Creating a music video for a band may seem like a knock out job for any film maker. But rarely is that the case. A music video, as with any other film, needs attention to detail in order for it to work in its genre and for its target audience. Many music video productions suffer under the strain of tight schedules and limited budgets. So here, at Good Eye Deer, we’ve come up with a few solutions for producing a top quality music video on a low budget.
The key is collaboration between the filmmakers and the musicians.
To show you some of the common challenges a film maker must overcome when creating a music video, we will use the example of a recent shoot that we did with Newcastle’s screamer-rock band Roses For Raychael.
The requirements and limitation of this shoot were:
– The video must appeal to a teenage audience
– Match the style of film clips in the same genre
– Use the image/theme of a puppet somewhere in the film (as desired by the band)
– Time was restricted to a one-day shoot
– Limited budget for sets/props & venue hire
In order to complete the Roses For Raychael music video under the restrictions outlined, we came together with Roses For Raychael to co-produce the film clip. The more hands you have in such a tight production, the easier it is to achieve results. This involved a number of in-depth creative discussions with the band well before we set about to film.
We talked about what the band wished to achieved and how we could achieve that together.
Good Eye Deer’s producer, Olivia Olley set tasks for the band members. Olley wrote a list of what would be required from the band in order to turn the video concept into a reality. The band was responsible for lights, smoke machine, sourcing a location, venue hire fees, catering, costume and make up. To ensure the creative vision was met, Olley met with the band for costume checks, make-up test, and rehearsal with the actors.
By refining all details in pre-production, you allow for an easier shoot-day.
What to talk about in the development stage:
Knowing your band’s target audience will enhance your chances of engaging with the audience – lets face it, audience engagement is the most important thing. In the case of Roses For Raychael, the majority of their followers were teenage girls (and a myriad of other online followers) who had not seen the band perform a live gig. Therefore the music video needed to show off the bands skills to the fans.
Style and Aesthetics
To develop an artistic style for the video-clip, we asked the band to provide us with three examples of music videos in their genre that their target audience would likely respond to. From those examples, we saw a pattern – there was a mix of fast cuts showing off the band performing, and (often) a ‘sub-narrative’ to support the song. The supporting narrative was something Roses For Raychael desired. We concluded that if we can film the sub-narrative in the same location as filming the band’s performance, we could produce something on time and on budget.
For the Roses for Raychael clip we pulled apart the lyrics of the song and discovered that it was a song about betrayal and manipulation. Analysing the meaning behind a song and thinking about the story will allow you, as the filmmaker, to make a film-clip flow; sustaining interest for the audience. For some bands, a collage of images with no meaning attached will appeal, however for this Newcastle band, they wanted a clip that emulated the song. Together, the band members and the creative team at Good Eye Deer devised a sub-narrative where the ‘girlfriend’ will turn the lead singer into a puppet.
The hardcore nature of the Roses For Raychael song meant that static camera work would be fruitless in producing the energy needed to maintain interest in the clip. We therefore moved the camera wildly for the master shot; and maintained steady movement for all pick-ups. Each band member had his own master shot – the front-man, Tye Green had about 3x more coverage than other band members. The greater amount of the coverage and multiple angles you take, the more choice you have in the edit.
However in saying this, we decided not to shoot with two cameras, rather we had a dedicated camera assistant to help ensure the quality of the recorded images – remember, quality is always better than quantity. So make quality your priority.
Also, in order to be time effective, we planned specific shots for the puppet sub-narrative. Instead of filing long sequences of the girl with the puppet, we filmed specific actions that we knew we needed to visually progress the story-line.
– Bands may have limited funds, but they are not short on time. Most are willing to put in the legwork themselves. So get them to help you.
– Listen to who the band is, what they want, and work within the parameters of the budget to deliver what they need.
– Research your band, their music genre, and their target audience.
– Be realistic about time – filmmaking is time consuming – so delegate tasks and don’t overcommit.
– Be prepared. The development and pre-production process is vital to ensuring a quality product.
– Communicate with your crew before the shoot so everyone is on the same page, and so you can all be focused on the job.
– Have fun! Creativity is everything. The more you creatively explore, the better it will be.
To see how we combined the techniques and artistic ideas for this music video, go to: www.goodeyedeer.com.au/rosesforraychaelTweet