Shooting a Music Video on Location

by | May 13, 2021 | Art Direction, Filmmaking, Music Videos

Shooting a Music Video on Location

I recommend any new filmmaker looking to build your skill set and portfolio, to film a music video. They are a great way to experiment with a handful of elements of filmmaking even with small or non-existent budgets, some of which are — fleshing out a concept or idea, camera angles and composition, lighting techniques, different lenses and focal lengths, colors and camera movement — to name a few. What’s inspiring about them is a lot of well known feature film directors also learned by directing music videos before becoming the well known Hollywood directors they eventually became.

How to find a music video client

I mention this in the tutorial video above, but for this music video, Khayla reached out to me after seeing my work on Instagram. So first off, having a well curated Instagram is a great way to attract new clients. However, if you are just starting out and don’t have a large portfolio of work yet to share, you can use Instagram to seek out musicians. And a great way to do this is to use Spotify to discover new artists. Once you find a song you dig, look up the artist on Instagram and reach out to them. In the event they don’t respond, don’t take no for an answer or let that get you down. Just go ahead and make a music video for the track. I’m a big believer in getting things done. Act first, apologize later.

Shooting on Location

If you are working with a smaller budget, which you should be doing when you are starting out, using a great location can elevate the production value of your video. There are a couple of things to keep in mind though if you are using a public space:

  1. Scout the location. I recommend going to the location both during the week and on a weekend so you can see how many people are in the space. You’ll want to select a day with less people to avoid people wandering around the background.
  2. Remote areas are better. The more remote a location, the less people you’ll have to worry about. If you go further out of the city, the less people tend to mind if you use the space. I like going to suburbs or natural ares like parks or forests.
  3. Find where you’ll park before hand. Some public spaces have parking areas that are far away from where you will shoot. Planning ahead of time a place where you can park your car as close to the space as possible will save you time and energy on the day of the shoot.

Useful Gear When Shooting a Music Video on Location

This was also mentioned in the tutorial above, but a one man tent purchasable online allows your talent to do multiple wardrobe changes without having to go back to the car. This was a gem when we filmed down in a Redwood grove as we had to park quite far from the place we filmed.

Another super helpful piece of gear to have is a small cooler to hold water and snacks. Especially on a hot day, a cooler that can even hold 6 bottles can keep you and your talents energy levels up.

And finally, bring a small Bluetooth speaker for playback. This is something you can hide behind a tree so its out of frame, but the singer can still hear it. Or you can put it in a side-pocket of your camera bag while you wear it.

Watch the tutorial for more information

I cover in greater detail tips on how to actually shoot the video, how to hide people in the background as well as ideas on how to simplify your shoot in order to make it look much more expensive that it actually is.