A week ago today we released our official music video for ‘Kick It’, the second video we’ve done for the EP Own Your Ocean. Embarking on making videos is a newer thing for us as a band and has definitely been a learning process. So here are some of the lessons we’ve learned from the DIY music video process.
- Plan ahead – ok this one is super obvious and applies to any project no matter what you’re doing but it’s still worth talking about ESPECIALLY if you don’t have a huge budget. Kevin and Valdemar did a TON of planning for the video including scouting the location, storyboarding, shot planning, diagraming lighting, and making props. Our videographer was super involved in these stages too but going into the shoot with a clear vision was essential for getting it done on time.
- Make your budget – Our budget for this video was basically zero. We always believe in appreciating our team though so big thanks to Faith Lucille, Danny Perales, and Shaelah Jeanne! We love doing work trades for people and have done everything from recording and mixing to artwork and logistics for some of the people we work with to thank them for their help on our projects. It is still good to have an idea of what you can afford and try to find some help doing some of the pieces you have utterly no experience with. We definitely paid our editor the most out of the team as she had the most experience with music videos (although she took a big paycut, thank you so much Minea Herwitz!) We did have a small budget for equipment that we spent on work lights and spray paint at Home Depot
- Learn best practices – Our first video was for our single 1000 years and was a much more involved shoot with a lot of story. Because no one in Direct Divide had ever done a video shoot, short film, or anything of the kind before we made sure we had a much bigger budget to hire a filmmaker and team. This was awesome because while we were in the thick of things with the film crew we learned a lot about the planning steps, camera shots, and how many takes you had to get to come up with enough usable footage. This made doing our video DIY so much easier, especially since we could come back to the same team for editing and know what they needed. If you don’t have a big initial budget, see if you can volunteer on a set for another band or do a work trade with a local filmmaker to get the gist of how video shoots go.
- Details matter – We came up with a red color scheme for our video and made sure to plan out where we were going to be standing, how to get power to that area, and how to light it. Adding extra pops of red in the drums, cymbals, and drum sticks so they matched the violin, mic, keys, and guitar strings totally helped tie the video together visually – HUGE payoff for fairly easy and minimal work.
- Shooting in the dark sucks – It turns out that when little or no light is available for the camera, it is much harder to keep shots in focus. Although there seemed like plenty of available light to our eyes (they adjust way more than cameras do) always check the footage you’re getting as you go to make sure you’re not wasting your time trying to get night shots that just aren’t working out.
- Everything is going to take WAY longer than you think – We started our shoot at 7pm (right at dusk) and ended up wrapping at around 11pm because our neighbors started screaming at us. In four hours of shooting one three-minute song (over and over) we still came out with barely enough workable footage to make the video as awesome and dramatic as we wanted. When we did the 1000 years video we shot from 9am – 12am with only a few breaks due to all the location changes. Paring down on how complicated your video is will help you a lot with keeping your shoot on schedule. – especially if you are trying to get it all done in one day.
- B-roll rocks – Always take B-roll if you can. Explore the space you’re performing in, get close shots, get funky angles, get transition shots into and away from the band. Cutting away to B roll for a split second can make a slightly flawed shot really work. Extra footage of the area also helps set the location and mood of the video and close up shots of instruments or props can also be a nice break from just watching the performers.
- Have Fun – You’re making a music video – you’re supposed to be having a blast. If the performers don’t look like their having fun it’s going to turn out dour and crappy. If the videographer and staff aren’t having fun they’re going to get sloppy and your shots won’t turn out well. Don’t let any personal friction stop you, arguments in artistically tense situations are pretty normal. Just keep remembering what you’re there to do and make some awesome art.
For the Kick It Video, we went with practical lighting. Practical as in we had $0 and had Danny run around the band with a light to create that movement of light effect. A wise man told us: 'You are only as good as your team'! Thanks Danny P
Posted by Direct Divide on Thursday, September 24, 2015
Now you’re ready to actually begin shooting your video! Here’s what you need to know while you’re in the trenches.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post! If you haven’t seen our video for Kick It yet, check it out below!