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Grooving with the Camera: How to Make a Music Video By: Madilyn Wallace (Age: 15)

In this day in age, music artists and bands such as Katy Perry and Maroon 5 have relied on a unique way to advertise themselves: music videos. These short recordings might be stunning to the eyes, but there is a process through all of the work that must be done to get it to the quality it ends up at. Before I begin, I want to thank my teacher Allison Bruning for giving me a chance to write on this blog. Let’s go through how a music video is made!

One of the first steps to making a wonderful video is to plan it all out. You will have to listen to the song in question plenty of times before you make your script and dances for the video. Also, even though costumes and props have to be made, the budget is very important as well. A huge budget will allow for more on factors like cameras (which can easily be $799 to $1200), actors (at least $100 a day per actor), transportation, and food. Not to mention, you have to negotiate for where you will be filming the whole production, whether it’s from one not-so-busy location to three. Now, if you don’t have such a big budget, you’ll be limited on this project.

With your camera at the ready and the lens focused on the actors, it’s time to film! If you make mistakes or have any outtakes, you can choose if you want to put these in the final product. Hopefully your crew is ready for the lights, camera, and action that must go on. It can take one day or multiple sessions depending on all that has to happen. Filming multiple times at different angles can help lessen the time you need during editing. If your camera comes with a timecode (it shows the hour, minute, second, and frame), you also will have more time to perfect your masterpiece and can spend less time on trying to find the right video.

Well, now to import your sweet baby onto a computer to edit it. You can import your file either by a Firewire cable or with a memory card, and you should preferably put your project on its own hard day. Once it’s on the computer, it’s best to compress the file, or else it will take too much of the CPU to work. After that, use non-linear editing software to access wherever you want in the video without having to start at the very beginning. Work on the audio from the original song before putting the video in.


In the software, you can work on perfecting your keyframes (frames that mark the start and end of an action) and correct colors and grading. This may be common sense here, but go through your music video multiple times before you send it off to export. When exporting it, you have several formats to choose from. These are HDTV, PAL, or NTSC TV. This probably won’t get too technical on which format to use for whatever situation, but they all have their moments.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s rock music or pop, because the formula for music videos works the same. If you’re trying to work on a music video for yourself or for someone else, remember that you may not get it on the first try. It may take a lot of creativity and effort, but it will be worth it. However, no matter what, go film out there and have fun!

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