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  • Writer's pictureKieran Moreira

Using AI in video: a conversation with creative Relly Moorer



From drafting emails, creating cooking recipes, and building business plans, everyone is trying to figure out how to use AI to make their lives a little easier. Video production has been no exception as so many new AI tools become available.

I first met Relly Moorer in 2022 at NC State University’s DELTA studio on a rare occasion where I was the subject in front of the camera. Since then, I’ve kept up with his work as a content creator. His experimentation with AI on social media caught my attention and I wanted to sit down and chat with him about his background and process.


Kieran:

Relly, thanks for joining me today. If you don't mind, could you please introduce yourself?


Relly:

With my name, I always tell people it's like “jelly,” but it’s “Relly.”


I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina and I went to school at North Greenville University. Long story short, I was initially going to be an engineer. I’m one of those weird people that loves math. I also love buildings. But then, my junior year, my dad bought me one of those USB flip video cameras, if you remember? I started recording stupid stuff with my friends and took it everywhere. That shifted everything for me and then I ended up getting a degree in broadcast media. I graduated in 2014 and moved to Raleigh, because I had some friends that lived in the area.


Kieran:

Can you talk about the journey to your current roles?


Relly:

I initially got a job at ABC11 as a production assistant and was doing that part-time. I also was offered a full-time role at a camp near Boone, North Carolina. I was the creative director. That wasn't officially my title, but that’s what I was doing.


I'm talking, summer camp. It's eight weeks out of the summer and it was me and another guy waking up around 8 am and filming all day until about 4 pm. Then we would go into the editing room, which was just a regular office, to edit a recap video for two hours to show campers at the end of the night. We did that five days in a row, Monday through Friday, for eight weeks. So that was a challenge, but it taught me a lot about myself. It taught me about how to manage a workflow and it pushed me creatively. I came back to Raleigh, partially because I ended up meeting my now-wife. She was also a camp counselor, and she's originally from the Raleigh area.

I had a good relationship with my manager at ABC11 and went back to work there while I was looking to transition into something new. For me, the news is depressing. It's the same format. You can't really do things creatively to a degree. This is when I started posting things on social media and Instagram reels. IGTV wasn't even a thing. I challenged myself to create vlogs 45 days in a row. I learned how to do hyperlapses during that time. I learned all these different techniques, including the need to create content differently than what everybody else does.


Kieran:

And how did you end up doing video work for NC State University?


Relly:

Because of my video work on Instagram, I was contacted by a local food truck owner that wanted to do video content. I ended up going into the freelance world for about two years. Then by chance, I was in the grocery store getting my wife some ice cream when I was recognized by my now-coworker from my work online.


At NC State, I work in a department called DELTA: Digital Education and Learning Technology Applications. It’s more than setting up a camera in the back of the classroom. I’ve done a variety of projects like creating profile videos for professors so they can be more relatable to the students. Back in March, I went up to a ski mountain in Boone and filmed ski content for a class. I got to snowboard, which was great!



Kieran:

It was interesting to hear your background because I think it all informs your current work and style as a content creator. I see you as a gearhead, especially with the tech reviews on your Youtube channel, so it’s cool to hear about your early interest in engineering. Also, with your camp counselor job, you had to work with such speed to put together daily recaps. In looking at your channel, you're very prolific.


At NC State, are you able to interject your personal style into content?


Relly:

The content doesn’t always match, but I try to interject my style and perspective into the team I work with. I’m one of the youngest teammates and I’m tuned to social media trends, which helps in relating to students. I’m drawn to faster content, quicker cuts, and up-to-date music. When you’re working in any team environment, you’re going to have a mesh of different styles. Sometimes people are set in their ways, using older techniques like crossfades, or creating longer video lengths, which I understand. The work at DELTA is certainly more educational.


Kieran:

Your personal work is also very educational. It’s just in a different format for a different audience. The other thing that struck me is your willingness to try different things, which is also similar to the variety of content produced with DELTA. You’re creating tech reviews, skits, and even giving yourself personal challenges.


Relly:

The hard part is figuring out what works and what doesn’t for audiences. It's definitely a process and I have to experiment to determine my style. And that's why people say to pay attention to your analytics. It's a process of learning how to hook people. What I’ve been trying to do is keep the pace of video intros up. Let's take (popular Youtuber) Mr. Beast as an example. I started analyzing his intros and he doesn't have a clip longer than 1.6 seconds on the screen. Every 1.6 seconds, he’s switching to something else. Even if it's just a punch-in or zoom-in, there’s something happening on screen. If you watch the retention rate and you see a drop-off, that might tell you that your audience doesn't care about what’s happening or didn’t like the transition. Sometimes I’m focusing on English grammar and using (or not using) certain words. This can vary between certain viewers depending on their age level and comprehension level. Learning to read what your audience wants is difficult because first, you're learning how to build an audience.


