Three Independent Artists Offer DIY Music Video Production Tips


Even if you don’t have the backing of a major studio, there’s no reason your DIY music video can’t be due highest quality. Right here three independent artists share tips on creating a professional looking video to accompany your latest musical release.


Guest post by Chris Robley on The Handyman Musician

A behind-the-curtain look at three DIY music videos

Between CD Baby and Illustrated Sound (CD Baby’s new YouTube network), we hear a lot of artists releasing cool music videos.

From time to time, I’ll share a handful of highlights as well as artist or director comments on the video production, in the hopes that this can inspire or inform your next music video project.

As you watch them, remember that just because you’re a DIY musician doesn’t mean you can’t work with professionals for all aspects of your video production: videography, editing, set design, etc.

So, let’s take a look. Below the embedded videos are comments from each of the artists on set.

“Actually, I didn’t have a well-thought-out plan. My best music video efforts are due to not planning too much in advance. What I got (what I think is key) is a very real, communicable SENSE at the heart of the video.

I had a brand new Canon 70D that a videographer friend recommended as a low level pro camera. Several people who love me have come together to give it to me for Christmas. I love I love I love.

I knew I wanted to release a video for my official cover of “You Belong to Me”. For me, it was how much I missed my kids on tour. So I took my kids to a cool place, we filmed hanging out. Filmed me driving to and from the location fixing the camera in place on the passenger seat. Filmed me entering a nearby venue. Took touching little bits of me with the kids at home doing our normal stuff.

I just kept my mind open (for a few days) catching little snippets of things around the house, framing the script better.

Then I loaded everything into iMovie. The key to a good edit, if you ask me, is short snippets. BUT you also need to make sure it doesn’t feel too sporadic unless you’re looking for that feeling. So you have to make sure there is continuity in the storyline and the visuals. I recommend no more than 4 different theme/scene setups. And be very clear about what each section of the video communicates on an emotional level. For example, the music video I’m working on right now has this emotional story: SHAME – DESIRE – RELEASE – FREEDOM – BLISS. It’s a pretty classic story. But the clearer I am about the emotion of each scene, the more people can get carried away.

And there should always be a goosebumps moment: a plot or just an awe-inspiring moment that strikes people in the heart and/or guts.

You got this, guys. Go do something inspiring. Go do something that changes the world. –Alyse Black

“Today, you have to know a bit of everything. The days when you were just a writer, singer, etc. is over. When it comes to video production, the first thing to do is to plan your ideas. Then start searching for locations in your area.

If you’re working on a low budget or not at all, there are plenty of visually appealing and free places to use if you look hard enough. Often there is a great location, but the problem is that it’s a business, like a store front. You can easily ask the business owner if you can spin there and in exchange they get free promotion from their place.

If you need extras, get your friends and family involved.

The biggest cost is shooting and editing the video. We recommend buying your own equipment as it will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you’re serious about music, take the time to learn simple video editing and production techniques. Learn the basics of proper lighting and camera framing. It will make you and your group self-sufficient. Or the other option, find a film student who wants to expand their portfolio by filming your videos. – Kinto Sol

“My process is quite simple. It starts with the music and really focuses on creating the album you want to drive. For me, that’s the easy part because I produce and engineer all my own music.

Next, you need to figure out what your budget is for the project – marketing, merchandise, videos, etc. Once the music and all the work is done and the budget is set, I focus on what the singles will be.

Once this is decided, you need to determine who will be the director for your visuals. I started by looking at the visuals of my peers and the ones they were using locally. I found that in Portland, Oregon, Tim Slew from Soundlapse media was the best choice for what I wanted to present to the world.

Then begin meetings with the director to give him an overview of your vision for each song. For my song “5 Letters,” I really wanted to tell a story about us doing better, but I also wanted to keep it a bit upbeat.

Once we decided on the direction of the video, we scouted the locations and once the locations were selected, we made a timeline for each scene. The last step is to plan the shoot and figure out any additional parts you need, like extras, props, etc. – InfinitRakz


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