How to Shoot a Music Video With Your Phone | Victor Varnado | Skillshare

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How to Shoot a Music Video With Your Phone

teacher avatar Victor Varnado, I teach artsy things

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. INTRODUCTION: How To Shoot a Music Video with Your Phone

    • 2. PRE-PRODUCTION: Script and Story

    • 3. PRE-PRODUCTION: Use Available Resources

    • 4. PRODUCTION: Directing Tips

    • 5. PRODUCTION: Shooting Tiips

    • 6. POST PRODUCTION: Editing Tips

    • 7. PRODUCTION: Shooting Behind The Scenes

    • 8. The Solitaire Music Video

    • 9. Final Words

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About This Class

Whether you have a small band with your friends or you want to make something with impact to become the latest viral video on youtube, what better way to make the magic happen than with the tools you have available?

This class will show you how to plan, shoot, and edit your very own music video. We shot a music video in only 3 hours using these techniques.

A filmmaker and producer who has directed for Warner Brothers, Comedy Central, Tru TV and had the premiere of one of his films at the prestigious South by Southwest Film Festival

Meet Your Teacher

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Victor Varnado

I teach artsy things


Victor Varnado is a producer, filmmaker, comedian, writer, and cartoonist. Victor’s work as a series creator has generated iconic firsts and cult hits like Comedy Central’s “The Awkward Comedy Show” a comedy concert film that helped introduce the world to Eric Andre and Hannibal Buress. Also, “Realm of LARP” a documentary series distributed by Nerdist continues to be one of the most beloved productions delving into the world of live-action role-playing. Cartoons created by Victor have appeared in The New Yorker and MAD Magazine.

