Shooting A Music Video

What does a music video do for you?

Every artist is different and a music video is the perfect way to separate yourself from the ever growing and arguably saturated music scene. A music video serves a number of beneficial purposes; it is a very useful platform for your music to be heard through whilst expressing a visual representation of your music. You can display the meaning of your band, the meaning of your song and give record labels and promoters a chance to see how good you are as performers as well as musicians.

Are you ready to shoot a video?

The key to any good music video is preparation, if you do not plan, plan to fail! There are three main areas you need to cover:

# 1 – Initial Ideas: Its important you have a unified initial idea. There is nothing worse from a director’s point of view than being approached by an artist who just says: “How much do you charge for a video?” Details are paramount, you need to consider whether you want your video to be performance or narrative led, if you want a narrative, are there any specific do’s and don’ts for it? You need to have an idea of the location you are after, whether it’s derelict and grotty or sharp and clean looking. What’s your budget overall, and for additional things such as props and locations? It’s also very important to have a track ready for the video; once the director has heard it he can have a much better idea on how bring your song to life.

# 2 – Networking: Now that you have your basic ideas it’s time to find your director or production company to produce your video. It’s important to research who’s around, what they have in their portfolio and what their basic price packages are for your particular specification. There is no point in picking a director or company because they offer a cheaper service; you need to be aware of what they are capable of creating. With the emergence of affordable video equipment there are a lot of music video amateurs out there. Once you’ve found somebody suitable it’s important to stay in regular contact. Like artists each director or production company is different in the way they handle a music video. Maintaining good contact will ensure that you’re up to date with everything involved with the organisation of your project and delivery dates and formats.

# 3 – Performance: You need to know how you want to look and communicate this to the director in advance of the shoot. Thinking it is one thing and doing it is another, so you need to have experience of playing your chosen track (together if you’re a group) and almost acting out how you want to look when performing. For all artists musicianship is important so you also need to be musically tight because if you’re sloppy on the day it will only have a negative impact on the video.

What happens on the day?

If you are performing in the video then brace yourself because this is where it gets bumpy. Filming performance shots for a group can take anywhere between 4 and 10 hours depending on the specification. Over that time you can expect to have played that track anywhere between 15 and 30 times, giving it your all each time. So yeah, it’s quite a hard day for bands – individual artist or smaller groups have it a bit easier. Narrative sections are usually shot on a different day, ensuring that you don’t rush your performance shots so that they can reach their full potential. It’s important to know when your delivery date is, and whether your chosen director or company will allow you to see previews of the clip before launch.

OK, we have a video, now what?

Luckily with the boom of amateur videos we are not short of websites to upload the final product to, so Youtube and Vimeo uploads are a must at some stage. However it goes a lot further than this, if you have labels in mind or potential label interest and you feel your track and video are good enough it may be worth sending some DVD’s out to those guys before you upload it to the internet. Sure, you could just send them a link in an email, but having a press pack including a music video is something very appealing to record labels and it shows that you’re serious about what you do.  There’s nothing a label loves more than to have a band that’s already self-sufficient, and if you have a good video and track which has been produced off your own back then this puts you in with a better chance when searching for a deal. With some labels you can achieve direct access to television channels as well, although it is possible with a bit of searching to find relevant contacts within these channels and forward the video on to them yourself.


So in a nutshell, it’s important to bare in mind the complexities of a video shoot, taking in to mind what you’re prepared to spend and how you can achieve that without compromising the final quality. It’s also important to have a good relationship with the producers, respecting their knowledge and experience when it comes to decision making and advice. The most important thing is to have fun when filming, creating a relaxed environment so that everyone on set can reach their full potential and therefore produce the best video possible.

Check out to see some of the projects I’ve worked on and feel free to drop me a line in the contact section if you’re interested in producing something a bit special.

Creative Junkie Media


About surfacefestival

The Surface Festival is a European live music event. We are a festival of new music held throughout Europe in aid of discovering and promoting new talent. Surface Festival 11, is working in association with Zimbalam, Marshall,, Last.FM, Ashdown, Planet Waves, D'Addario, PMT, Tama, Zildjian, Shure, Univibe, Dominic Nicholls Photography, Guitar Nation, Ibanez, Band SEO, Quite Great P.R., Ritter, Sziget Fest, Jumbocruiser, Gig the Nation and Oxjam to develop alternative ways for band and artists to gain exposure and develop their fan base. 2011 In 2011 events will be held in cities throughout the U.K. and Europe. For band and artists that reach the final stages of the Festival, both Surface Festival and our sponsors will award with prizes and opportunities in excess of £100,000.
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