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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:01 PM   #1
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Shooting Music Video

As a newer member of this forum, I have learned so much in the short amount of time here. I really appreciate your time and effort and DVinfo team for putthing up this medium of communication.

I have another question. A friend of mine asked me to do his first Music Video. He is not expecting much and neither do I as I am building my profile.

It will be mostly a one-man thing for me. I will be doign everything on this side and he (with his band) on the other side.

Now, as I have never done this kind of work before and know next to nothing about it. I'd like to know, when you select different shots for different parts of the song and position the cameras accordingly, do you get the singer to do the whole song in each setting just to have that natural flow or only do that part that the shot is selected for.

Although it is tedius for the artist, but I think it is best if the whole thing is done several time from each angle/setup.

Take into consideration that I know nothing about this line of work and nothing is too basic for me. Thanks for your help.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 05:29 AM   #2
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Definitely do the whole song for each angle. Not only does this give you alot more coverage and back up shots, it makes syncing a piece of cake becasue if you have 20 different takes of the song, then you can syncronise each one up once and then cut back and forth between them, rather than syncing up 200-300 individual clips.

Don't worry about the band having to repeat the song over and over. That's their problem and one they will have to get used to if they want to make it anywhere in the music industry.

For the basic, low budget music videos I've done, I stick to a simple process (this is my so far fail-safe method for super cheap lowest common denominator music videos):

1. Film it from about 10-15 different angles, twice from each angle - first a 'safety shot' where you get the coverage you know you'll need, then once as an 'experimanetal take' where you go crazy, do whip pans, zoom in too close, go in and out of focus, etc etc. Always play along to a CD to make sure they get the timing right.
2. Go back and do the first 3-4 angles again. Chances are they were taking a while to loosen up and you won't be able to use the first few takes becasue they were holding back too much.
3. Tell them it's the last take and they need to go crazy. Tell them to start a brawl, have a food fight, pretend there's an earthquake, throw their instruments around, whatever they want to do or feel like doing.
4. Tell them that was great! So great you want them to do it one more time, but EVEN BIGGER! Really use this to push the artist cuase you might get somthing bizzare or hilarious.
5. By the time you reach this stage you've probably done nearly 40 takes. An average song goes for 3-4 minutes, so when you add in down time betwee takes you've been shooting for about four hours. Go for lunch, have a laugh about it with the artist, ask them what they thought. Ask if they had any other ideas. Tell them if you have any other ideas. Then go back and do 2-3 more takes to wind down and see what else comes out.
6. Capture your footage. Consider transconding or making proxies because you're gonna have alot of material on the timeline and don't want clunky performance
7. Watch through each take and number them from your favorite to least favorite.
8. Drop them all on the timeline one take per track, with your favorite tracks on top and least favorite at the bottom.
9. Syncronise all the takes to your master track of the song. I normally colour correct each take at this stage (rather than colour correcting last) because that way you'll get consistant colour throughout each take. Then bypass all effects for now to increase performance.
10. Play through the song, tapping to the main beat (or the off beat, or main riff, whatever you choose) with the 'split' or 'blade' shortcut key (depending on what editor you use). Alternatively, tap to the beat with the marker key, then use scripting to split clips on all markers. You should end up with 20+ tracks split into several hundred clips per track.
11. Go through the song and, for each segment/beat go down through the layers and find the shot you like most, then delete the ones on top. You may find that at times you use consecutive segments from the same track quite often - this is fine and necassary so you're not always cutting every half a second.
12. Find any drum fills/rolls in the song and repeat steps 10 & 11 but on a micro scale in time with the drum roll.
13. Pick out a few clips and and add some basic effects - maybe give them a vignette, turn some shots black and white, give them a fake-TV effect, add a camera shake on a cymbol crash, nothing too far out but just a few things to mix it up.
14. Either render the clip out and re-import it or nest the sequence in a new timeline. Then create an overall 'look' for the clip - Washed out colours, film-grain, clipped highlights, whatever you choose.
15. Render out and you're done!

This is by no means the 'right' or only way to do things, but if you stick to this method you should get a relatively decent product without too much stress or worrying about crazy concepts/ideas. It may not be innovative or stunning but it will be uniform, easy to excecute and cost-free.

Music videos rate amongst my favorite projects and I wish there was a bigger industry for them here. Remember to keep it simple and you'll find it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #3
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Wow... John.... mate, thanks for taking the time to type all that. Really appreciate it.