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1. INTRODUCTION: How To Shoot a Music Video with Your Phone: Hi, This is victim or not On. This is how to shoot a music video with your cell phone. I am a producer. I live on work in New York, produced for like, VH one Tru TV Comedy Central. But in my spare time, what I like to do is make stuff for free. Sometimes that means shooting stuff with your cell phone so that we're gonna talk about today. Steven Soderbergh just shot an entire movie on a cell phone. It's a movie called Insane, All shot on a cell phone. And right now, there's also app where you can get a more cinematic look out of your cell phone. So why not shoot something on your cell phone and walk away happy? What we're gonna do is we're going Teoh, talk about, like how to plan a music video how to use available resource is so you don't have to spend any money on Then also, we're gonna talk about how to shoot a music video. Also, there be a complete behind the scenes to show you how we shot a music video in three hours . I hope you're about tutorials because I am. I'm going to to your Orioles, right 2. PRE-PRODUCTION: Script and Story: Let's talk about, uh, picking a song. I like to pick things that kind of match my personality for my personal work. I have a lot of happy side got a dark side. You guys don't have to see it. We've just met. I try to pick songs that appealed to me when I know I'm gonna working on something for little or no money from the mind. His name is Anthony Cap, for he's a musician and a comedian. He actually has this kind of like spoken word song that he had called Solitaire, that I wanted to make a music video for it. So I approached him and I was like, Hey, dude, let's make a video the way that I planned A music video is first of all, I usually get the lyrics and I take the lyrics and I write them all down on a table in like Google docks or something like that. Then I take the lyrics and I split them up between cells in the Google doc so that I have one side where it's like this is what's going on lyrically in the song. Once that's done, then I start thinking about the story of the music video. I've seen plenty music videos that are just people jumping up and down on shaking all of our favorite parts. I like to make music videos with a little bit of the story, like I did a music video for a friend of mine called Furtado Swag, where he's rapper and he's talking about how he makes the best for Taha's his Furtado's air so good that he'll still your girlfriend for that music video created this story where this guy is at a party and he's making a for Tada for this other guy's girlfriend. The other guy is not cool with the girlfriend because he didn't make a for Tadaa and said he made a quiche, which is not as good a Zafer Tada and Fontana swag. I told the story in Solitaire. I want to tell a little bit of the story. The story of Solitaire is about the guy who was alone in his home. He's been playing solitaire so much, that's the only thing he has to do. Side note. It's also the apocalypse. OK, there's nobody else on the planet but this guy, okay? And he starts to hallucinate. He's gathered his toys around him as his friends like the guys freaking out. That's what Solitary is about. It's about another lonely day in the apocalypse. Thank you. I'll take my Oscar now. Once I know what the story is, I begin adding elements into my scripts. What I like Teoh on a low budget project is I describe shots rather than do storyboards for shots. However, I find storyboards useful on low budget projects, especially when I'm trying t o tell a quick story with the specific sequence of images. Then I can plan that out with my storyboard, and I don't have to try and do that on the fly. Some directors could do that and fly, and that's awesome for you directors. You've got a beautiful mind they made a movie about. In this case, there's a shot where one Anthony is talking to another Anthony. I put a note in the script, so I knew what part of the shot I needed Teoh have before the camera was moved. And what part of the shot was after the camera was moved. Quick tips in a storyboard. Sometimes you can use one image to describe more than one shot. Here you can see I illustrate the shop before the pan, The shot after the pan and the two shot that follows your assignment is to finish your script. One column is for lyrics. One column is for visuals either description for storyboards on one column is for numbers just so that later it's easy to refer to changes like I need a change in line eight. Do storyboards if you need to visualize like that, if you don't need to visualize like that, maybe don't do those storyboards, but that's the way I do it. 3. PRE-PRODUCTION: Use Available Resources: one of the best ways to make your music video looked like it cost money when you've got no money is to lift. The resource is that you can use for free now for the music videos that I talked about earlier for Todd a swag. We had a couple of things that were free, like one. We shot it in my house. Also, Solitaire is going to be shocked. In my house for potato swag, I had a friend who could jungle. The song was about Furtado's, which have eggs. I was like, Hey, will you come in and juggle eggs? And she was like, Yeah, I'll come juggle eggs for you. That's the type of friend she is. She'll tuggle slim eggs for solitaire. I I went literal. At first I made sure we had a cards so that are stark and play solitaire. Hey, actually didn't know how to deal solider. We had to teach him how to deal solitaire for the music video. A grown man never played solitaire. Wow, I had a scooter. I think there are a couple hoverboards recalled Hoverboards. They're called hoverboards, All right. I use it for cheap dolly shots. We had an index card, which the robot was holding in the original story board, although they're drawn, is bunnies. But we didn't want to spend any money and go out to get a bunch bunnies. So we just scrounged all the toys that we had. Ah, and those toys are in the solitaire music video. The only other prop was Anthony's guitar, which he owned also his wardrobe with his own clothes, although he did cheat and pay $8 at a discount store for a