Making a music video

Making a Music Video

The making of a music video is often far more complicated than expected when the intention to get behind a camera and shoot an idea first enters your head. We recently produced a music video for Four Authors’ single, The City. This was probably our most in depth visual project to date; which involved hours of time-lapse footage , hiring in projectors, and filming and editing two videos to create the finished piece.

Take a look at our video where we discuss the four stages of a music video project: Concept – Planning – Filming – Editing

A simple Concept.

The song is about a city coming alive at night. Our concept for the video was simple, create a library of time-lapse footage showing busy city life at night, then edit this down to create a video as long as the song. This video would then be projected on a giant screen behind the band whilst they performed, using full screen time-lapse shots as cut away scenes. Simple enough in planning but this actually means producing two full videos to create the final cut.

Time-lapse footage requires patience.

As we decided to film city life at night there were limited hours where the lighting conditions would be dark enough to produce consistent footage but there would be enough traffic or people to look busy. Luckily this shoot took place in the winter months and it got dark early enough to capture rush hour traffic. I’m not sure this concept would be feasible in the summer months. Over several evenings in Leeds, Barnsley, Sheffield, and various motorway bridges we were out filming for nearly 23 hours.

To build a library of time-lapse footage big enough create a 3 minute 20 seconds edit took hours. It worked out that around 8 minutes of filming would produce 10 seconds of footage. Not every shot will be used for the full 10 seconds either, so we actually needed more like 4 or 5 minutes of footage to be able to bring into the edit if needed. Each shot also has the added time of finding a good location, with crowds, or an interesting vantage point, setting the equipment up and then turning the camera on. Then we need to pack down and walk around to find our next location, meaning each shot realistically took more like 20 minutes.

The main performance shoot was somewhat simpler. Find a good sized room to build our set in and hire in a large screen and projector. One thing to keep in mind is the projected image has to be bright enough to show up clearly over the lights used on set to highlight the performers. We made sure to hire a projector with a high lumens figure (basically, it’s a bright bulb in the projector) to ensure the time-lapse video projected behind the band was clear.

Spend your budget wisely.

As highlighted in the video above, we chose a simple concept and put the bulk of our budget into a few things that would make the video stand out. Our investments were in time, to film time lapse footage, and hiring the right equipment to pull off the band shoot (projector, screen etc). This is probably one of the main tips I’d give to all bands creating music videos, either with a company such as ourselves on side, or independently. Keep your concept simple, focus on the key element of your concept and invest your budget there. One thing done really well will always look better than spreading your budget too thin and trying to pack a feature length production within a 3 minute video.

Check out the full video below and get in contact if you’d like to work with us on your next video.