How to Make a Dancing Yeti Crab Video with Music

So, I’ve been getting some questions about how one can make their own Yeti-crabs-dance-to-music video. So here’s a quick guide for the interested folk who haven’t played around with audio or video before but want to try it out. So, here’s what I did, step-by-step, in 9 easy steps. All told, this took me, eh, 5 minutes.

(This is for iMovie, and I’ll link to a few tutorials in case you need them. If you’re on a PC, there’s Windows Movie Maker – Dr. Zen has added instructions in the comments.)

Kiwa puravida from video in Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab PLoS ONE, 6 (11)

1) Go and read Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab by Thurber et al. before anything else. You need to get into the yeti-crab mood first. What a fantastic piece!

2) Scroll to the supporting information and download this video. There are two others – one Kiwa puravida harvesting bacteria and another performing some displays. If you want to get adventurous, go with one of those. But really, stick with the original.

3) Open up iMovie. Import the Yeti Crab video as a new event. Then create a new project. Select the whole of the video and drag it into the new project. If you’re going to want to slow it down for a longer audio clip, double click on the video in the project screen to open the clip inspector, and change the speed. 

4) Watch the video a few times. Find the Yeti Crab’s groove thang. If there was a comparable 10 second clip of music that would go with it (or longer, if you want to slow the clip down), what would it be? I was feeling a Calypso vibe. Doctor Zen felt they were doing The Safety Dance. Or maybe they’re clubbing. What do dancing Yeti crabs say to you?

5) Acquire the appropriate music through legal means. I purchased mine in iTunes. Make sure you have it in iTunes, though, for the next step. If your iMovie is older than iMovie ’09, see below before proceeding.

6) Back in iMovie, click on the icon that looks like musical notes. This will open up your sound library – part of which is your iTunes library. Find your new audio clip. Click and drag it onto your movie clip in the project frame. Voila, you have added music to your film. But is it the right part of the song?

7) To sync up your movie with the right section of music that you want, click on the cog on the music track and select Clip Trimmer. Drag the yellow bar at the start of the music to where you want it. The end will auto-adjust. Click done. You may want to trim your video clip or slow it down or speed it up to make sure the music and video sync.

8 ) Now, if you want, futz to your hearts delight. Change where the music starts. Play around with transitions, title screens, whatever. Or don’t.

9) Now upload it to youtube! (You do have a youtube account, right?) There’s a share menu which contains youtube to pipe it right in there. Make sure in the text to include the full citation and that the video was taken by Andrew:

“Thurber, A., Jones, W., & Schnabel, K. (2011). Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab PLoS ONE, 6 (11) for more! Video by Andrew R. Thurber.”

That’s it! Now email me your video and then tweet it (if you’re into that sort of thing!) with the #DancingYetiCrabs hashtag and Dr. Zen will add it to this playlist!

And now that you’ve made your first video in imovie, and seen how easy it is, go forth and make others! There are fewer better ways to communicate your science than video!