dress. So just list those resource that you get for free. And then when you start planning your story and your shots, you can use those. Resource is to make your video seem like there was more to it. Then maybe there is. 4. PRODUCTION: Directing Tips: be a good director. Now I can tell you how to be a good director 100% but I can tell you two things that I think are important to be a good director. Okay, Number one, I think it's important to be considerate as much as you can of everyone around you. When you're directing on something low budget plan your days tight so that people's time is not wasted. Don't waste people's time. Plan your shots out. Uh, chronologically, as in what shot you're going to do with when I'm working on something small, I pay the most attention to the difficulty of a shot. So I tried to do anything that is going to be very hard to do. First on, then this stuff that is the least heart to do last. For instance, in the Furtado swag video, there is a lot of shots that were crowd like an entire party dancing. My first consideration is shots that are technically hard, a second consideration of the shots that are hard for the performers, for instance, like if a performer has a close up, then I try to give them a chance to run through the material in a wide shot on. Then do the close up last. So I give him a chance. Like, warm up and get, uh, ready for the close up. Your Simon for this lesson is to reorder your shot list to make it easier for you to shoot . Also list all the props you need for each shot. Once the props are all listed and the shots are all written down in the order that they need to be shot, I think you're ready to start shooting. 5. PRODUCTION: Shooting Tiips: Let's talk about cinematography with the With the phone I used filmic pro. It's an app that you can get for I think Android and Apple phones. I have an android phone, and it gives you more professional controls for your phone. This has been used to make movies. I think it's like less than 15 bucks could maybe 14 99. Please donate me 14 99 when you get to the APP store, but you can do everything that we're doing in his video with only your regular APS. On most phones, you can shoot a time lapse with your phone. You can shoot in slow motion with many phones you can shoot and four K with many phones. When you're shooting with cell phone, I think stabilization is really important. If you hold your cell phone with bare hands, it's going to shake. You have a heart beat. The way to remedy that is to move your hands away from your phone. I have a little rig that I use when I shoot with a cell phone. I use a cellphone tripod adapter so that I can take my phone and stick it on top of ah tripod. I actually have a selfie stick that has an extending neck that has legs on the bottom and has a tripod adapter on the top. So that's actually a great thing to use a stabilizer as well. If you don't have a stabilizer, touch your phone. Go ahead, make a shaky cam video. It's great when I'm using a cellphone. One thing that I do is I only put in the frame. What I think needs to be in the frame to tell that specific story. If you notice in solitaire, you see the wide shot of the room like only twice. Really, because most of the story is told in close ups and in interaction with people from waist high not a lot of wide shots necessary, except to establish at the beginning. Then you see it again at the end, confirming, Yes, you're still in the same kitchen living room combined area When using the zoom on your cell phone. Some cell phones have an optical zoom, and some cell phones have a digital zoom. Some cell phones have a combination of both when you're zooming optically totally fine. When you zoom digitally, your picture looks worse. the closer that you get and there will the artifact ing there will be grain that will be blocking us. I also used these lenses that you can get online. I didn't actually like the image of Lindsay's I got. I got the cheap ones cheap ones not do the trick. But there are still a couple of shots in the music video solitaire that I think are pretty fun for this music video. We only use practical life. We use lamp use, the lights that were in the house, we moved the lamp around. But everything else is just practical lighting that, uh, lamb way just like that lamp and make sure. And Jennifer, I'm gonna make sure it's plugged in and on over here. One trick I do with my phone was used myself to stick in the Bluetooth controller in my selfie stick. I set up my phone, I aimed the camera, and I was able to use the selfie stick as a trigger for the phone so that the phone stayed completely still so I could do stop motion animation in the middle of the music video as I started to do the stop motion animation I said to myself, Why did I write this into the music video? Because it was a lot more work that I wanted to dio. But still, it just goes to show you you could do a lot of interesting things with a cell phone. 6. POST PRODUCTION: Editing Tips: this class is not specifically about editing every music video. I'm not gonna take you. Everything about editing in this class is not how to edit in premiere class. What I will do is I will go through this entire headed of solitaire and we'll talk about what I did and why every music video is going to be different. But let's talk about why choices were made in this particular music video. Okay, let's start from the top. Here we go. Solitaire. Are you ready? I think you are. Here it comes. This is just basically simple block lettering done in Adobe premiere. And then I got some royalty free footage of rain. Some people post royalty free footage on YouTube that you can download, and they say that this is for free use and can use it in projects that a commercial or noncommercial s. So I went and found one of those. I downloaded it, and so that's where the rain came from. Just a quick note. You confined footage and mark for free use on YouTube by using YouTube search tools. Anthony Cap for is his name. I wanted him to be happy with that, Uh, you know he's the star. Put the stars named big in the vehicle. They're happy. Okay, so this is one of the shots that was actually done with the lens kits. It's not as