How to shoot a music video for your band

You need a video to play the summer festivals, local bars and to be recognized as a top level band.  Music videos are a blast to make and allow filmmakers to push the boundaries. The best thing about making music videos is there are no rules.
Everyone wants to make the next big Ok Go video that is the biggest viral video for $500 by being kitchy or quirky or on the flip side bands want a $1000000 production for $500.  The best advice is just be genuine and authentic.  Videos are a visual expression of your song. I would not recommend being kitchy if you are a blues band.  Stay in the emotional field of your genre and try to convey the passion and emotion of your song.
Locations can make or break your shoot.  Things to keep in mind is what time you are shooting.  If you are shooting in the day or the night go there at the time you intend to shoot and see what is going on.  Check the web and see if there is an art show that weekend.  Then make a back up location and another back up location.  Walk throughout the space and visualize what you are going to be doing and how you are going to do it.  Remember your song probably has three acts.  You need to create 3 scenes plus the chorus.  Most video have a strong first scene and then repeat the same visual scene for verse two and three.  Not very strong.  Your song probably starts telling a story and by the end it is the climax or emotional outlay followed by a built up chorus.  Your video should be the same way.  Start out telling the ground work of the story and then build the energy.  In some rare cases jumping all around and being crazy for three minutes work.  Very rare.

Don’t worry about the visual effects.  If you have the budget you can buy them and if you don’t , its not a problem.  There is a lot of software out there and that can create really cool visuals for cheap.  The important thing is getting the scene right in the first place.  You need to have the emotion and passion for each take.  You are a performer, it is your time to act and to shine.
Lighting is everything.  You will need to provide your own stage lighting unless your budget is extensive.  Most video production companies can provide stage lighting and moving heads but they will rent them and hire an operator and then add an additional fee to you.  Try to get real lights not LED.  The LEDs flicker and they are always sharp.  Real halogens and old par cans create a rich warm light that can not be duplicated.  Most bands have LED and there are ways to adapt the camera shutters to compensate for flicker.  Most videos do not need a lot of lights, and if you do cut in live footage of your band playing at the arena to give the big rockstar look.
It is really hard to get a massive crowd to shoot a video.  It also takes a long time and a lot of money.  Things to think about.  Massive crowd shots take hours.  You will need facilities like restrooms.  You will need to provide food and water for them, especially if you are shooting on a hot summer day.  Shelter if the weather looks to be volatile. Transportation is the location is remote. After all of that you have to hope they all show up.  If you have 100 die hard fans.  10 will show up.  It is better to save the big shots for live shows.  The energy is always better.  WIth a lot of camera tricks and angles filmmakers can make 5-10 people look like a huge crowd.  Thats the magic of filmmaking.
Collaboration is key to successful filmmaking.  When hiring a videographer it is essential to remember that you are adding an additional member to your creative group for this one project.  Make sure you like and enjoy working with this person and that the energy is good.
Have fun making your next video.

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