How to Make a Music Video - Top 10 Tips

Wanting to know how to create an amazing music video? Here are a few tips from us to help you get started

Gabriella Skinner & Maddie Prior
Social Media and Marketing Assitant
April 19, 2021
Music Video, Video, Videography, Music,

A music video is a form of content that combines multiple creative inputs, allowing music artists to connect to their audiences and express a deeper intent behind their music. 


Simply put, the purpose of a music video is to compliment the song and bring a deeper message across to viewers (and sometimes just to have fun).


The initial concepts for a music video needs to be clear from the start. They need to resonate with audiences, but long before the video has been made, the producer will also need to grasp the concept. The concept should be devised in such a way that allows initial ideas to be easily understood, no matter who is watching. 


When a music video is done well, the key message and underlying tone of your music video should be easily brought across.

Here are a ten tips to get you started on your music video journey:

The first 15 seconds

Don’t assume that when people watch a video that they will watch it the whole way through. When shooting a music video think of it like a piece of abstract art rather than a form of a standard video production. Looking at the music industry it is populated by people who like things which are different and musicians who are wanting to succeed in their music career by capturing the audiences' attention with visionary experiences.


Location 


Location is key in any kind of filming not just music videos, location can make all the difference when shooting a video. If you are shooting, think about what looks good around you, also what sort of tone are you looking to create? On a low budget a great location can act as the perfect backdrop and really bring your story to life. Look at where you have access to, as it really can add production value and bring your vision to life. It's often something will remember after watching the video, think The Prodigy's video for Firestarter and that crazy tunnel!

A recent music video location where we filmed

Make a teaser video 


Why not instead of one video, have two? Think of doing a shorter teaser video maybe around 15-30 seconds long to promote and release on your social media before your big debut. Creating a teaser video/trailer can get audience engaged and very excited, and this will mean that they are able to talk about this and to also reshare the trailer onto their accounts for it to get more exposure. For promo videos, you can even add text overlays to promote your big release date/time.

Lighting 


Lighting is key when making any type of video, it can be used to set a mood or tone of the video. Natural lighting can be used during filming, this is perfect for low budget productions but sometimes the sun can be too intense and the lighting can change. ‘Golden hour’ is said to be the best time as the sun is setting therefore the light isn't as harsh, however this is a short shooting window.

If you're not using natural lighting, artificial lighting will be needed. Three point lighting is a good place to start, this is the basic concept of lighting which consists of; key light which is the strongest light in shot, fill light which is a softer light that fills shadows and back or rim lighting which adds depth to your shot. If lights are being used you may have to put into consideration that you might need extra power supplies if you are filming with a large amount of main powered lights, and remember if you're filming outside to try and find / supply power!

Performance is KEY! 


When preparing for a music video shoot, be prepared to perform the song more times then you have ever heard and played it in your life, (and yes the song will be stuck in your head for the next week or two). When performing it, it is easy to feel self conscious on a film set when you’re miming and pretending to play live, you need to have all that fear and self doubt overcome very quickly. What people need to remember is that for a music video it can take multiple outtakes of a song to get a standard 3 minute music video, and you need to give all your energy during each take. 

No matter how great everything looks with camera angles, locations, props, equipment etc, when performing and no matter how great it looks if the performance itself doesn't meet expectations and doesn't have a great energy form, the song itself won’t reach near potential.  

That being said as a performer, you will have a certain stage presence and style, and you will know the best moments when you are performing live yourself. If you are the type of performer who bring that certain stage presence to the video then half the video is already done. Whether it’s a deep emotional connection or a full blown energy, make sure you bring it and be ready to deliver it on repeat. 

Timing 


When thinking of timing you need to have the right time and right platform that you want to showcase your music video. Over the past decade music videos have shifted to online rather than being on TV. When releasing the music video, treat the video like you would an album. Creating a buzz of excitement by teasing people about it on social media. Photos, small snippets of a behind the scenes shoot etc would create this buzz for people to get talking about the release. By doing all of this you will attract a different type of audience you wouldn't necessarily find. 


Style of Video / Edit 


When editing the video footage, you don’t necessarily need the more expensive software! You can do a decent job of editing with inexpensive and free software. A couple of examples we have gathered below are: 

The basic video software for Apple users is iMovie.

For PC users, Adobe's Premiere Elements is a good place to start.

The use of effects can set your video apart. Much of this will depend on the capabilities of the video software you use. If you want to go for the best quality look for a video then look at using professional software such as Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.

A lot of computers should be capable of editing film footage. However, video editing takes up a lot of hard drive space, so make sure to keep your hard drive clean and to bin footages you're not using. It would be worth it to invest in a fast external hard drive to store your video footage which would be a sensible option. 

The output format of the footage will depend on where you want your video to end up. Highly compressed formats are the best for streaming over the internet. These include Quicktime and MP4 which are the most common.

The editing is definitely one of the times where we would recommend going with a production company who can do all of this in house and likely much quicker than trying to edit it yourself.

Props

Once you have an idea of what your visual video idea and story behind  the making of the music video that you are able to achieve you can start to consider what props/accessories you might need for the shoot. Having an organised plan with each scene and the actions within it you will be able to wrist a list of required props. Some of these you will be able to source from friends or even getting things from online stores such as Ebay at a cheap cost. If you are on a higher budget then you will need to consider going to a prop hire companies or even get bespoke items specifically made for the video shoot. 



Equipment 

Before starting the shoot consider a list of equipment you will need to be using. Ask yourself questions like will you need to hire a camera or will you need to have additional cameras and will have enough data cards for the shoot? Depending on the type of location it is dependable on what equipment will be needed so consider this carefully before jumping straight in thinking you will just need all the camera equipment!

Camera Angles 


When creating a music video you want to be creative and experiment with different camera angles. Otherwise your audience interpretation of the music video will be boring for them. Shots which have been strung together with different compositions and camera angles will make your audience members more engaged and creating more of a reaction than just having one camera angle.

By using some of these techniques hopefully it will give you the right structure as to creating your own music video shoot.

If you want to find out more information or are wanting advice on creating your own music video contact us!

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