Video: What is Ableton Live?

Short teaser trailer for music production software, Ableton Live.

What is Ableton Live?
Directed, edited, and produced by Ray Wassef

(Full credits below ‘Final Video’)



I was tasked with updating Ableton’s 2018 ‘What is Live?’ promotional video:

The ‘Before’ Video


As the original video was several years old when this update project began, I decided that my “update” would actually be a rebuild – in other words: the new video should be structured in a way which is easy to update (by myself or possibly someone else) when needed. The 2018 version features single takes and in-shot transitions involving certain details (eg UI) which become outdated sooner than others – so my goals with the new version were:

  1. Build an edit in which it’s easy to switch out individual shots or details whenever needed (eg software updates)
  2. Future-proof the video by incorporating “evergreen” imagery (eg humans making music, shots without software) wherever possible

The process involved:

  • replacing outdated images (eg photography which no longer matched the current branding, previous versions of the UI)
  • shooting and compositing new visuals
  • collaborating with colleagues and contracting artists to produce new music and a new voiceover
  • liaising with various departments, such as design and documentary, to ensure brand and messaging consistency
  • incorporating imagery from official company photoshoots and archival video
  • finding ways to visually represent abstract concepts and the wider ecosphere of the core music production software, including external hardware, devices, and learning resources:

Final video:

What is Ableton Live?
Directed, edited, and produced by Ray Wassef
Voiceover performed and produced by Hannah Smith
Scripted by Michael Kirchberger, David Reid, and Lani Bagley
Music by Jesse Abayomi

Photography by Zoe Noble
Featuring video excerpts produced by Ralf Kleinermanns and Michael Kirchberger
Additional video and photography by Michael Kirchberger and Ray Wassef