How to Make a Music Video —

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I received an email asking how to make a music video. I may not be super qualified to answer this question because I make all kinds of other videos but that doesn’t mean you or I can not make a music video. It just means we gotta learn how to complete the task with what we have.

Here is the first part of the question:
“so as you know im trying to be a video editor but since i dont have video footage to edit 😦 i am trying to learn cinematography..do you have any advice or path as to where i could learn to be a good cinematographer/ photographer..do you have any crash course on cinematography or pointers on making a music video”

I know how you feel! I often say I will write and direct my own film just so I can edit it. I saw that I too needed to get better at my video cinematography back in 2009. I figured the best way to do this was to learn photography. I called photography the braces for camera operators. When we shoot video we are so use to moving, but with photography you have to stay still and make your shot interesting. You are now focusing on lighting, composition, exposer, the background, and the message of your photo. I challenged myself by buying a film camera. Now I only had 24 frames to use, and each one was costing me $1.50. My first major journey with film was when I traveled to Puerto Rico. Here are some of my shots.

When you get in to photography you will also learn a lot about focal length and how the lens you use is part of the story telling.

Using a fisheye lens makes thing appear distorted and from another world, it also brings focus to the center of the frame. I see this lens use a lot in music videos.
The type of lighting that is use sets up the mood. Hip hop videos love using lights, it makes things look flashy and adds contrast. Using the natural sunset light can make the video look romantic and hopeful.
The fun thing about making a music video is that anything goes. You can create a story to the song, or you can make it random. The task is to make it entertaining for the eyes and to follow the music. Some famous music videos cut every three seconds and some are of one continues shot. I’ve seen some where its just a girl singing, and others where its a party dancing. Watch videos from the 80’s and the ones of now – take notes on what you enjoyed and what you liked. Then gather all those ideas and let them inspire your own creative thoughts.

Keep in mind that when creating a music video – the more footage the better. Have fun and share what you create!

Here are some interesting examples:

multi- screens

using real elements

visual multiplication

One shot

What are your favorite music videos and why? Which ones stick out in your memory? Share them with us.

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One Day Music Video

I was asked to create a music video to the song, “Better than a Hallelujah” sung by Amy Grant, by my senior Pastor. She asked me this as she walked by my office. When I say “walked by” I mean walked by. I wasn’t sure what she had in mind for the song but the first time I listened to it I didn’t see much.

Friday she stop by to talk about the project and asked if I could have it done this weekend for the Women Conference The Rock host in the women prisons. In the back of my mind, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for this song but I smiled and let her know we would have something for her.

When Monday came around I began to think about what I should do for the song. Lately, Ive been praying before I work on a video that will be used to reach out to people. I asked God for help and the moment I did I pictured a story. I texted a friend to see if she could film the following day and began to write out my shot list (thanks to my directing class).

Tuesday, my friend text back telling me she wouldn’t be able to do the filming. So I did what any director would do when looking for actors, go on facebook. I found a young girl from my church and messaged her. She text me back and said her and her mom would love to do it. Beth and I grab our cameras and went to film at her house.

Because her mom wouldn’t be free until later in the day, we filmed all of the daughter scenes solo. When her mom got home we filmed her and then the ending we shot them together.

Today I edited the video together and put a color grade and exported it. It amazed me that I was able to get all this done in such a short amount of time. It encouraged me to do more filming like this for my personal projects. Filming downtown made me feel so alive. Its true what Robert Rodriguez said, “Don’t dream about being a film maker, you are one”

Here is the video. Enjoy.

Climbing the Mountain Cover

A few weeks ago I was at Forever 21 shopping and a song that I’d never heard of starting playing. I was taken by the lyrics and stood in the middle of the store listening.

“I can almost see it
That dream I’m dreaming but
There’s a voice inside my head sayin,
You’ll never reach it,
Every step I’m taking,
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Got to keep trying
Got to keep my head held high..”

What powerful words. I totally related with the lyrics, each dream of mine has felt so large and impossible. I began to think of my friend Erica. She is one of the young girls at church who has this amazing voice, I pictured her singing it. From the first moment I heard her sing, I thought, “She is going to sing to the nations.”

The next part of the song says,

“There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes you going to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb.”

This song was perfect for her, I saw her singing these words in an open field. A few days after I heard this song, we had dinner together. She shared some of her dreams with me and I was excited to hear that she was dreaming big for her life. After dinner I gave her a CD with this Miley Cyrus – The Climb song on it and told her, “This made me think of you, maybe you can sing it and Ill record you.” She later text me later and told me how much she loved the song and that would love to do a cover.

Well, here is the idea brought to life. I filmed with my Canon 7D and a 70-200mm lens. I wanted to keep it raw and simple. Erica did an amazing job. A big thank you to my friend Steve Hernandez for fixing my audio.