Here we lay it all on the line with a comprehensive list of techniques and tricks for people who want to make their own music videos. Reading this hopefully will help to give you a better understanding of how you can approach making a music video yourself.
DIY music video tips, tricks, and techniques
Getting started making a DIY music video
Get help from friends: DIY music videos are no different than any other film project. If you want to do a good job, you’re going to need some help. Enlisting the help of your friends and bandmates early is essential because there is too much work to do on your own. Take stock of what everyone can do and work in some light casting before starting.
Brainstorm: Assuming that you already have a song recorded before you start making a music video your next step will be to brainstorm some ideas. Brainsto.io is a great tool that can help you and a group of friends come up with more quality ideas faster. Don’t skip this phase of the process, because you might be surprised what kind of idea you can come up with. The more themes and imagery that you can collect during this time the better.
Pick a single thread or theme: Once you have collected a good list of themes from your brainstorming process you will need to settle on one. A music video is short form content which basically means you’ll only have time to focus on one theme. Picking a unique thread and following it throughout your video is the best plan. This post from Fstoppers breaks down some of the most creative music video themes in recent times to help get the ideas flowing.
Make a plan: While you don’t necessarily need to have a script for a music video, that’s your song, you should still have a plan. Most of the time you can get away with only using a shot list, like this one from filmsourcing.com, to plan out your shots and movements of characters through scenes.
Don’t over complicate your shots: Take it easy on yourself. It’s important to remember that you’re in control of how and where your shoot takes place, which also means that you get to decide how hard you want to make it on yourself. The more simplistic the shots you plan, the faster and easier the whole process will be.
Storyboarding: Another helpful thing you can do is to storyboard your shots. This is a great way to organize your ideas on paper and get your team on the same page before you get to work. Here is a great post from Hubspot that explains your options when it comes to software.
Pick an interesting location, or a few: Finding locations to film can be tricky, but it’s worth it to have a great place to shoot. The more unique your location the better. A good location can make your video stand out and allow you to make the most out of the artistic potential of your song. Madstudios can be a great help because you can quickly get a rundown of all the places you can film in your area.
Equipment techniques of DIY music videos
Rent a camera online: One of the greatest things about living in the time that we do is the fact that we access to basically anything we need online. This access includes video equipment. Services like Sharegrid and Kitsplit give you the ability to rent high-quality cameras and equipment for a day, meaning you can get the equipment you need at a price you can afford.
Get a cell phone rig: The worst case scenario is that you’ll need to use your smartphone if you can’t find a good camera. Don’t sweat it! As you probably know, cell phone cameras have gotten very good in recent years, and now you can actually get some pretty decent quality films out of them. You can upgrade the usability of your cell phone’s camera by using a camera stabilizer attachment and get even more professional. Check out this article detailing several successful movies that were also shot on a cell phone.
Think about using a drone: You can literally elevate the production quality of any movie you make by using a drone for aerial shots. Drones have come down significantly in price in recent years, and now it’s very affordable to buy or rent one. Drone footage can make any run of the mill video look incredible.
Don’t skimp on wardrobe: Take your time when you’re thinking about how you’re going to dress everyone in your video. Music videos are a space where you’re allowed to be as expressive as you want. Pick a wardrobe that matches your theme and the message that you’re trying to impart to people.
Get sound capture right: If you want to have a stellar music video, you’re going to first need to have a stellar track recorded. A music video is all about the music, and if your song is not high quality, then it won’t matter if your video is. You might want to think about taking the time to record in a professional studio.
Final considerations before you start shooting your video
Call up your local film school for advice and talent: You might be surprised what you can get simply by asking. Local film schools or the film departments of schools are excellent places to start if you’re looking for people who know how to run a camera and won’t ask for too much in return.
Think about renting a cool car: If you have a budget, the second thing you should think about after production equipment is renting a really cool car. Cars have always played a serious role in music videos, and having a cool one can make all the difference in yours. You might not even have to rent one. Consider seeing if somebody you know who has an expensive or interesting car would let you use it. It never hurts to ask.
Don’t forget about what lighting can do: Lighting can change the whole game when it comes to how your music video looks. Take into consideration both natural light and artificial light when planning on how your video will look. A spotlight at night, or filming right before the sunset can make all the difference in a scene.
Use backdrops: There will inevitably need to be some aspect of your video where you, or you and your band, are going to be performing together. A way to make these scenes really pop is through the use of a backdrop. Proper use of a backdrop can make outdoor scenes more interesting and indoor scenes more professional.
Think about the time of day that you are shooting the movie: You should get an early start on the actual day of filming and make sure that you watch for consistency in your lighting between different scenes. Lighting is easy to control if you’re filming inside but becomes more and more difficult to manage as you start to move production outside.
Get post-production right
Take some time to learn about editing: Finding good courses on how to properly edit a video is easier than ever. Sites like Coursera offer free and paid options to get you on track to do a great job video editing. The more of your editing you can do on your own the better. There are many different software types that exist today that make video editing a relatively simple process. Even something simple like windows video maker or blender can do the trick. Try to focus on doing most of your video editing work while you’re actually filming to minimize the amount of time you spend editing.
Back everything up locally: While this is not a total necessity, backing your data up on a local hard drive is a really good idea if you don’t want to lose everything you worked so hard to make.
Upload the video to many different sites: Properly distributing your video is very important. You want to make sure that you’re uploading to sites that are relevant to the people that you’re targeting as well as to more general outlets.
Promote the video: What good is making a music video yourself if nobody gets to see it? Make sure that you promote the video that you made on your social media profiles as well as through email. If you have a website, then featuring your video on your webpage is a must as well.
Your next step is to take these tips a go make an excellent music video. Don’t get intimidated if you have never made a music video before; it’s only as hard as you make it. If you want to make something that has high production quality, then you should be prepared to spend more time and money on it.
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