A great music video is critical if you have a recorded song that you want to be commercially successful. A music video is one of the most effective ways to get your music into the minds and ears of potential fans.
When creating a music video, it's possible to just "make it up" as you go along. However, the music video will be better and the process smoother (and less expensive) if you create a plan first. A good music video plan helps you figure out what you need before you need it.
Any film or video will go through three basic phases: pre-production, production, and post-production.
- Pre-production happens before any shooting happens. It is when you try to plan for and anticipate any needs that you will have during the shoot.
- Production refers to the actual shooting of the film or video.
- Post-production includes editing as well as the other steps involved in getting your raw footage out to the world as a finished product.
When doing music video planning, write down as much detail as you can for each of the video Pre-production components below. Consider them in terms of the video Production roles. For example, who on the Crew will do the lighting, with what Equipment, paid for how (Budget), transported how (Logistics), etc. Also plan and write down what you will do for each of the Post-production steps.
- Pre-production: What happens before you shoot.
- Treatment: A brief description of your music video. (For brainstorming ideas, check out the Music Video Ideas page.)
- Cast: Who appears in front of the camera.
- Crew: Who is behind the camera, particularly for each one of the Production roles listed below.
- Art and effects: Makeup, costumes, props, backdrops, special effects, etc.
- Location(s): Where you shoot the music video.
- Equipment: Cameras, lenses, batteries, audio equipment, lights, dollies, filters, etc.
- Logistics: How you get to and from the location, including carrying cases and damage protection, as well as power needs, weather protection, etc.
- Budget: How much everything is going to cost.
- Schedule: When you will do the preparation, shooting and post-production.
- Permissions and releases: For locations and cast.
- Storyboards: Drawing depicting the different scenes of the music video.
- Shot list: What shots you need, and in what order.
- Production: What happens when you shoot.
- Art and effects
- Producing on location (logistics, budget, permissions, etc.)
- Post-production: After the filming is over.
- Workflow & media management: How to keep track of all the footage, audio files, etc., on what media, including backups.
- Editing: Putting the scenes together.
- Titles, graphics and effects: Adding post-shoot elements to your video.
- Authoring: Creating the final video files, DVDs, etc.
- Distribution: Getting it out to the world.
This just give you the basic overview. To get some ideas for your Treatment (the first step), try the brainstorming exercises on the Music Video Ideas page.