Shooting your own music video could save you a lot of money compared with hiring a video production company, and could give you total control over the way you present your art. However, you do need to make sure that your video is still high quality so that people take your music seriously. Below are a few tips for shooting your own music video.
There was a time when only big artists could afford to produce a music video – largely because TV music channels were the only platform and getting a placement on TV required a certain level of recognition. Sites like YouTube have made it much easier for small artists to share music videos with the world. This has led to many musicians taking a DIY approach.
Pick the right song
Musicians traditionally would make music videos for radio-friendly singles, but nowadays this doesn’t have to be the case. You can turn any song into a music video. You can even create new music videos for old singles.
There are a few important factors to consider when choosing a song. Firstly consider the length. A music video for a longer song is going to take more time and money to produce – you may want to choose a song that’s less than four minutes for this reason. You also want to be able to easily capture the theme and energy of the song – if you’re singing about New York and you don’t currently live there, consider whether you can realistically afford to fly out there for a video shoot.
Invest in the right gear
Investing in some gear could be necessary. On top of things like props and clothing, you need to consider which camera you’ll be using and whether any lighting will be necessary. It’s possible that you may be able to hire this. Alternatively, if you have a few future music videos planned, you may want to buy some equipment.
A decent video camera doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – you can find lists of the best budget video cameras online. It’s worth looking into things like the frame rate and ISO range to figure out how good a camera is. Most modern cameras can now shoot in ultra HD.
Can you shoot a music video on a smartphone camera? Yes, it’s possible – in fact, big artists like Lady Gaga have done just that. However, you’ll still want to invest in some lighting and possibly a tripod and gimbal for steadying your shots.
If you really want to make your music video look expensive on a budget, you could consider using a drone. These flying robots can take recordings from the air which were previously only possible by hiring out a helicopter. You can shop now for drones online. Read reviews to find good quality drones on a budget. Hiring a drone could be an option.
Familiarise yourself with video editing
On top of having the right recording equipment, you also need the right editing software to help piece your video together. It’s worth familiarising yourself with video editing tools before shooting your first video. There are cheap and free video editing programs out there that you can download – spend some time playing with the features and watch tutorials to better understand how to edit a video well.
Find the right location
Finding the right location is very important. When creating your own video on a budget, you ideally want to use a single location for all your filming and you want to make sure that it’s not too expensive to use. Renting out a luxury villa or a yacht might be a bit too much of a stretch – instead consider whether you can shoot a music video on a beach or somewhere with a glamorous view. Take advantage of any free locations you can think of when shooting your video such as a local forest or an abandoned building that hasn’t been closed off. You may even know people that can get you free or cheap access to certain places.
Create a storyboard
Try to visualize how you’d like your music video to look before you shoot it. It could even be worth drawing out a storyboard so that you know exactly how you’d like to frame each scene. This is likely to create much better results than trying to improvise your video.
Aim to include a range of different shots. Listen to the song as you’re storyboarding and aim to match the pace of the music.
If you’re a solo musician, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to shoot a whole video by yourself. Recruit some friends to help with aspects such as camerawork and lighting. Your friends may also be able to help when setting up props.
Consider whether any of your friends have videography experience – they could be a valuable asset when shooting your video. You should also consider friends that may be able to do your hair or makeup or friends that may have experience with graphic design for helping with aspects like animation and text graphics.
Record multiple takes
It’s worth recording multiple takes of each scene. Even if you’re happy with a take, it’s worth recording another one just in case. This gives you more material to choose from when it comes to editing your music video. You don’t want to get to the editing stage only to realise that you’re not happy with a take without any backup footage to fall back on.
Take inspiration from other videos
You can learn a lot about how to frame shots and how to use effects by closely watching other music videos. Don’t try to imitate these videos scene-by-scene, but do consider borrowing small ideas. This will help you to create a music video that looks professional and high quality.
You may also be able to take inspiration from other video media such as movies or TV shows. This could even include satirizing or paying homage to a movie to fit in with the theme of the song.