clear as I would like it to be. I do like the wide angle appeal of it. I think I'm just trying to explain why. It's not a tax sharp picture, but it turned out pretty good, shouted with slow motion on the camera. Theo shot you just saw was me riding on the hoverboard that my sister sent me. I rode the hoverboard on, and then I used warp stabilizer within Adobe Premiere to stabilize the shot even Mawr afterwards. So road, the hoverboard came up to Anthony, who was looking expressionless, And you guys, this is after I told him loose enough. This is a shot I actually tried to do in time lapse. At first I was trying to use the time lapse. It was called hyper lapse on my phone. It did not work. It would skip too many frames ahead like it wouldn't do a uniform time lapse. I think it was because I was running to the apse on the phone at the same time. Rather than figure that out, I just ran regular video. And then I was like, Okay, let's just take this regular video and speeded up later. Oh, I should also mention that you can see here that Anthony is wearing a dress now. Important thing to note is that, uh, I said to Anthony, Hey, since you've got long hair and this is the videos, the selectivity is just you by yourself. How about you play the part of like the the rock n roll dancer in the music video? Because, like a lot of music videos, they have like a hot girl who's gonna, like be rock n roll dancing. Uh and then then Anthony said to me, Should I wear a dress? I said, Yes, you should wear a dress. Why? Because I didn't care. So I said, Yes, you should wear dress Just was absolutely unnecessary. There he is, in a dress in the music video because, he asked, you could hear that laughing because Anthony is also my friend and he's working the camera right now. So he's laughing because he's just discovering that there was no need for the dress the entire time. The other night I was playing solitaire with six. This isn't a storyboard. This is actually one that I drew out, although they are not rabbits like I drew them, that's what I envisioned. I wanted stuff, rabbits. It works on the fly. I added the reversal shot because I realized I hadn't established who the best friends were for this stop motion sequence. The resolution of the images I shot with the phone is much higher than what the timeline resolution is, which is regular HD with a little chopped off on the top and bottom toe. Give it a widescreen look. Eso What I ended up doing was I built key frames into the sequence so that it looks like the camera zooming in and out without losing resolution. So that's why it looks like sort of hand held and stop motion. But with myself, this is a fun shot because it is actually a whip pan, plus a cloning technique, which is using a mask too masked the transition from one shot to another with an identical background. So if you look here in the shadow on the wall is where there is an actual cut in the shadow on the wall. So I timed this with the camera where I whipped from left to right with the camera a same time in the song on each take with the different Anthony's to make this one shot happen, just a regular split screen being pretty. This was just playing up the story that I already started arguing with myself. I ran the opening sequence some of the footage from that in reverse, just to show that we're coming to a close on the story and that Anthony is going to begin again in his madness. That's also the Dalai stock made on the hoverboard, but now it is run backwards. I didn't dolly backwards. I would have been amazing. We tried it at the end. I hit the wall. My name is Victor Granado featured prominently and all my joints. I don't know. I would explain why I'm proud of this last section. I just like cutting the text in time to the music. I think it really worked when I'm editing one of these projects. All my choices are about trying to serve the story as best I can, so it just makes sense that every single music video that you might make out there is definitely going to be different in the editing room. 7. PRODUCTION: Shooting Behind The Scenes: This is the behind the scenes of the entire shooting process. We'll try to do as much as we can in chronological order, except for those shots where it just doesn't make any sense. And so first we're going to do doesn't cart, and I'm going to get some. I'm gonna get a set up so that I can I'm gonna get a set up so I can put Thea the phone on a, uh, unlike a, uh, great. A stabilizer. All right, so you can set up their unless could get a stabilizer. How's it going? If you want to put your coat, Jennifer, you can put your coat over here. All right? This is a way too big of a stabilizer for this phone, but you could use a different kind stabilizer. Any kind you want to. This is a giant one. Okay, so the first shot is going to be, like coming in, coming in here. We're gonna be coming in here. I'm gonna be writing this hoverboard and, uh and then I'm going to do a, uh, like, kind of like a dolly shot. So I will be back here, and then we'll do this by the way. By the way, I just want to say I don't ever ride this hoverboard outside. It is an embarrassing piece of equipment, but I can use it. I can use it for, uh, doing Dolly shots. So the first shot they were going to dio woop What? Sorry. First shot that we're going to Dio is going to be coming in from here. That we're going Teoh be dahling like this and getting you right here. Okay? No, you're not. You're not going to be setting up your car. Two cards, they're separate shot later, and we're gonna do that. Were you just sitting? And then when I get up to you're gonna slam the cards on the table? Yeah, like here. They like you're about Oh, you're about to set up the car, so it's like a It's kind of like you're starting where they come from. Out of your cartoon pocket. Of course. Uh, you haven't below the table. Okay. Okay, So this needs to be cleared off. So either. So she's gonna do that. So we can So you can? Yeah. We just indicative this space you can actually like, find a place to set him on the floor or just as long as like, this space is cleared. It looks like you can shoot over here. I don't know if there's a problem. Look at me. Okay, so I'm gonna come in, I'm gonna come in, And then when I I'll do this. And when it panned down, you put the car death. So, like, try that right now. Okay? So I'm gonna get a panda. You grab the cards at your hands, and I'm the shot. Okay? Ready? And go exactly. Exactly right. And remove your hands from quickly like that. So let's try one more time just so you can have it. Okay, Ready? And go. Excellent. That's great. Uh, we also need to clear this crap off the table. These Ah, you gonna have to That Jennifer will do that. You could put you can put that maybe underneath one of these chairs over here so we can see that we're gonna try this shot. We're gonna try the shot, and I'll talk you through things too. So basically, you're gonna look despondent. Yeah, you're gonna look despondent, and then I'm gonna come down the hall, and they were going to do this shot, okay? And we're rolling. I got And cards. Yeah, OK, so you could have both your hands. As soon as I say Clear you could move and get the card ready. And then I'll say cards. Okay, Let's do it one more time. Here we go, you guys. And that's how fast I when it was awesome. So here. Okay, here we go. Rotate and rolling here. Clear cards. That was great. Let's do one more time. Just for shits and cool. Boom guys here. Way we'll do. We'll come back to this. Come back to this first. Um, actually, maybe we should do the ah, Maybe we should do the time, the time lapse card thing now, just because ah, you're also going Teoh at the next shot. This stuffed animals have to be there with the card already set up. So we'll do the time cards, things we have to three times. Okay, Okay. So for the time lapse thing, where we're going to do is just going to take a tripod and just, like, set it up so that we can watch you do time lapse. So let me grab it. Are you ready? to do them cards. Okay, so show me. Show me how you're going to start setting it up on Teoh. 3456 Okay, stop. Okay, so this will be the far end, and this will be work. So do you need marks a tape so you can do it again? Like that? Let's get some tape. Um, okay. Here we go. Ready? Okay. And we're rolling. That's OK. Keep doing it this time. Okay. Well, stop it. I'll play back. See how quick this time for the best. Really? Why does it do that? Okay, we're rolling over it. Not bad. Okay, stop it. Just I know it recorded. Fine, but I'm just going to look just to be sure. Nice yet. Okay. We're gonna do one more time. I just want to change the shutter angle to something that I thought was better. So I didn't blur your hands as much. When you're doing, you don't have to do it the same. No, I can't. This thing working, we need Ah, you're lying. Looking at the robot when you're saying I was, uh but there's two eyes in solitaire. Okay? And then the robot is supposed to throw this. Okay, That's great. So you're looking at the robot, and then then this is going to, like, conspire like So I want you two to go here and try from here, going that direction when to try through it at his face. It's actually good, cause I can use your head turn for when he leaves. So let's just do over time. Nice. Great. So let's move on, Teoh. Basically, we're gonna fake his hair, like So we're gonna get a black T shirt or something, toe hanging over your head, and then you're gonna be looking over his shoulder. This is great. Okay, So you're gonna do your whole gonna do your whole section to Jennifer. Okay? We're gonna do it again. So here's the thing. So, like, when you're doing that when you're saying like so I started arguing with myself in the third in the first person, you should say it as if you're arguing with yourself like you say it after here. If you're saying a line like you're being so unreasonable, so you could should be like. So it's started already with myself in the first person. So, like, what we're seeing is like a combination of of this fantasy where you're talking in your head but also the reality where you're arguing. Okay. So started arguing with myself a way and everybody went home. We have to do the the moving away from you, Dolly shot and then the animals stop motion and then the dancing. Then we're done. Okay, I will try to get through here, but I may not make it. Yeah, Okay. Come here. And what? I want you to take that lamp way just like that lamp and make sure. And Jennifer, I'm gonna be cheers plugged in and on over here. When we just do, we'll do a whole play through and they will also do, like a dance through about that. I don't mean you hear like that. I like, uh, like this. Yeah, I might not. Nice. Awesome. Let's get ready for the dancing. That's our last shot. Dance singing 8. The Solitaire Music Video: This is the entire solitary music video. The other night I was playing solitaire with six of my best friends way. We're talking about how weird it is that there's no I mean with words. Solitaire has two eyes. Then everybody went home. So I started having a conversation with myself in the third person. But I got angry because I thought I was being pretty self centered. So I started arguing with myself. First I said, It's always me, me, me. But what about what I want? 9. Final Words: I like to do all kinds of weird projects. I've made video games. I've made lots of music videos for my friends. I think that the one thing you can always try to do when you're making a music video for nothing is try to leave people with something that they remember or something that at least they go. Oh, cool in for Todd A swag. There's a moment where I have someone covered in Cheez Wiz using cheese. Wish I've got hot and Bothered and that was definitely memorable. That didn't cost us anything extra, except for my friendship with the actress in solitaire. I think some of the split screen stuff of such a low budget looks really interesting to people. Not everybody knows how that is done, so I think that sometimes, like doing a little tricks like that, could be impressive to people I like stylistically, how solitaire works. I like the rain. I like the tone. My name is Victor. You can find me on Twitter at Varnedoe, or you can find me on Instagram and Granado. The I would love to answer any of your questions. I would love to see your videos. Thanks a lot. Hasty exit