Making A Music Video | David Miller | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Making A Music Video Intro

      2:32
    • 2. Concept and Performance

      4:25
    • 3. Filming A Performance Pt. 1

      3:39
    • 4. Filming A Performance Pt. 2

      3:31
    • 5. Filming the Concept pt 1

      3:40
    • 6. Filming the Concept pt 2

      5:34
    • 7. Editing A Performance

      7:10
    • 8. Editing The Concept Footage

      5:11
    • 9. Merging Concept and Performance

      2:32
    • 10. Wrap Up

      1:31

About This Class

Music videos are a fun and necessary part of the modern music industry; the great ones blow up bands and singles like no other media airplay can.  They also can be simple and effective while being highly creative, and in this course we explore a simple way of crafting music videos for beginners.  We cover concepts, shooting performances, and more.

Transcripts

1. Making A Music Video Intro: hello out there. I'm David Miller. I'm a multimedia artist in Arizona. Among other things that I do is I make music videos. I'm also an educator. So I wanna welcome you to the course have created on making music videos. We are not going to be talking about making big budget music videos. We're gonna be talking about micro budget, no budget, your very first music video working with not doing guns and roses, November rain, You know, something that costs $8 million. Among the reasons why we're not going to get into making big budget music videos. Number one is if you are at the level that is making $8 million music videos, you probably went to film school. You probably are a name director already, and this course might not have so much to offer you as it does a beginning music video maker. I also strongly believe in the modern era that having a ridiculously overpriced music video does not help you sell anymore records. Because, quite frankly, the music industry isn't based around record sales anymore. So we're absolutely going to focus on the smaller scale music videos which I think are still an incredibly important part of the modern music industry for a few reasons. Number one. We live in a world where it's basically a singles market because of streaming artists, make royalties on the number of times a song is played that also includes YouTube revenue. When a song is played in a video on YouTube, the artists gets very small amount of money, but it's money nonetheless. And actually, there are artists out there who generate more income through YouTube revenue than they do Spotify. It's also expected in the modern era that there is a visual component to music. In fact, ah, lot of younger listeners prefer to listen to music on YouTube rather than any other kind of streaming service. So having some form of video available for those people who want to connect with you is pretty important. And lastly, I want to express the idea that having clever, interesting music videos, those a lot further Teoh expanding the scope of your music to reach the audience 2. Concept and Performance: video that is mix of performance and some kind of narrative concepts is something that I think is easy to approach because it showcases the song from the point of view. Of here is the artist in the performance, and it showcases the concept of the song, and it's usually a really good mix. Most of the music videos that you've probably seen in your life are some kind of blend of these things. Some of my favorite music videos of the last few years young the Giant's videos pretty much all of them. But cough syrup is a good example of a video where the band is performing alongside a pool , and then you have conceptual footage of people doing things in the pool. That's very designing, has a lot of color to it. Is there any correlation to the song lyrics? I would say Probably not. Don't see a single bottle of cough syrup involved in the video that said, It gives the I something to focus on, but also tied back to the song. If it was entirely pool footage, I'm not sure my interest would be kept, and I'm not sure that I would even understand what is happening there. But by including the band within the same set environment as the conceptual footage, there's a marriage, and I think it's a really wonderful video, one I absolutely like to watch over and over and over. Another example of a song that's a mix of performance and concept is Deanne words. I think you freaking a very disturbing video for some people. I fell in love with this work. It's by a photographer that I've followed for decades named Roger Ballen. And, of course, the n Word is a South African group. Roger Ballen is an American who works in South Africa, and the video has the performance of the two rappers Indiana work. But it also has this really bizarre environment, and I think, actually conceptually, it fits the song Perfect. The female rapper stroke singer Your Blondie is very unusual voice, and she sings in almost monotone. I think you freaking and I like you a lot, and the environment is full of freaky people, and it's a really freaky environment, and the musicians involved were willing to showcase themselves as freaks. Very good. If you work with musicians who have some sort of acting ability or ability to Imo give the song something more than a straight ahead, deadpan delivery. Many tracks out there are love songs there take back the night kind of songs, so the narrative almost writes itself where you have to people who may be your miss connections or they're falling in love or they were in love. But they broke up those air quite easy narratives to tell and really, what you need are people, the film. And if you're getting people to film, hopefully they once again are able to emote toe act. It's a simple is that one of the