How to Shoot a Music Video


Plan ahead. Go scout a location. If it has to be low budget, then try looking for spaces that are free to shoot in, like for example public areas where there are little to no people. If you have a little bit of budget you can rent an airbnb, a studio or even pay someone private to use his/her facilities. If you are shooting live, check the sound by clapping or snapping your fingers. Reverb is something you want to avoid unless you are filming a gospel choir. Make sure you have enough electricity for the lights you wanna use at the location. When you are depending on natural light, make sure you visit the location by the same time of day/night you want to shoot. That way, you can see where the sun is and how the light is affecting the scene.



Depending which mood you want to achieve in your video, you need to know which style you wanna go for beforehand. If you want slow motion movements but still want the mouth of the singer to be in synch with the song, then you have to prepare your clips for the shoot. I always speed them up by double the speed, so the band can perform to the clip in double speed while I shoot in 50fps. In Post, I will then slow down the clips by 50% and voilá! The movements a cinematic and the performers are in synch. If you plan shooting playback, I suggest splitting the song in several parts so you have multiple possible on set.



Make sure ALL band members are happy with the concept. Otherwise you will have difficulties maintaining a proper flow in the project. Make a deal of how many feedback loops you are willing to offer before starting to shoot. This is a very crucial point. Also make sure you communicate with only ONE person who represents the whole band. It can be someone from the label or just a band leader.



Most of the music videos are based on a mix between story and performance. Sometimes they are completely seperated and sometimes the artist is integrated into the story. Try to find something unique. Something the world hasn’t seen before. It can have a totally simple story, but is visually interesting or have a strong story that is completely supported by the music. There are so many ways to visually support the music other than the usual artist-story-artist-story concept.



When shooting, make sure you got your crew and performers set and everyone knows their job for the day. If it’s a performance scene, you will need crew members that know how to do proper lighting. When working with color gels or LEDs, make sure you use color contrasts. Don’t forget to bring loud speakers and your prepared soundclips in case you plan to film the performance in playback.



Yes, it would be wise to have model releases of all actors, extras, dancers, performers and everyone who can be seen infront of the camera. Nothing is worse than having to deal with unsuspected troubles after post production.



In my opinion, editing a music video makes out 50% of the creative process. The speed of your cuts, transitioning, or the flow of your video is as important as the content of the video. Try selecting the best of the best performance footage and fill it the more emotional story scenes. Don’t be afraid to leave in blurry footage or dutch angles. This is a music video and it’s a perfect place to work a bit rough. What is important here are the visuals and the story.