I like your workflow. I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind. I still don't have a time for this project.. but once I start my work, I'll probably use this thread as a means to blog my experience.

Thanks a lot, again.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #4
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Great advice above, but note that the band will never perform the same way twice, particularly as the day goes on and they get tired, so you must use a prerecorded track for them to lip sync to. John mentions this in his first point, but I wanted to emphasize it.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #5
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Thanks Adam. That is the plan...
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #6
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Thanks Adam. I probably should've put that in bold or something, because it is a mistake I've seen people make before.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 12:55 AM   #7
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Great post John. And great way to explain a great tried and true method!
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Old May 12th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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I think the wrangler should go with that info and start a "How To Music Video" sticky!
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Old May 13th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #9
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Fantastic post John. Thank you.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 07:34 AM   #10
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Something to consider before you shoot all those takes are the P's.
Piss Poor Prior Planning Prevents Positive Production Performance.

Rather than just editing together a music video from a bunch of takes and see what you get,
My suggestion would be to spend the time to plan out your video before you shoot it.
Sit down and lay out your plan of attack, concept/story for the video, What video will you see at each point during the song, storyboards and shot list, locations, wardrobe, plan this all out in advance. A digital camera can be used for location scouting and story-boarding, and will be helpful with lighting tests.
It may sound like a lot of work, but I can honestly say that it is much easier to shoot/edit a music video, or any production for that matter, if some prior thought has been put into it.

All the Best!
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Old May 16th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #11
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I like your list of P's David, definitely one i'll remember.

And ideally, every video should be made with the planning you describe. However, it all depends on the budget. The only music videos I've done have been local acts with very little money. There's not a huge market for music videos (or any major productions) in my area, and usually bands come to me and say "what can you do for $1000?"

$1000 is worth a few days work but doesn't buy them two weeks of location scouting, storyboarding, wardrobe design and a pyrotechnics set-up. Thats why I've employed the method described above. The final product won't win any awards, but it's always good enough to put on their website, show to record labels, even to be aired on TV if they suddenly make the charts.

While I'm not an advocate of just 'rocking up for a shoot,' I also would not like to say to a band, "sorry, I'm can't help you for that price." So I keep it simple, stick to the formula and give them something which is worth every dollar they spent on it.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Something to consider before you shoot all those takes are the P's.
Piss Poor Prior Planning Prevents Positive Production Performance.

Rather than just editing together a music video from a bunch of takes and see what you get,
My suggestion would be to spend the time to plan out your video before you shoot it.
Sit down and lay out your plan of attack, concept/story for the video, What video will you see at each point during the song, storyboards and shot list, locations, wardrobe, plan this all out in advance. A digital camera can be used for location scouting and story-boarding, and will be helpful with lighting tests.
It may sound like a lot of work, but I can honestly say that it is much easier to shoot/edit a music video, or any production for that matter, if some prior thought has been put into it.

All the Best!
I agree with you. Planning is essential and the more time spent on this aspect of the project, the easier it becomes to produce it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
I like your list of P's David, definitely one i'll remember.

And ideally, every video should be made with the planning you describe. However, it all depends on the budget. The only music videos I've done have been local acts with very little money. There's not a huge market for music videos (or any major productions) in my area, and usually bands come to me and say "what can you do for $1000?"

$1000 is worth a few days work but doesn't buy them two weeks of location scouting, storyboarding, wardrobe design and a pyrotechnics set-up. Thats why I've employed the method described above. The final product won't win any awards, but it's always good enough to put on their website, show to record labels, even to be aired on TV if they suddenly make the charts.

While I'm not an advocate of just 'rocking up for a shoot,' I also would not like to say to a band, "sorry, I'm can't help you for that price." So I keep it simple, stick to the formula and give them something which is worth every dollar they spent on it.
You are right. It is exactly the same here for me. These local bands don't have the money to spend. I don't mind spending a little more than what I get paid for as these are for my own protfolio and gaining some experience.

We still haven't started it. They are being lazy and I am very busy with other stuff so I don't mind waiting for them rather than pushing them.

I really appreciate the comments and tips.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #13
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Hameed, there might be your biggest problem - a lazy band.
Sometimes people think you have a magic wand instead of a camera. I've had bands that didn't want to repeat a set in order to get multiple angles for a "live" music video. If they're not willing to put effort into the project, I dump 'em.
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