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Making a Music Video: Part 5 - And finally...

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Dan Lucas Dan Lucas | 11:00 UK time, Friday, 31 December 2010

In this final post I thought I’d try to tie everything together with a couple of real life examples.

I recently discovered this excellent video, (which doesn’t even require a video camera as it's simply a sequence of still images) and thought we could watch it and then dissect it.

The artist was Ellen Murphy, who now performs as Only Girl, and she very kindly agreed to shed some light on the making of the video, as well as sharing her her top tips. Here’s what she had to say:

Concept
The concept was thought up by the director Barry Pilling, he was a friend of the band and approached us about making a stop motion video as he had experimented with the technique before and thought it would make a great music video.

Top Tip: Whether the director already has an idea or you are working together to think of a concept, make sure it's not too complicated and don't be too ambitious if you have a small budget and limited time.

Cost
The video actually cost us nothing to make, apart from small expenses like buying pizzas for everyone etc. The locations we used were; someone’s house, Telegraph Hill in South East London, and a venue called The Bunker Club in Deptford (as I know the owner Annie and she is a great supporter of local unsigned bands). We were lucky enough to work with a director and cameraman who didn’t mind working for free!

Top Tip: Try and find locations you can use for free or minimal cost as these can often be the most expensive thing. Although this video was free to shoot, for another video we hired out the basement bar of a pub in central London and it was £200 for the weekend, which split between 5 members of the band was only £40 each.

Team
The team was made up of friends of the band, who all helpfully work in the TV/media industry. We had Barry as director, his girlfriend doing make up, Vicky Duffin as producer (she put together a proper call sheet etc.) and Dave White as cameraman who was a friend of Barry’s. We were quite lucky to know so many people within the TV/film industry and our guitarist was a video editor which was also very useful! However for any unsigned bands wanting to make a video who don’t have these connections, with enough hard work, creativity and being resourceful, you can definitely create a smart and effective video to promote your music.

Top Tip: Search Facebook and Myspace groups to find people, I found the London College of Fashion Make Up group on Facebook which often has postings looking for make up artists for photo/video shoots.

Time
The video took us one weekend to make, as we all had full time jobs we needed to make it over a weekend so had a very long Saturday and Sunday!

Top Tip: Always overestimate the time it will take to ensure that the video is ready at least 1 month before the single release to ensure maximum promotion time.

Thanks for that, Ellen! Some very useful tips there. Another video I came across was this from My Tiger My Timing - no strangers to the BBC Introducing stage - a beautifully simple concept using projectors and a white space.

I spoke to Director Ian William Galloway, who told us:

The band had a friend who lived in a converted gallery space in the old Crouch Hill station - she's since moved out and it's scheduled for demolition. They'd also had a recent photo shoot with an old slide projector. We decided to tie the whole thing together with the promotional images they already had. We borrowed a slide projector and a video projector. We dressed them in white to match the space. We assembled some of Anna's family's old slides and photos, and some old slides I had lying around, and filmed the track lots of times with every combination of people, slides, projections etc. The whole cost must have been about £150.

OK. One last boring bit about uploading before I set you free to create. You’ve filmed your masterpiece, it looks amazing, it’s even better than you imagined. Whatever you do, don’t fall at the final hurdle. This bit always takes longer than you think. You might find it tedious, but it has to be done.

Uploading and unleashing to the world

If you are uploading to YouTube or Vimeo, make sure you export the video at the best possible quality. Once you have exported your master at full quality, back it up somewhere safe. You will now need to compress it using a program like Compressor or Sorensen squeeze in order to make the file small enough to upload. I'd suggest searching for tutorials online that take you through settings step by step. You don’t need to understand what you are doing, just follow what they say! For example, I found this really simple video tutorial showing you how to upload to Vimeo in HD using Compressor and the results are excellent.

There are tutorials out there for every situation, so don’t just export at any old setting as poor quality can really suck the life out of your video and all your hard work will go to waste.

Once uploaded, you need to tell the world. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, MySpace - post the video to as many places as you can, using friends of friends is a powerful way of building numbers (Mr Fogg’s video that we featured in part 1 had over 15,000 views in 3 weeks). The ‘embed’ feature on YouTube and Vimeo is such a simple tool that'll help you get your video on multiple websites. Use it.

And that's about it... for now. The beauty of music video making is you can never stop learning. There's no right or wrong, there are so many different approaches and techniques you can utilise, and there is so much inspiration out there; all you have to do is open your eyes. Feel free to dip in and out of these posts whenever you like.

I'll leave you with the most important piece of advice of all: just get out there and do it. You learn from your mistakes, you'll pick up tricks as you go, and you never know, you might just create something a little special. 

Merry music video making. See you in 2011!


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