The glory days of the music video are still with us, although they don’t have quite the same effect as they did when MTV burst onto the scene in the 1980’s with Duran Duran, the Thriller video and Madonna on a Venetian boat. These days the most popular place for a music video to live is online, in the form of a YouTube clip or built in to the artist’s website. They don’t have the same commercial impact anymore, but they are still superb ways for a band or artist to show off a little, and give a filmmaker an opportunity to make something special.
In the case of small, independent bands, a music video is a good way of getting their message or style across to the casual music fan. For example, when Oasis burst onto the scene in 1994, their music videos were all about the attitude of the band and the fashion. Two massive parts of a bands image and often a unique selling point. What better way to get this across than a three to four minute music video championing their cause.
Bands that have an artistic element to their image often use their music videos to get this point across. Examples over the years have included New Order, Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand. Bands who have a distinct sense of style who also have art school leanings. It can come across as massively pretentious sometimes, but if that’s what you are, you should be honest and true to your band.
Getting Ready to Start Shooting
The low budget music video can be shot on a decent level smartphone just as easily as an ordinary film camera, and in some cases the end product can come out better than on a film camera. Mobile technology has improved significantly and it is now very easy to shoot in quality HD and have a film ready to edit and be posted online in a matter of minutes. If you already own the mobile phone yourself, you could be saving a lot of money that otherwise would have been spent on equipment, including paying hefty deposits for rental of equipment.
Once you have decided on the premise for the video and you have your smartphone charged and ready, the next step is to get filming what you need. It’s important to remember that you may need permission to shoot in certain venues and locations, so be sure to check out as much information as you can. You don’t want to be hit with a fine or be told to take your video offline after putting all that hard work in.
Quality free editing software exists out there, but if you have a budget you can seek out some of the better ones that offer you better special effects and can make your music video look more professional. When it’s edited and ready to showcase, upload the video to YouTube and/or Vimeo and let the music and the images tell your story.
The higher you get up the pecking order, the less likely you are to use a mobile phone to make your music video, but taking advantage of good technology and learning the skills on the cheap will give you the knowledge and experience for when you move on to the big leagues.