Whether you want to spill out your soul or add your own visual scope to your favorite track, making a music video is for you. Decorating sound to your exclusive taste is both pleasurable and satisfactory. With advancements in technology and the refreshed way we see music, creating a music video is the new hobbyist’s favorite. Besides being an awesome hobby, making your own music video is a firm step in the direction of filmmaking. Its a cool way to introduce yourself to your favorite production houses. It proves to be a fun exercise in perseverance and a litmus test for your love towards music and cinematography.
Remember to let loose and think of everything you want your music video to be. Aim to have a consistent theme to play out in your narrative. You may apply as many ideas in your project, but it is wise to execute one idea marvelously than to make a mush out of several conflicting ideas. Several low budget productions have exploded in the pop music landscape in the past five years. They ferociously rival established big banner production houses.
Now that we know what it takes, let’s dive right in to the music making process. Treat this as your one stop guide to making your dream music video.
The process of making a music video is distilled into the following steps:
Choose a premise
Pick a genre and a tone of content that goes with it. You can get creative by mixing up funky content tones with mellow genres. Make sure not to toe the line of tasteful art. The tone should be carried on throughout the production of the video. Creating a storyboard for your ideas would be a step in the right direction. Online story boarding editors make it easier for you to arrange and rearrange your thoughts. Make notes of what you expect to happen in the video and in what order. It is easier to make a video of a subject that you resonate with. Pick a genre or content that aligns with your moral compass.
Opt for a track
You may choose a music track already produced and openly available or can make a track on your own. If the track is available, check if it is a copyright infringement to make a video of it. Steer clear of such tracks. If you would like to make your own track, a writer and a producer should do the trick. You could write the lyrics and get a music producer to set it to tune. Alternately, you could find lyricists online to help you get that perfect feel to your track. Ensure that you stay on top of the production so that you can navigate it along the path you want to.
Arguably the most important step in making a music video, budgeting is an art in itself. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself while drawing up the budget. Keep aside money for all resources like professionals, editing, shooting and location permits. The staff, aids and equipment will take up the lion’s share of the budget. Remember to set aside some money for promotions.
Once you have story boarded the track, you can start thinking of the visuals. Let your imagination run free while choosing the locations. You can look at a stairway and see Cinderalla running away from the royal ball. Take your storyboard with you while scouting for locations. It will keep you on the right track. Do not shy away from making any minor changes to your vision at this stage. Let the locations speak to you about your music video.
Though the idea of the video is your own, you will need other professionals to make it come to life. A typical bare bones staff should include director (most probably yourself), actor, sound man, wardrobe professional, hair and makeup professional and videographer. An editor is another major player that you should not overlook. You may edit the video yourself using open source editing software or hire a professional editor. Make sure that you have explained and brainstormed your vision with everyone involved so that they know their roles clearly.
A shot list essentially is a list of each of the shots that you want in your video. It should be well thought-out and discussed with the crew to keep everyone on the same page. The list is essential to keep you focused on how the final music video should look like. Keep the list classified based on timeline and location to make shooting less time-consuming. You can attach a certain emotion, shape and color to each shot in the list. This will give you pointers when you shoot the video and will keep the video coherent.
The actual shooting of the music video will take a major chunk of the time used in the whole production. Ensure that all the properties you need are placed like you want them and are in frame. Then get the lights pointing at your actor. Get your actor in place after their wardrobe, hair and make-up is done. Make sure that the music is set to play on cue. Pan the camera to the direction which you would like to capture. You can run a couple of rehearsals to get all your ducks in a line. When you are satisfied with the set-up, begin recording the video. You can record the same scene from multiple angles if necessary. If you end up taking more than one take, rest assured knowing that all the directing legends took more than one take for their genius shots.
Research stock videos that relate to the subject you are shooting. Feel free to add these whenever and wherever you want in your music video. But be weary of adding stock videos in distaste. Being a very strong tool of portrayal, these also help you to steer your narrative in the direction you want without additional cost. Use these in the right spirit to elevate your video beyond the scope of your shooting capacity. Do not hesitate to get creative and use stock videos that are not in line with your video, but complementary to it. But don’t think balloons and beaches while shooting a Christmas video.
Ernest Hemingway famously said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” But the opposite is true while making a music video. Shoot sober and edit drunk. Let your imagination run wild when editing the video. Keep a coherent narrative and think outside the box to bring it to life. Refer your shot list and story board to ensure you get your timeline right. Pay attention to the sound settings. Like adjusting the sound setting to vocal for the singing part and to surround during the drum solo. Take enough time to make it look and sound right. Experiment with timing, color and movement.
The release of a music video is directly connected to its success. A weekend release date is almost certain to garner more interest and circulation than when released on a weekday. A video released in the evening is more likely to get traction among its target audience. Be sure to release your video on platforms that are popular and are easily accessible to your audience. You can team up with a production house to handle your distribution for you. Aim to reach the most possible likely viewers than just netizens in general.
Another potent weapon in the music video making process, social media chatter sway the fate of your video. Use it timely and abundantly. You can never talk about your endeavor enough. Reach out and connect to everyone you think would be interested to watch it. In case you are using an already released track, do not hesitate to get in touch with the original track makers. In most cases, they appreciate your effort and involvement in their undertaking. If you have created your own track, research production houses that make music in the same vein as your track. Once you have zeroed on a label, introduce yourself and let them know what you are into. Chances are that they would be interested in your video.
Some tips and tricks
Now that you are all set to make your music video, a few words of caution. Be careful not to chase that one particular shot while shooting. You might overspend your time shooting it and will not have sufficient time to shoot other shots. You should judge the time versus quality trade off from a neutral standpoint. Apply your passion and zeal constructively and judiciously. Over zealous decisions usually do not result in the desired outcome.
Having said that, aim for the stars with your creativity. There are no right and wrong ideas. The vision is yours and own it. Allow yourself to feel your creation in your veins. Allow it to take over you. Its the new high. Welcome to the beautiful space of your new hobby of making music videos!