View Full Version : Directing a Music Video for FILM

05-20-2005, 08:21 AM
*sorry for the long post

Hey guys.... I need a little guidence here. I need to know the process on how to "cover" a band for a music video... I know this may be too big of a question to answer but at this poitn any poitners will help.. I just directed my first music video a couple months back on Super 16mm and we had some pro's come out shoot the band. There I was with hardly any experience and these guys had been doing this stuff for 10 years... The communication barrier was pretty big... I litterally felt like I couldn't speak their language. I didn't know where too start...

Here's what I'm trying to say.. what is the best way to try and shoot a band for film? I know with the DVX you could just move the camera around to different angles and practically have the band play the song over each time. But with film its just not that practical.

I would imagine first of all already have it planned out what you want. Then start with a wide master shot of them playing the whole song and then get the singer and then the drummer... But where would you usually go after that? Like should there be certain angles where you only have them play a certain part of the song? And then if you're having the band play along with their recording you have to que it to that part of the song on the cd... See we tried to do all this and it turned out pretty decent, I just would like to know how to do it more professional next time... How do all the pros do it? And is there any other pro film forums out there that can help? Thanks guys

If you'd like to see the video I directed check it out here:

If you liked the video there's a previous post with some more info about it:

05-20-2005, 02:33 PM
I've directed two music videos and four TV shows about making Music Videos and what I've learned is that your shots need to be motivated by your story and mood. I watched your first video and it seems you have a good hold on your narritive. I wouldn't worry so much about coverage in the film sense, choose your shots based on dynamism and energy. Try moving the camera more during your performance, and then use similar movement durring the narritive so you can cut in the same direction. Begin to weave together the two lines so they seem seamless.
You can do this by integrating the performance into a similar location and ashtetic. Stay away from the wide master unless you have the camera moving, it's much more interesting too see the band composed in a dynamic way than just there, playing.
The big guys do the whole song in maybe three or four scenes/locations with the artists on the first day and then shoot the narritive without them on the second. It's rare to have an artist more than one day, although it is sometimes necessary. Usually there will be three to fiive takes of a whole song and one or two pick ups of specific places in the song that the Director felt wern't right in the whole takes. Also they usually reherse twice before shooting each scene. You may not be able to afford that much film so try and previsualize your shots durring the rehearsals. Listen to our DP he may have some insights on this as well.

J.R. Hudson
05-20-2005, 02:47 PM
What are you talking about Cody? I remember this video you made (The E.T. Vibe) and it fucking rocked. You're doing fine and you did an excelent job not only on the production but in post as well. That video is one of the more original and inspiring videos I have seen in awhile.

My .02 for future reference is:

1. Choose your comps and framing next time; alot of your band shots would have had more weight if justified left or right of frame instead of 'band guy in center'.

2. Possibly consider investing in a dolly. A moving camera would really excite the frame and the bands performance.

The only site I know of that has musicvideo emphasis is:


Dude; loved that video and look forward to your next piece.

That MV we shot of Doubleclutch was a long arduous process exactly what you are describing; Est Shot, Bass shot, Guitar shot, hand held BS shot....

I would think next-time I shoot a MV I would carefully plan out my shots; storyboards and concept so as not to have to be so redundant; maybe certain parts of the song are needed or the chorus is shot a certain way.

I'd be interested to know what a pro does.

05-21-2005, 01:49 PM
with film.. I've found that working out the timing of the track and how you visualize it first helps the process. time all the music sections - intro, verse, chorus etc. then begin to add your ideas. this should help you understand what you need and where it takes place before hand.

with film you will need to use a DIGI Slate and have a timecoded source for your playback. be sure to use the same timecode for your shot planning.

from the looks of your work you probably already know this.

on film you will find that during your sync sections you are only going to be shooting parts of the track. you probably wont have the ratio you have on tape so a clear plan based on the timing of the track is important. also set up times will be longer so plan with your AD before hand. if you have something complicated, put as much of it on paper as you can.. work with your DP, Gaffer and AD on it and try and estimate how much of the day it is going to take. putting it on paper helps you to communicate your idea and moves things along quicker. photoshop or something like it helps communicate look, tone, lighting, composition etc..

the time it takes to do things on the day is probably the big difference you will encounter with Film vs DVX.

look at the talent you are shooting ( how they perform etc.. ) and work out ahead of time how they look best. better not to waist time on the day figuring that out.

i have directed a few MVs and worked for several years as an AD on them. one thing i have found important is to make sure you allow time to cover your lead vocalist with a clear safety shot of all the vocal parts. saftey does not mean boring.. just clear. i have seen it save directors in post.

working on film is a buzz. enjoy and best of luck.

05-22-2005, 06:40 PM
thanks guys.. this all really really helps

You made me laugh out loud john. Thanks for the comment on the video.. And believe me i know it rocks.. I just know it could be even better and directed a little more efficently...

I think preparation and a specific vision is definately what I need for the next video... More closeups of the band will help as well.. a very good point - rather than just film some band playing, concentrate on the individual members more... You guys rock!!