a high priority.
Like most LOTRO musicians, we convert midi files into the ABC format for use in-game. Sadly, there are precious few good midi versions of this particular song out there. Still, that won’t keep a determined hobbit down.
The only really useful midi I found was over on Larry’s Hobbit Music. With a steady rhythm, this sounded to me like dwarves plodding through snowy mountain terrain, and I found it could suit our purposes well.
However, the midi was a piano version with only two instrument channels, and we wanted at least seven musicians playing, adding layers of instruments to the tune as the end neared. So I started editing. Cutting, pasting and deleting notes in Reaper. In the end, I had a midi I could convert into the ABC format that LOTRO uses, by the help of Firefern’s lovely converter. Imagine the joy when we first played it in-game? I even added bagpipes, an instrument I usually abhor in-game! Even them were grand!
The tune soon became a favourite among our musicians, and it got a solid round of applause during the tribute concert mentioned earlier.
With the ABC file created, I started pondering on making a video out of the tune, by using me trusty FRAPS. Many ideas formed: Perhaps hire me some dwarves to roam around the snow? Enter Thorin’s hall and shoot some video of passers-by? Just slap some screenshots together?
In the end, the ideas were more or less scrapped after a slightly feverish afternoon. Having a cold and a sore throat, I was bored and stuck at home. So I logged into the game, ran into the Misty Mountains and looked for suitable locations to film. And ooh…
When you get to the area around Hrimbarg, you truly see misty mountains. There’s a haze over the countryside. Snow drifts down. The wind howls around you. I turned down all sounds but the ambient effects and started shooting videos. It was late afternoon, soon dusk in-game, which gave that dark, slightly foreboding effect. 30 minutes later, I had some lovely footage.
Still, I wanted something more, perhaps some dwarves? Off to Moria. Nah, too dark and, well, not really in the spirit of the other video clips I had.
But wait, there was a place I had never visited before. The Door to the Clouds? Hmm, interesting.
Ooh… straight into the blizzards howling around Zirakzigil! Just what I needed. And now, the darkness had truly fallen in-game too. Grand!
Of course, just below the door lies the smoldering carcass of the Balrog of Moria, Durin’s Bane. While not the subject of the song, I found it a somewhat good match to incorporate some hazy images of that in the video, not least because of the dread effects this area adds to your video screen. And there was a little dragony thing flapping around there too. Me own little Smaug? Excellent!
After this, I paid a late-night visit to the Redhorn pass as well, for some grand closing footage. Not least from a rather unfortunate incident when I fell off a cliff *blushes*. Still, that made its way into the video in the end too.
Putting it all together
So I converted me ABC file to .wav, loaded all me video clips into Powerdirector 11 and started cutting, splicing and moving things around. I soon found the look I wanted: The sad, misty mountains to begin with, with a slow, steady rhythm to the cuts, then getting a gradually darker and more urgent look to it.
I decided to use the in-game sound for the most part: Those howling winds provided the natural balance to the song. But of course, I couldn’t avoid finding some sound clips on Freesound either, to try boost the finish a little. A few colour corrections were added to some clips, while others were slowed down a little. Still, what you see in the video is 98% straight from Lord of the Rings Online. Even though the game is 5 years old, it can provide a magnificent audiovisual experience.
So what’s next?
Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold is still a favourite. And fevered dreams make fer grand thoughts, because there are many more verses in the poem than I use in the video. Perhaps time to start work on that midi again?
Or perhaps the Song of Durin’s Awakening is worthy of a video?
In the meantime, here’s the Misty Mountains Video again! Full screen + HD quality is the way to go!Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold