How to prepare for your first music video

LA Music Review | Art, stories and advice

by Carley Varley

If you are an artist and making your first ever music video here are some tips for you!

Depending on the type of music video, you need to plan a lot and make sure everything is in place before filming. I filmed my first ever music video in 2022 for my song Better Without Me, it was a simple music video of myself singing in a room with different cuts and really focusing on the emotion on the song.

In the future I’d love to tell a story in my music videos, different locations, costume changes etc and so today I’m going to cover the preparation for these types of videos.

1. Costumes/Outfit

One of the best things you can do for a music video is making it look visually pleasing, one of the best ways to do this is to ensure that you the main part of the video stand out. Costumes/Outfits are really important, make sure you plan the outfits if there is a theme to your music video, map out a colour scheme and stick to it.

If there are extras in your music video, what role do they plan in the story? Make sure their outfits reflect them well too. This also goes for location, make sure they are ascetically pleasing to watch, you want eyes on your music video for a long as possible. When I think about my favourite music videos, they all have great costumes and scenes that I remember really vividly.

2. Make sure you set a budget

Budget is also important to keep in mind, music videos are expensive but worth the money in the long run. If you don’t have a very big budget as an independent artist, there are lots of videographers that have unique takes on their work, it’s worth reaching out to universities and schools who are studying videography, as many people take on music videos as projects.

If you have a bigger budget, it is worth hiring professionals make up artists, videographers and actors. Make sure you set your budget well and add up the costs and factor in additional expenses too, if a shoot runs over etc.

man holding camera and woman playing violin

3. Book a videographer you like

Hire someone who captures your vision.

This is something that is vital to your video being a success. It is key for your video to reflect your song and your style, so find someone who can do that and do it well. My advice would be to spend a few weeks looking at music videos, see who directs and films them and then get in touch, reaching out is a good way to get an idea of cost etc.

It is also important to chat to see when the work can be delivered and recorded because if you have a release date it needs to fit in with this. Set aside a whole day, one thing to do when recording a music video, is set aside a whole day for filming, or if you have multiple locations, set aside a few days. Planning this is very important to ensure that everything is captured.

If you are singing lyrics, getting multiple takes is also important and make sure the song is playing at the same time so that it can be synced to your track. The prep work is vital so make a list before filming of all the scenes you need to captured and the lyrics that you need too.

4. Make a Story Board for scenes

Planning your music video is also great preparation, if you don’t this can lead to scenes you don’t really need or want ending up in the video or even worse, missing scenes you thought of after shooting. Planning a story board and writing down ideas for how you want a scene to look or what emotion you want to portray is vital to a music videos success. You can chat to the videographer about a storyboard and make sure it’s all drawn or written out. It is also important to get different takes as you may like something that you didn’t expect to and want it in the final video.

5. Make sure you prepare release date and plan for your promotion for after the shoot

Finally setting a date for release and organising around filming and bringing everything together is the best way to ensure your video is a success. Thinking about post video production is also key, who are you going to promote the video to? Where are you going to post it? Are you going to do a sneak peak for fans before its release? Make you think about post release as well as the preparation behind the scenes beforehand.

Thank you so much for reading today, I hope these tips help you with your music video. Plan well and have fun making your music video!

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