most important things, though, about all these videos is that the concept doesn't have to be huge to fill a a lot of screen time. The performance doesn't have to be huge to fill a lot of screen time, you have an equal balance between the artist performing AH concept being expressed, and you're able to round out 3.5 minutes, four minutes, 4.5 minutes worth of video footage and for the music videos that I have created. It's usually been a good 50 50 split, but I'm grateful that they're mixes a performance and concept because when I send Thean, Isha edits Teoh the artists and they say, Oh, I don't like the way my skin looks in this particular bit of performance. Can we replace it with something else? I could say absolutely I can I have all this concept footage that I can paper over the things that you didn't like or in another case, somebody didn't like the concept that they came up for the video and wanted more performance, and you're able to borrow from what you've done there. 3. Filming A Performance Pt. 1: Let's go ahead and talk about filming the performance of your musician, your singer, your artist. First off, when somebody is getting filmed, that film is a record of what they look like. Therefore, they should be very presentable to an audience. They should look better than they do on a regular day. They should not look like they just rolled out of bed. They should have access to as much styling as you possibly can. And if it's a no budget music video, you know if they're hair is bad, they need a shave. Tell him to go get a haircut. Don't gotta shave, because this is how people are going to perceive their music. If they show up disheveled, look lazy. People will respond in kind. It's kind of like a job interview. The next thing worth noting when filming a performance is that you're gonna have to have the music playing somewhere for your performer to respond to. And when I say that I don't mean that they take their acoustic guitar and play the song live, they need to be performing Teoh, the actual audio track that's going to go into the music video. So the actual song. The reason is there's timing that will be totally thrown off if they are playing live versus if they're playing against the recorded track. I don't care how good a performer they are, how well they think they know their song. They need to be able to hear that song play, and they need to lip sync, sing along, play their instruments to the exact timing of that track. That track also has to be the final version of the truck. It can't be one that's going to be remix down the line, because if that happens, if the producer, the artist's eyes, they're gonna change something in the song that throws out almost all the footage that you filmed, I've had this happen more than once where I was told we have the song that we're gonna use for the video. It's just gonna get some drums swapped out or something like that. The drums got swapped out, nothing matched anymore. So needs to be absolutely the final version of the track that you're making the video for. For your artists to perform, too, because they need to hear the song. There used to be speaker, something that's louder than a cell phone somewhere around. And it needs to be in an environment where you can actually play the song on that speaker. Filming a music video in a grocery store and expecting your artist to lip sync to a song is You're playing a speaker isn't gonna get you anywhere. It's just gonna get you thrown out of the grocery store. When the artists are performing to the track, you're going to need multiple performances and, you know, ideally from different angles. So the camera that's filming me is sitting on a tripod. If I left that there and have a performer performed the song 45 times right in front of this, I very well may get the footage I need for music video, but it's not gonna be very visually interesting. Do I need to film the person in a totally different environment each time? No, but I could move the camera closer. I can't have it at a different angle, pointing down. I can switch lenses. I can have the performer come closer to the camera. There's a lot of variety that is available to us, even if we only have one camera and one location when we're filling our performances 4. Filming A Performance Pt. 2: which brings us to the location of our performances where we're going to film people. Obviously, private property is an issue. You may be able to get permission. You may be able to get a property release if you're going to film somebody in a house on other property for, Ah, no budget music video. It's generally considered a neck Spence that people aren't willing to put out for. But you never know if you and your artists put your heads together is very likely that one of you knows an unusual location were filming in. There are certain rules of photography about lighting that are we're following when you're filming music videos in Arizona, going out at noon even in the cold months and shooting in the open desert is going to paint an unflattering picture of artists. The lighting is just gonna be so harsh it's just going to cast shadows in all the wrong spots on their face. Early morning, late afternoon, even shooting at nights with led lighting or unusual lighting like car headlights are cool options. Taking advantage of city lights that are around you is a real popular thing to do in filming music videos performances. There are also simple photographic tricks you can use to enhance performance footage. For example, in the killer's video shot at the night, the singer Brandon Flowers is singing into a very reflective glass surface. Super Easy, Super cheap Special effect he's singing in Las Vegas takes advantage of all the city lights there around him. Very beautiful music video with a mix of performance and concept. I've seen quite a few music videos where the people playing the instruments are playing out of time. The wrong part. They're not plugged into anything. They're plugged into an amplifier, but the amplifiers not plugged into anything. If these flaws show up in your video, probably get overlooked by most people. Someone Israel nit picky like me will probably notice and think about it. Complain. Another Killers Video read My mind got around this by having the band play on video game instruments. I thought that was really clever Way to address the situation. No matter what you do, you're going to have to film multiple takes. Play the song all the way through. Have the band the singer, do the song all the way through. Change your environment, your camera position. Do what you need to do, film it again and my advice to use to get at least four takes under your belt Most of the time, the only real expense is you know, the 45 minutes it takes to start a song and get it going. But if you have one take and the artist hair is messed up in that take, it's gonna be very difficult to use any of that footage or if you have one take and the artist completely failed to lip sync their performance than you have a super hard time getting any good footage out of it. When you have multiple takes, that's a safety net for you, and that's also gonna lend some variety to the visuals of your performance. 5. Filming the Concept pt 1: Now we're gonna talk about filming the concept, and this really depends on what your concept is. My most important tip for you when creating a concept is create something that is achievable. Do not come up with a concept that there is no way you can budget for it. There's no way you can get the right people to act out your concept. There's no way to film it with the equipment that you have available. You've got to keep your concepts realistic within the realm of possibility. Otherwise, either the work won't get done or the work will get done. But it will be done in such a shabby way that it really misrepresents your video. Now, a lot of the videos that I've shown clips from that are more well known like you to or Jesus Jones. The concepts behind these they might involve a location that's sort of out of reach. But in the case of the YouTube video mysterious Ways, there's simply this sort of funhouse mirror material that warps people in colorful garb and a belly dancer. Now it's not too hard to find a dancer of some kind. If there a break dancer ballet dancer, contemporary art stance. Er, you know it's not that hard to come across somebody who can dance and a lot of people I will dance for your video just for the sake of having the footage that they can use on their own social media channels, the fun house mirror material that Stefan said new we utilized in mysterious ways. I've been able to find that for less than $100. And combining those two elements is essentially what makes up mysterious ways. Now it's film in Morocco has a lot of cultural Touchstones to. Of course, it has the actual band in there. But if you take away some of the more expensive aspects of that video, it's actually pretty achievable concept. Do when you are looking for people to be in your videos, you don't have to think, Oh, I can't get anybody because I'm gonna have to pay them so much money. A lot of people, as I said with the dancers, just want footage for their reels. They want footage to share on social media. They want to be able to say they were part of something, and a music video is definitely something almost all the aspiring models that I've ever worked with. I wanted to make music videos, thought it was real exciting, and they would trade their time for that. That said, Whenever you have a set and you've got people there, people absolutely come and help be part of your creative project. If you have free pizza, free beverages, whatever it is that normally entices people to show up at events, you can offer those things as well. Don't worry about having to pay them hundreds of dollars to act in your videos. If you are going to a professional model agency, professional acting agency, of course, you're gonna have to put out a lot of money for those kinds of people. But if you're just beginning with music videos, see you. You know, see who they know. See there's gonna come for the free pizza, see who's interested in having footage for their real. That's how we can populate a lot of our no budget works 6. Filming the Concept pt 2: Once you've decided on a concept, it's a good idea to have a shot list to go beyond the shot list. There's things like storyboards and mood boards. I think those are important, too. Storyboards can be a simple as stick figures in a frame, so you know where people are supposed to stand. Are supposed to be. Mood board can be a simple as just a collection of stuff on Pinterest that you're aiming for with styling, be it clothes, hair, makeup, locations so forth. But really, the most important thing of all is the shot list, because when you're in the moment of filming, it's really easy to forget. There's important parts of your concept that you need to get. And if you just got this one long list that says, OK, we need a shot of the girls wig being pulled off. We need a shot of girl, a messing with girl be. We need a shot of a dancer on top of a parking garage. We need so on and so forth. Um, then you're going to get those shots and your brain can focus on the process of shooting, which when everybody's on set, that's what you need to focus on. You don't need to be like, OK, I would host. We need for this moon. You know that problem solving stuff. Do that all ahead of time, their concepts that rely around technology. And unless you're an expert in that technology, I would encourage you to put those concepts aside. For example, green screen technology. I think this is something that a lot of people have a basic understanding of how it works. But they forget simple things, like the person that you're shooting can't wear green at all anywhere. The person that you're filming needs to be glitz a certain way, so there's no green bouncing off from the green screen onto them. The screen itself needs to be lit all the way across. Otherwise you're gonna have wrinkles, and those will show up in the final product. When you don't know what you're doing with technology, it's going to be a struggle. And either you accept footage that may be poorly done, or you end up throwing out all that footage and declaring it a waste of time. Either way, I think we're all better served by using concepts that if they're going to have some kind of special effects that you need to be in camera. Special effects, for example, unusual filtration. I use a prism filter on my camera lens a lot. I've used that for video work, and it's turned out pretty cool. Working with Shadows and Reflections, that killer shot at the night video Brandon Flowers footage was shot into the reflection on a mirror in camera effect. Really easy to achieve, worked beautifully. Shadows and slow motion are a big part of a lot of the videos I do. I actually prefer to shoot an environment that's almost totally dark, and then I control the lights with led ease. A lot of the times I'm working with people who are more used to still photography than videography. So rather than ask them to maneuver around, I just asked them to be in one spot, and the light is what does the motion across them and because I'm filming in slow motion and kind of get really cool, ethereal effect. That's something that's unique to the kind of videos that I like to make. It might work for your projects to. I'm just throwing it out there as a concept slow motion is something that you need to set up on your camera, and you usually achieve it by going to 60 frames per seconds. In the video recording settings. That means you can slow it down by half. It's important to recognize that filming does not have to entirely happened in one session . Many of the music videos I presented to you split between the artist and the concept, and the artist is not present in every single shot. That's important for me to stress, because I feel like that takes a lot of the pressure off of you as the filmmaker If you only have the artist to work with for a short period of time, and you're stressing because you think you gotta fill up 3.5 minutes, 4.5 minutes of music video entirely the artist you're giving yourself a little bit of a break by recognizing that the concept could have other material in it. It could have other locations that you can't get, too. On the same day that you're filming the artist. Wherever you're filming the artist, it might have other people you don't have access to on that day. It just might have things that you want to do at home that young. The giant cough syrup video has a few sequences involving food coloring colored water. Not quite sure what exactly is going on in the video, but those can obviously be filmed when the band isn't present. When you break down your shot list, you're gonna break down what you need by location, what you need by person. That way, you can position things for later date as needed. If you run out of time on your filming day, you can look at your list and say, Okay, these I can do some other time. It's okay, it'll get done. 7. Editing A Performance: Now we're going to start talking about editing, and I'm using Adobe Premiere. There are a lot of editing suites out there. I Movie Windows movie maker are both free options. I'm using Premier because I'm a subscriber to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Most of what I do in Premiere are things that you can do in other editing suites. In fact, the majority of what I do for music videos and Premier really just involves sinking the performances up to the music track and then creating a version of the video. That's entirely the concept stuff in the sequence that I want that concept stuff to go. So if there's a story involved thin, the story needs to be chronological within that sequence of nonperformance material. And then I just find a way to blend the best of the performance and the best of the concept . That's the simplest way I know how to work when making these music videos. The great thing about this process, though, is that music videos already have all the audio taking care. If you were making a short film, not only would you have to consider dialogue and the best performance of each bit of dialogue, but you'd also have to consider sound effects in ambient noise room tone. All these other things that go into short film making. When you are making a music video, you already know what the sound is, and you don't have to worry about bringing in any of that extra sound design sound mixing. Let's get started talking about the best of performances. I'm gonna go ahead and show you a music video that I filmed recently where I had about six performances by the singer. They were done in different scenarios. Some were done in an open studio, totally white light, all natural. I did some in the darkness with the sweeping led is the way that I describe that I like to work. I did some shots, slow motion at our house in two different environments, and then I have some performance footage that's just sort of like out in the wild. The first thing I do is I'm going to bring all of these tracks into premiere, and I'm going to synchronize them to the audio track and because I recorded the footage with the singer with the music playing and allowed in volume I can see in the way form view where kick drums matchup where other parts of the music synchronize. So that's what I'm going to do. First, I'm going to figure out exactly where I need to place the footage, so it synchronizes with the music. In the case of the footage, I shot at 60 frames per second. I'm going to use premieres time, remapping tool and slow it down 50%. So now I have a version of her singing along to the song, but it's slowed down. If I shot this, intending to slow it down, how did I get her to sing in sync? The answer is, I actually sped the song up twice as fast. It sounds like the Chipmunks when we recorded it in person really silly, but it got some cool results, and it helped me out because I was actually hand holding my camera when I was filming her. When your hand holding a camera, Even if you have some kind of stabilizing tool like I had in these scenarios, there's going to be a little bit of camera shake in there. And one way to reduce that is to use slow motion instead of the fast motion, the 60 frames per second footage. Another way is to use a tool in premier called warp stabilizer. If you slow down footage and you want to use warp stabilizer, you'll get a notification that you actually need to have the footage nested. It's not as complicated as it sounds. All it means is that you need to tuck your slow down footage into another shell and then apply warp stabilizer to that shell. Warp stabilizer will read every frame of that shell, and then it will try and fix the footage. If you had real herky jerky footage to begin with, it's not gonna do anything if it looks kind of shaky. Warp stabilizer is gonna take care a lot of that business for you. Okay, at this point, I have all my layers of singing synchronized to the one song, and because I don't need all that extra audio track anymore, I'm just going to get rid of it by unlinked King. The audio and the video highlighting that audio and then deleting it and all I'm left with is my original studio recording song. At this point, I kind of need to watch all the footage, and this is a thing that happens when you read it. You gotta dig deep and see what you got. I watch it all. I have a razor blade tool as I watch it, the things that are unflattering that are out of sync, that have any other issues that I know aren't going to work for. The music video I razor blade, the beginning and the end of that mistaken footage that bad footage and I deleted, and what I'm ultimately going to end up with when I watch every bit of performance is this patchwork that jumps from one performance to another. Now I film the singer in a variety of spaces, and that might not be the best way that works for you. You might be filming your performer in one space, but from different angles. This is just the way that we operated because we only had the studio for a certain amount of time. And also I wanted to try these other environments when shooting with her. Some of the footage I'm not a fan of because I feel like her hair has a little bit of an unflattering flaw to it. That came about from a fan hitting it earlier on some of the footage. She was not a fan of because she felt that the lighting was harsher. It was dark or it didn't really match the aesthetic of the track we were working on. You ultimately end up with this compromise, but that's okay. Your job is to create a video that best suits what the performer wants needs with their images. What best suits this song? What's gonna get people interested in the material? 8. Editing The Concept Footage: now we're gonna take the time to edit our concept footage. If you had a concept that told a story, then it's pretty easy to edit that concept footage to this song because you're just going in chronological order. If you are editing a concept that's a little more abstract and vague like in the case of this particular music video, we wanted to showcase a variety of female relationships, particularly familial relationships or friendships between teenagers or even my daughter and her bird. Then my goal in cutting this was number one, looking for the moments in all the footage I shot, which was a little bit over an hour, maybe two hours worth of footage with these various families. I'm looking for moments that have good expression, a good gesture and even like something cool that happened with the lighting of the reflections. It's a lot of stuff to look through, but it's got to be done and luckily once again because we already working with audio and we don't need to worry about what they say. I can scrub through with the play head and premier and find those good moments. Those good gestures use my razor blade tool, delete the rest of the stuff we don't need. Once again, I'm gonna end up with a patchwork of little scenes. But then I can start organizing them and because in this case I was working with the five different families. I'm going to try and mix up the footage so I don't get stuck with a large chunk of time. One family also had some footage of a yoga instructor that I thought was pretty cool. It was filmed in 60 frames per second and reduced to slow motion that one stood out as being different than all these other family type vignettes. So I sort of kept those as bumpers for transitions in the song. Now, once you have the chunks of footage that you know are good, we gotta figure out where to place it in the song when you have the performance, that's easy because they're singing that synchronizes to where the song has singing super easy, a place it when you are placing concept footage to the track. Maybe there's something in the lyrics that makes reference to something that's happening on screen. For example, in this song there's pretty lights. There was the word fly. I have footage of a bird flying. I can put that right with the word I know it's little obvious, but these air guide posts for how you edit something in the song refers to something on the screen. It's a matter of creating a build up because you want to have something interesting for people to look at all throughout the video. You can't just shove the best footage of the very beginning, and you can't just save all the best footage for the very end. Because if you don't have anything interesting at the beginning of the song, nobody's gonna look at the end. That makes sense. You want a pepper in highlights that keep the viewer interested? You wanna have variety? You wanna have storytelling if possible. So we're aiming for variety and storytelling and serving the song. Those three things all need toe happen as we're cutting this footage on, it's gonna be with the knowledge that ultimately you're going to take this concept version of your music video and the performance version of music video, and you're gonna merge them somehow when we talk about cutting and editing the most obvious thing people think to do is add it to the beat of the song. So if the song is like your instinct might be cut here, cut here and have whenever the beat change occurs, that's when a cut or transition to a different scene happens. That might be an okay way to do a preliminary edit of your video. I would encourage you not to always cut on the beat and actually kind of work against that instinct, primarily because you're creating this energy that goes through the song with your visuals . That keeps viewer interest by working against the beat. So sometimes if there's like a large dramatic moment in the track leg, here's the part Bohemian Rhapsody, where the guitar and the drums and all that stuff kicks in after this long operatic bit. Of course, we're going to cut to the band's rocking out like they never have before. But for the majority of the song, in the videos that I make in the videos that I enjoy online, they kind of weave the footage in and out alongside the beat. Sometimes it matches. Sometimes it doesn't. It creates this interesting, dramatic tension when you're not always cutting on the beat 9. Merging Concept and Performance: and premier. There's a function called nesting, which I described when I talked about warp stabilization. But essentially, you're going toe. Put all of your footage into one sequence here. You're gonna put all your performance footage into one sequence. Here, you overlay the two. You listen to the song and you go back and forth and figure out what you can cut and what goes where when you have a sequence on top of the other one and you want to see what's below, there's a little eyeball icon that you can flip off, so this one disappears momentarily and flipped the eyeball to put it back on. This is a process that is gonna take some time, but once you've assembled a rough cut of your video, you can export it. And the way that I communicate with most of the bands that I work with is I put it as a private link on venue or YouTube and ask them to take some notes. They take notes, they send it back. If you have the opportunity to cut the video in person with somebody, that's better, because you're not gonna have this long back and forth of you know, take this out. Take this in. Put move this second around here, it's not always the case that we make videos for people that live in the same state or the same environments as we do. If you have the opportunity film, extra footage, by all means. Take that opportunity because I can't think of a single film product I've ever worked on, where we looked at what we had and didn't realize that we wanted one little extra thing you know, most of the time were unable to get that extra thing. It's either a time constraint or a location constrain or a styling constraint something. But if you have that opportunity, if there's anything that anybody involved in the process says, I wish that we got footage here or I feel like there should be one other family involved in this take the time, make it better. You know this product is going to go out the door, and it's going to be seen by somebody, and they're gonna evaluate the song and your filmmaking production skills based on what's going out the door. So if you have the opportunity to make positive changes, absolutely. Take those positive changes. Don't be lazy. Don't say Well, you know, we got what we got 10. Wrap Up: the Friends. I hope this was highly informative and helpful pictorial for you. I love making music videos. I make them for myself and make it from other people. Uh, I have made them for bands of my youth that I grew up loving, and that has led a lot of work my way. One of the great things about music videos versus other kinds of filmmaking is there's just this expansive creativity that's available to us because we're really just trying to make an entertaining cocoon for a song. And hopefully, like that song when you are trying to make a short film and narrative things with dialogue , you might be trying to express some greater human condition, ideas and philosophy You might have to face the fact that the story want to tell involves stunt work or expenses that are kind of beyond what normal people are able to do. And music videos aren't like that there, almost a pure form of are in my mind. So I wish you the best of luck in the music videos that you creates. If you've made any yourself as a result of this course, I'd love to see them go ahead and send me a link through the communications page or email me at info at primordial creative dot com. I've got a lot of tutorials out there on filmmaking, animation, photography, sound design. I invite you to check those out. Talk to you next time.