Musikkvideo: En start

Want to make a music video? Here are five steps that will get you started.

1.Finding the artist/music/band
The first thing you have to do is to find the band and the song (unless they have already found you!). Use your network, internet, friends, family – be creative. Don´t be afraid of contacting up-and-coming artists that you like. They might just be in need of a music video and welcome your enthusiasm, and in the worst case you'll simply get a ”no”.

2.Getting the idea
When making a music video, you are allowed to be really creative and experiment. The idea does not neccesarily need to be a story from a to z, for example it could be based on a universe, a style, a feeling, a concept, a person, or a thing. But of course it can also be a story. Or a mix cutting between a story and something else. Many music videos cut between concert footage and a story, but this does not mean that this is how you should do it. When making a music video you are allowed to bend the rules, so why not try some new things.

In order to come up with the idea, you could either focus on the lyrics or the rhythm and feel of the melody, or maybe both. You could for example create a storyline based on the lyrics and a style/universe inspired by the melody and rhythm.

Find a piece of paper and write down what you feel after listening to the song. What first impressions does it give? What mood is it? What pictures pop into your mind? Then try to see if there is anything to build upon, and brainstorm around it.
For example, if you start thinking about your grandma's kitchen when you hear the music, maybe you could try to find a concept or story that would take place in this kind of kitchen - start thinking visuals straight away.

Keep in mind that being creative and experimenting does not always mean making it complicated, because sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones. A simple idea well executed is often more effective than a complex idea done badly.
As you probably will be making the video on a zero or low budget, it might be smart to keep this in the back of your mind as you are creating the idea, but in no way let this stop or limit your creativity. When playing around with ideas there are no limits!

3.Getting ready
Now you have your idea ready. It's time to find the right locations, the actors and the equipment, and to really form and plan the visual style.

Location and scenography is a huge part of the look in your music video. You need to decide if you should shoot on location, in a studio or maybe with greenscreen.
Depending on what your idea is, it might also be smart to do a storyboard for the shoot.
Decide what you want to shoot with. You could also mix things, i.e. some SD or HD mixed with super8mm, if it suits the idea. Consider whether you want a handheld or static camera, or a mix. Where do you want close ups and totals? 

Also consider what lighting you need and how to light the scenes. Do you want a film noir style, or a glossy style? Be prepared and be specific, have references and know what you want and why.

You also need to decide whether it is appropriate to use the artist/band in the video or other actors or both. Normally the artist wants to be seen in the video, but in other cases there is no need or urgency for it.

Being well prepared for a shoot will save you time when both shooting and editing, and it will also often give a more professional look.

When shooting the music video, you should have playback of the music. If you are going to film the band performing you will need this. Also if you are filming anything where the rhythm is important, for instance a dance sequence, it is smart to play the music in the background so it is easier to sync up in the editing stage.

If you choose to film the band/artist performing, there are a few things to consider. You can either film them live during a live gig, or you can film them performing just for the video.

If you film them doing a live gig, you'll be able to capture the bands live energy and their interaction with the audience. However, there some difficulties as they'll only play the song once so you'll only have one chance of capturing the right footage. The live version may also differ slightly from the recorded version so syncing the footage with the track could be problematic.

If you film them when they perform only for the music video, you can get the band to play along (or mime) to the track in front of an arranged audience of friends or invited fans. You can then control the lighting, people's movements and get the track played as many times as you need.

You can concentrate on the image when shooting, as sound will most of the time always be done later when making music videos. The playback on set is just for a reference.

5. Putting it together
If your footage is good, it will get even better through editing! This is where you really work the magic - however, it takes patience and time.

When making a music video it can be fun to play around with effects, but it is usually better to use a couple of effects throughout the video to create a certain feel rather than use as many effects as you can to make a video exciting (if you need to do this, then maybe it's time to rethink your idea or add some more footage).
In some cases a music video may also be enhanced with some additional sound effects. If your video begins with someone walking down the street, you could for example add the sound of footsteps or ambient street noise over the intro.

The most interesting videos are made when the rules are bent and broken, so keep experimenting and above all else, make something interesting.

Written by Maida Hals