5 Useful Tips for Shooting Music Videos

With the advent of streaming services like Spotify, endless satellite radio stations and even iTunes, you’d think music videos were on their way out. Even MTV doesn’t show them anymore! But while this is a common assumption, surprisingly, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Music videos are actually still hugely popular. Though most are viewed on websites like YouTube and Vevo nowadays, rather than a traditional TV screen, they still garner artists millions of views and thousands of new fans daily.

In fact, a great music video is still a crucial piece of the promotion process for an artist. Any band, singer or group that wants to get the word out about their newest song or album can benefit hugely from a music video. It can help them draw in new fans, expand their reach to other countries, and even get recording contracts and deals. We’ve helped with music video production for quite a few artists over the years, and in that time, we’ve picked up on a few habits that can really make a project successful. Are you shooting a music video for your band or an artist you know? These tips can help:

  1. Have a script and a storyboard.Even if your concept isn’t story-based, you still need a detailed script and storyboard that outlines what’s happening in each shot, what the artist is doing, and what that part of the video is trying to convey. Going off the cuff and flying by the seat of your pants just won’t cut it, and your video will end up suffering because of it. You’ll also make it extremely hard on your editor, who won’t have a clear idea of what their goal is with the footage.
  2. Get the highest quality recording you can. Even if your video is simply a performance or concert footage, you want to avoid using live audio at all costs – it only sounds muddled and fuzzy. When it comes to music video production, your ultimate goal is to make the artist look good. To do this, you need to have the professionally recorded version of the song whenever possible. If you’re working with an unknown (and there is no recording), make sure you’re using an external mic. The on-camera mic just won’t do the trick.
  3. Capture plenty of B-roll. You never know what gaps your editor may need to fill, so give them plenty to work with. Get shots of the band or artist playing a concert, interacting with friends backstage, signing autographs, or even just sitting in their room writing songs. These could help fill a crucial hole in editing, and give you a more complete, professional-looking video overall.
  4. Set (and check out) all your locations. Don’t just say “in an alleyway in Dallas” or “at a bar in Austin.” Determine which alleyway and which bar you’re going to use. For one, you may need to get prior approval before arriving, and two, you’ll want to capture photos of the sites. This will help you plan out lighting and staging, and it can ensure each location flows well with the story and feel of your video.
  5. Let the song guide you. When in doubt, refer back to the song. The lyrics should help you create a solid storyline for your video, and the structure of the song should help you figure out the timing of it all. Are there two verses, a bridge, a verse and then it’s over? Then make sure you’re winding your story down by the bridge, and give yourself enough time to wrap it all up. This kind of forethought can also make it easier on your editor, too.

Like any type of film production, making a music video is truly an art. You need a little bit of technical know-how, a great editor and, most importantly, a lot of creativity. Want to learn more about music video production or need a video produced for a band or artist you know? Contact Liberal Media Films today.

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