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Quick Guide to a Music Video: A Checklist of Considerations

1. Choose a Song

What Version? - If there a various versions of the song recorded, choose one and stick with it throughout the project
Sync will be a concern - for instance, we want the snare drum's pop (audio) to be in perfect synchronization with the close-up shot (video) of the raindrop hitting the street pavement. [see also SMPTE]
Length of the song
Is the song translatable to a music video? Will the audience enjoy it? Does it have wide appeal or a certain target audience?
SMTPE time code - referring to a timecode that is recorded on a separate track. The timecode allows for referencing video to audio or audio to video in the editing process. Note: it's a good idea to record ( or "lay") SMPTE a little bit before the perceived beginning of the project and a little past the perceived ending of the project.
*Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

2. Write a Scenario

Hollywood epic on a limited budget can look terrible
Doing simple well, or doing complex badly
Schtick, Creativeness. Will there be special effects?

3. Get the Crew, Equipment and Performers

Cameraman or Cameramen
Lighting Director
Audio Tech - Is one needed? Will there be sound effects?
Director - Not only to direct, but to coordinate, organize and provide

4. Create Storyboards for Scenes including Angles and Locations

Props? - Organize ALL props for the shoot in advance - Do not wait until the last minute they may not be available
Performers other than Band Members?

5. Meetings with Crew, Performers (Including Band Members), Location, Personnel

Discuss equipment, camera angles, audio, performance, special effects, locations

6. Filming/Shooting

Shoot a scene until it is right
Shoot it again, if possible, and perhaps using different angles
Be careful of zooms - Steady Zooming
Special Effects? Audio and Video effects needed? Effects intended later in editing?
Notation of/during shoots

7. Live Footage

Understanding only one take of the song
No control of audience or surroundings
Limited or no control (choreography) of the performance
No control or limited control of lighting - It can look great live, but may not on camera
Live with: What is, What it is

8. Live Footage Option

Stage a live performance
Simulate a concert in a controlled environment with and invited audience

9. Stock Footage

Incorporating stock footage that is not copyrighted or requires no royalties
Public domains that can be used, often with only credit to the author
Incorporating stock footage that has been purchased - Film Houses
Stock footage can save tons of money on production costs

10. Editing

Feel & Pace - Long Shots, Close-Ups, Quick/Sharp Edits, Hand-Helds, etc. Organize
Effects - Don't go nuts, unless it was written in the scenario - Software Access
Editing at a Studio/Production House allows you access to more options
ONE person to edit, or an Editor with the Director - More involved will make the process longer, more expensive
Rough Edit First - Create a rough edit, interpret it, digest it, and then move on

11. Software/Hardware - Editing & Duplication

Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Adobe Premiere, etc.
Separate Hard Drive
Formats: Quicktime, Flash, Windows Media
DVDs for press and media
Broadcasters must be contacted: Beta Cam Standard Def, Digital File Formats, HD Cam, Euro/Asia - Digibeta Tape

12. Sound Effects

Can they be added without distraction? Without Controversy? Without Insult?
I.e. footsteps, crowd noises, explosions, etc.

13. Simple, done well, can be more effective than Complex Done Poorly

Download this guide in PDF format

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