First off you need the track, it could be from a client, it could be from a friend, it could be yours. The track will inspire the music video; be it the narrative, visuals, theme, all of the above or something that has nothing to do with the song but still works. With the genre of music you will be aware of conventions; some you may want to follow, others you wont.
Knowing the track inside and out is important; not just to get a feel for it but to know the peaks and troughs of the song which may articulate how it’s put together. Additionally I’ve found knowing the length of the track helps to get an idea of how much work the video will be; a standard 3 minute song or an epic 6 minute ballad.
What’s the song about? How does it make you feel? How do you want people to feel? There are lots of ways to go about coming up with ideas and to be honest everyone does it differently. Me I just listen to the track and see where it takes me. The thing about ideas is that they are unique to people’s interests and styles so you’re always coming from somewhere different to someone else.
The conception of your idea can start with an image, an idea, a scene; to be honest it doesn’t matter because the hardest thing to do is start and to get started all you need is an idea. That idea leads to more ideas that grow and grow until you have your music video. Now, one of the best things about ideas is that you get to change them, some elements might work better than others while adding more content works better in other scenarios. You haven’t shot anything yet so the best thing to be is flexible and maybe share your ideas with a friend of similar interests.
This is where you have to take what’s in your head and put it in someone else’s, there are many approaches to this but the right one is whichever one gets your point across. It’s your idea, you get it, you’re passionate about it but it’s important that other people, a client for example, understand it. The main methods of approaching a treatment is to focus on: video links with relevant notes for areas of focus, a descriptive outline of the video, a creative collage of images called a Mood Board or all of the above.
The treatment is also a good way to see how your ideas merge together and gives people the opportunity change things that don’t work as well as others because once the treatment is greenlit that is what you will shoot (although there is always space for innovation if it benefits the production).
You know what you need to shoot your music video production; now you need to figure out how to put it together. Crew, cast, dancers, props, locations. What do you need and don’t need. Me? I stick with a crew I’ve worked with before, makes a much smoother shoot. Dates and availability plus the delivery date play a major part here as you may have to make some compromises in order to get the best result on time. If your favourite DOP isn’t available but the artist can only shoot on that day then you’ll just have to find another.
Planning, planning and more planning. The better you plan for your shoot which includes call sheets, shot lists, shoot schedules and any other useful information the smoother your shoot day will be.
Thanks for listening. Watch this space for “Best ways to get the best out of your shoot day” and “It’s all in the edit”
Tai Campbell, Creative Director, Epik Music Videos
EPiK Music Videos is a London based music video production company based in South London close to Camberwell. EPiK work with a diverse group of music video directors, each with the own style and individuality. We have made videos for some hard rocking dudes, British Indian heart throbs and many varieties in between.