'Dumb Waiters'
Lyric Video


Lyric videos have been popular for a while, so I thought I’d have a go at making one myself. The Psychedelic Furs are my favourite band, and Dumb Waiters is one of the first songs I heard from them. 

Some lyric videos are quite plain and focus solely on the lyrics, while others are busy with lots of quick cuts and scene changes. I personally prefer the former and I wanted the lyrics to be the focus, so I began by deciding on the style the lyrics would appear.

I chose to hand write the lyrics line by line so that there was no ‘font’ look to the words. I wrote in a rushed and untidy way so the words looked rough and scribbled (but still legible). I chose this style because I felt it matched the song, which seems to be about someone with a tenuous grip on reality. I then filmed the paper I’d written on in a shaky handheld way so that when the lines appeared on screen, they would look like they were floating around.


I thought a nice background video would be continuous shot along a path, moving forward as the song progresses. This would be an interesting visual companion without distracting from the lyrics.  I chose a place that had a long dirt path with overgrown scenery.

Premiere Pro

I coloured the footage in Premiere. Dumb Waiters was released in 1981 so I wanted to give video an older/worn out look. I decided on a sort of stylised sepia colour for most of the video.

For the parts where there was instrumental music with no vocals, I had psychedelic coloured shapes pop-up in frame, changing the colour of the landscape in sync with the beat. Then later, instead of just shapes, the whole shot changed colour. These choices were inspired by the Dumb Waiters record art work and also the original 1981 music video.

Single cover art, album cover art, and screenshots of the music video

The changing colours displayed a changing reality, which complimented the lyric interpretation that the singer was going insane. The final touch I added to this was to have the footage jump ahead at times, again in sync with the beat, as if the journey along the path had moments of lapsed memory. I found this to be a nice way to break up the footage without distracting from the lyrics, and to avoid overdoing the psychedelic colour changes.

Everything was put together, coloured, and edited in Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro