7 Things Every Musician Should Know About Music Video Production
Bands and musicians need music videos because music itself has gone beyond entertainment for the ears, now it's expected to be entertainment for the eyes as well. Youtube, Vimeo, Vevo, Music Choice and other video streaming networks regularly create playlists of music to feature. This means if you want to get into rotation on any of those places, you need a video.
Let's assume that the years of practicing your instrument, writing songs, recording and mixing everything to be just right has gotten you some great tracks. When you're ready to release a single, there's a lot of ways to get the music out there: Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, etc. And when it drops, bands and artists should do a ton of promoting. If you're not already signed, you should be sending the song to everyone from A&R guys at indie's to the majors, to your favorite artists, friends, grandma's and even your friends-grandma's so the song can grab hold.
Once the track is released, a music video is the next level of distribution and audience engagement for it to grow a fan base. It will entertain an existing audience, and help take your careers to higher local, regional, national or even superstardom level! But, it's more than just needing a video... you need a good, or even great video to get noticed.
Getting a song stuck in your head means you need to hear it more than once and that's what a good music video will do. Crafting a hit song is one thing, but having it turn into something that the world knows, that's next level. So a great music video gives your song a larger platform to promote. You can then hit up all those people you already did, "Yo! remember me, and that track I sent you?... Well, now check out the video!" It's the mark of professional knowing that you understand, even though making music is your passion, this is also a business and you're here to stay.
7 Things Every Musician Should Know About Music Video Production
1. BE A PRO: You're a pro musician, so hire a pro filmmaker to make your visuals. Would you hire a plumber to fix your car? Then why would you trust your cousin Barney to produce, direct and edit your music video? There is a world of professional filmmakers out there who are just as excited to make cool videos as are you are to make cool music. Finding a good match to your taste will always deliver you a better product than you could achieve on your own. Just like you practice scales, perdiddles, flow, range or technique - we're out there experimenting with the camera, lighting, locations and editing tricks.
2. BUDGET - You get what you pay for. If you think that you're going to get a revolutionary music video without brining anything to the table, you're wrong, no exceptions. We've done low budget music videos under $10k for bands that have gotten hundreds of thousands of views, but the label or musicians always have to chip in. Whether it's bringing a lot of friends & extras to set, providing locations, getting your own wardrobe, one band even had their parents provide all the food. Everything that helps offset the mandatory professional costs of the production team can ultimately save you money. Those bare-bone mandatory costs are man hours for your crew, food, and any camera costs which can include purchase or rental of lenses, data cards, hard drives, lights, etc.
3. VISION - A good director is there to create a vision for your music video based upon your budget. Teamed with a good producer they can provide you with ideas to consider that will best fit your song. Don't have a lot of money? Maybe it's best to do a small guerrilla narrative video without any band performance. This allows the film crew and a couple of professional actors or models to create intriguing images that accompany your music. Or for even less money we can make you a lyric video. Want something bigger, then with the right budget anything can happen. We've created bar fights, hired yachts, vintage cars, celebrities, stunt performers, dancers, contortionists. We've built an Aztec temple that crushed a band, dug graves to bury lead singers, even killed dancing zombies back from the dead... but that all was pitched by a creative production team of a director and producer who know how to get you the best bang for your buck.
4. TEAM - Wether you're a solo artist, crew, or full blown rock band, we know you understand the concept of having a good team. No one has made it this far alone. At some point you've had to work with other people to make your music happen. Professionals who simply know how to accompany, mix, master, sing backups, or whatever it takes to make your music step up a level. Well, your music video production team relies on that same principle. It's more than just a good director, or producer. We work with specialists who operate cameras, shape light, build sets, edit video, create VFX, know how to style, do makeup, etc. and the more of these professionals you can afford, the better it's going to be.
5. RULE OF 3: QUALITY, FAST, CHEAP... but you can only pick two! - I call this the rule of 3. Having worked on budgets ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars down to indie videos under $10k, this rule always applies. If you want a video FAST and CHEAP, then your quality is going to suffer. You want QUALITY and FAST, then it's going to be expensive. You get the idea, but ultimate the rule of budget is going to prove to be, you get what you pay for.
6. RISK - Great reward requires risk. So you are going to have to think outside the box and let your relationship with the filmmakers create something bigger than you could imagine. If the budget, vision, and team all step up; something great can happen that will give your music career a pop. With that said, HUGE artists have made music videos that have never seen the light of day. Prince, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and more have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on music videos that for one reason or another were't released. This is the risk of being an artist. Sometimes you write a song, shoot a video, or record an album that someone decides shouldn't see the light of day. Either way, you'll never know how great it could be if you don't RISK your creativity and everyone does their best.
7. TRUST - You've got to TRUST the process and the people you're working with on your video. With the time, passion and creativity you've put into your music, that's what your video production team is trying to do for your music video. A good director and producer will present you with an explicit idea called a "treatment" prior to production. This is what the entire video concept will be based upon. But, things always shift, it's the way the world works, so you need to trust the process and know everyone is working hard to make something cool. What's good for you is good for us. There are plenty of people and companies out there that will churn out shit for cheap. But true artists will understand, the market, the budget, the vision and the risk involved and then work together to make something that will leave a mark. That's what you get from Renaissance Man Productions.