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Shooting A Professional Music Video - A Look Inside

1In this interview with Jon Farley of the high-end music video production group The Famous Company, he answers questions about what goes into what an artist should know and prepare when looking to have professional music video made, and how to identify if a high-end production is something they're ready to invest in.

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Guest post from the ReverbNation Blog

Ever dreamed about making your own music video? Or wondered how you even go about making a professional music video? We spoke with Jon Farley from The Famous Company about what it’s like to make a music video. They are currently running an opportunity with us, where one ReverbNation artist will be selected for a free one-day location music video in or near London, UK.

The Famous Company provides bespoke high-end services that can be tailored to meet your needs whether you’re a label, manager, artist, or anyone wanting to build a career in the music business. Check out the interview below and find out how to prepare for making your first music video:

How does an artist know they are ready to invest in a high-end music video?

An artist would usually have lots of original material recorded, they would have perfected their sound in the studio, and have a good idea about their identity as an artist. Once they’ve got all of this nailed down and they’ve started building an online presence, one of the best ways to push one of their tracks is to create a music video. It can bring a song to life and give audiences a visual that they can relate to and a way to connect with an artist. In terms of being ready an artist should make sure that visually they’ve developed a style that works for them as an artist. If they don’t feature in their video, then they need to make sure it’s engaging as possible and if it’s based around a narrative, that it fits with their song.

What should they look for in a video production company?

An artist should make sure that they work with people who understand both them as an artist and the type of video they want to achieve. They need to understand the artist’s music and ideas, and work collaboratively with the artist on a video that works for their music. Less can often be more when it comes to music videos, some of the best videos out there are based on the most simplest ideas. Remember you’re not making a feature film here.

What does the process of putting a music video together look like?

The process will start with directors responding to a brief sent out by the artist. That brief could be complex, full of all sorts of ideas from the artist and their management or vague and as simple as possible. The director will then put together a treatment and together the artist (or their management) will both work out the logistics of the production, a timeline for the video, a shooting schedule, and shot list. After shooting, it’s a case of the editor working through the rushes (footage from the day) and piecing the video together in sequences. It then gets colour graded and then any visual effects are added at the end.

How should an artist prepare for shooting a music video?

Whether it’s just a performance video or led by a narrative, the artist is essentially acting and like any other actor or actress they need to get rehearsing. Whether that’s in the mirror miming the track to themselves or recording their movements on their phone. If the artist is not using a stylist or hair and make up, then they need to have all of that sorted out ready for the shoot. An artist needs be as practiced and prepared as possible just like they would for a live gig. Remember on the day, whilst there may be time for retakes, on the day they only have that one chance.

What should the artist expect on shooting day?

2Music videos are often not as glamorous as they can be painted out to be. It requires a long day or two of shooting the same thing over and over again. If an artist is shooting in a studio, then that’s nice for them to have the comfort of being indoors, but if they’re outside on location then that’s often tougher. Depending on the budget, crew sizes can vary from just the artist and a videographer or a small production unit. An artist should expect to be asked to do the same thing over and over again and prepare to give 100% whether that’s shooting at 6am after waking up at 3am or at 9pm after shooting for 10 hours.

What are you looking for when selecting an artist for this opportunity?

Our artists approach us to make a music video rather than the other way around. However, we will always make sure that an artist has perfected their sound and have developed a visual identity as an artist. We will make sure that they’re ready to be in front of camera and if not we will develop ideas with them using actors. We can help them select which song to make a video to and we will always sit down and talk about their ideas and their inspiration and what they’re comfortable with so that they have the best experience possible.

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