Music video production, like most other artistic projects, can be a very challenging and demanding process. However, it can also be a very thrilling and exhilarating experience.
The majority of the emotions you end up feeling when making a music video depends entirely on your preparation and experience. However, don’t get discouraged if you’re just starting out in music video production. The point of this post is to help aspiring creatives new to the game learn how to properly make a music video — so that down the road, you aren’t stressing and pulling your hair out.
And don’t worry — you don’t need millions of dollars and a well-known production company behind your project. You can do it yourself and with whatever budget you’re working with it. So don’t let money get in the way of your production, especially if you’re a beginner.
Just like filmmaking, it’s important to break down music video production into three phases — pre-production, production, and post-production. Below, you’ll find a more in-depth explanation of each phase and how it can make your life much easier when making a music video.
Pre-production planning is abundantly important whether you’re involved in a low budget music video production or a high one — it doesn’t matter. It ultimately determines the type of experience you’ll have during actual production, as well as what your finished product will end up looking like.
Like we mentioned before, you don’t want to be stressing and pulling your hair out when filming a music video. The goal is to spend less time-solving problems and encountering issues during the shoot. Doing this will make you appear less professional for one thing, and it will also take away valuable time gathering all the shots you’ll need, as well as getting great performances from the artists.
Come Up With An Idea
Coming up with an idea for a music video isn’t easy. When pondering on potential ideas, it’s important to think about the image and brand of whoever you’re making the music video for. What does the artist like and dislike? What genre of music is it? Does the artist have a specific style or look for the music video in mind?
You should communicate with the artist and ask if they have any ideas for the music video, and if they do, make sure to incorporate it into the video. At the end of the day, the video you’re making is for the artist — not you.
Looking For Music Video Ideas? Read Our Blog For More Info!
One of the first things you should do when planning out your shoot is figuring out your budget. By coming up with a budget, you’re essentially listing everything you’ll need to make the video — such as equipment needed, locations, actors/extras, etc. This will not only give you a good idea of how much money you’ll need, but it will give you an overview of everything you’ll need to make the video so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
For planning out the equipment needed for your video — such as the camera — simply get the best camera you can afford with the budget you’re working with. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry about not having the best camera in the industry to shoot with. The camera itself isn’t what makes a great music video — it’s how you use it. There are plenty of affordable and entry-level cameras out there for you to use that can still provide you with the high-quality image you’re looking for.
This also goes for any other equipment you may need for production — such as lights, tripods, camera stabilizers, microphones, etc. You may not need all these things if you’re working with a lower budget, but if you do, get the best quality equipment that you can afford.
When coming up with your budget, you’ll want to also look into specific locations you have in mind for the video. Do you plan on shooting it in your backyard? Inside a building? Somewhere public? Will you need to travel to get to your locations?
Locations are an important aspect of your video, so you need to make sure you plan it out. If you’re interested in shooting your video in a specific building offered to the public, you may need to rent the place out. If it’s somewhere that requires a bit of traveling, you should account for travel costs and the needs of your production team.
You may find yourself having to pull a bit of money out of your pocket, but this is typical when you’re just starting out. That’s why it may be a good idea to shoot your video in locations that are free, but be creative with it.
Your goal should be building a solid portfolio of work in the beginning so that when you have enough experience, you can start working on higher budget productions.
Plan The Shoot
Planning the shoot is absolutely vital for your productions. You don’t want to waste countless hours of your time, and especially the artists and crew’s time, on set figuring out how to shoot the music video. It’s best not to go in running and gunning, but rather, go in with a well thought out plan.
One of the ways you can avoid stumbling into problems and wasting your time is by constructing a shot list and a storyboard. This will give you and your production team an idea of what you want to shoot and how it will look before you get to your location.
When you make a storyboard, you’ll draw out each shot and write a description underneath of it describing the shot. This is a great way to get a better grasp of how your video will look and it will save you a ton of time at the end.
Another thing you can do is plan out a shooting schedule that contains specific equipment, actors/actresses, locations, and time slots needed for each day. This will make your shoot much more efficient and organized. You will have a better idea of what you’re going to be shooting each day and with the specific actors and equipment needed for those scenes.
When you’re finished with everything involved in pre-production, it’s time to shoot the music video. When you show up to the first day of the shoot, you should be walking in well prepared and confident with how your shoot will go.
Make sure you stay focused and on track throughout your shoot. You should have your shot list ready with all the equipment and personnel needed for the shoot. If your job is to direct the music video, you should make sure the shoot is executed as efficiently as possible with very few setbacks.
When you’re working with the artist on set, it’s important that you’re able to bring out the best performances in them. In order to do this, you should playback the artist’s music while filming the video so they’re not just singing into a camera without any actual music playing.
Bring a portable speaker so that you can play the song while the artist is performing. This will allow them to actually hear the song and really get into it.
Make sure to account for time. Gathering the right shots and takes can take a lot of time, so it would be a good idea to shoot early in the day if one of your locations takes place outside in the sun. You don’t want to run into trouble when the sun goes down and you’re still in need of several shots.
Also, make sure to get as many shots and takes as you can. This will help you out a lot in post when you’re piecing together the music video. It’s better to have a large variety of different shots, angles, and performances from your artists in order to give you more options and ideas when editing.
Music Video Production Can Make You A Better Filmmaker
When you’re finished filming your music video, it’s now time to edit it. But before you get into editing your video, you’re going to need video editing software. The most used software out there for editing videos of all types is Adobe Premiere Pro. It has all the features and tools needed for editing your video.
If you’re the director for the music video and you have an editor to work on the video, make sure you sit down with them and discuss the edits you want to make. If you’re editing the video yourself, make sure you take into account the pacing and flow of the video.
Integrate your edits with the music so that the video flows well with the rhythm and style of music. Figure out what specific effects, if any at all, will go well with your video. What you should avoid doing is throwing in every effect you can think of in order to showcase your impeccable editing capabilities. Effects don’t make a music video, so don’t stress this too much.
The underlying goal of pre-production is to allow production to run smoothly so that when you’re in post, you have great footage to work with. The music video starts with planning, so it’s crucial that you take it seriously and really think about what your idea is, what you’ll need, who you’ll need, and where and when you’re going to shoot the project.
Try to be creative and think outside of the box. This is what will set you apart from your competition. And you don’t need a Hollywood blockbuster budget to be creative. With all the new affordable equipment, software, and resources given to you today, you should be more than capable of making a music video.
Stay tuned for more tips on how to produce your music videos. In the meantime, check out our new music video funding competition for the opportunity to receive up to $10,000 to direct the music video for Mike Vermeil’s song “Whit Talk.”