Kieran:

I’m interested to hear about your experience with AI with video production. There are so many tools out there now and I’m curious about the initial lightbulb moment where you realized you could utilize AI in your work.


Relly:

I used ChatGPT like a lot of people did at the beginning and then from there I started using Runway and Kaiber. With Photoshop, I tested the generate fill function with a picture of my wife standing on a trail in Colorado. I wanted to expand the photo and the generative fill expanded it within 10 seconds. I showed it to my wife and we were both blown away. I then came across a video where a guy was making the argument that you don’t need to worry about filming vertically or horizontally anymore- you could use AI to build both versions. I tested this out in Photoshop and came up with a video concept where I expanded the rooms of my office.

Kieran:

I think the first video you created that really caught my attention was the match cutting NC State University Bell Tower video. I'd love to hear how you came up with the concept.


Relly:

I used Kaiber for this video, where you upload your video and type prompts to make changes. I really wanted to experiment with it. I was getting some b-roll of the Bell Tower that day for a NC State project. I had all this footage, so then on my lunch break, I started to brainstorm what I could cook up in the lab. I wanted to give Kaiber a lot of different prompts that were very different from each other. So if you watch that video, I came up with a jungle scene, a dystopian wilderness, a steampunk version, and a cyberpunk Bell Tower.


Kieran:

I love it because you’re taking something so familiar to people in Raleigh and reimaging it. With that video, are you literally going frame by frame in the hyperlapse and manually aligning the AI-generated images?


Relly:

The easiest way to do it is to create your hyperlapse, export that as a video, and then upload it to whatever AI program you want to use. Or if you want to get super technical, you can do each as a photo in Photoshop. Most people don't do that. Photoshop can be a tedious process- like my video of the room expansion. That took a long time, because part of it was just waiting on the images and then finding ones that I was satisfied with.


Kieran:

It’s maybe good for others to hear how much a human is still involved with making AI videos. Someone still has to determine what shots to use, and whether the overall video is working. So it's still very subjective. Now that you've had some time to experiment with different tools, do you see a path where you’ll always use AI in some form in your videos?


Relly:

Yes, especially after watching a recap of the Adobe Max Conference in October. They demoed a product where you could draw around a person and click and drag them within a video. I don't know how in the world it works, but it blows my mind. (Traditionally you would have to film this person on a green screen and then composite them into other footage or tediously rotoscope them out frame by frame.) And so it's only going to get better.

Other tools I’ve used include Topaz Labs’s video AI where you can upscale lower resolution footage to 4K. I use Notion as my main note-taking or organizer that has a bunch of AI features in it. I’ve also used AI audio enhancement tools and tested audio that was recorded in an echoey bathroom and managed to clean it up. I’m not an audio engineer, but the results were pretty amazing.

The key though is people have to be careful with this technology. They can't depend on it to fix all problems.


Kieran:

Yeah, that's a great point. At the end of the day, it’s a tool, not a skill set. You still need great footage or audio to work with.

Kieran:

And what’s next for you? Are there any future goals with your channel or projects you’d like to promote?


Relly:

I think that some people might not say this out loud, but if they're serious about YouTube deep down, they want their channels to drive passive income. Let's be honest. I do want it to be fun first though. It would be great to do the projects that I want to do and experience challenges that I may not have ever experienced before. For example, I use a One Wheel as transportation around town, and wouldn’t it be cool to document riding a One Wheel across the country and get sponsored by X, Y, and Z?


The other aspect is community building. When I was doing the Instagram vlogs, I was building a community and didn't realize it. I learned that people are always watching even if they’re not commenting or interacting. One time, I remember taking a break from posting, and then a week later one of my friends that I hadn't talked to in years said how much he missed my stories. It's weird to say that a 1,000 followers is not a lot in the grand scheme of things. But if you were to have all your followers sitting in the same room, that's a lot of people. I always try to put it in that perspective.


Kieran:

As we wrap up, is there anything else you want to add about AI, content creation, or any words of wisdom?


Relly:

It's easy to get burnt out creating content and I've had to learn to be okay with taking time for myself, especially now that I have a son. You don't have to keep up with every single trend. I'm also a firm believer in just staying true to yourself as far as whatever you post. Lastly, understanding that AI is not gonna take your job and finding ways to use AI as a tool for your benefit.


Kieran:

That's awesome, Relly. Thanks so much for chatting with me.


Check out more of Relly’s work online and give him a follow on social @rellymoorer. How do you use AI with your videos? Comment below to share any tools or tips.



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