Canadian Musician - November/December 2021 | Page 11

it . There could be a moment in there of the video . And you could do a contest for your fans where they film themselves watching the video for the first time . [ Say ,] ‘ Don ’ t give away the ending . But I want to see your reaction when you discover the ending . Then send me that or post it as an Instagram Reel with a hashtag .’”
But what about actually making and funding the video ? When planning to shoot a new DIY music video , Herstand emphasizes the significance of keeping your costs down as much as possible while concentrating on the quality . A rushed job will only add to one ’ s woes down the line , so a quick turnaround may not be an ideal measure of success .
“ I would create a master budget that will include everything . I always talk about the 50 / 50 rule . This is something that I employ that I encourage every artist to use . That is , 50 % of your time and money should be spent on the art , the craft , the creation of that art , and 50 % needs to be spent on the marketing and promotion of that art ,” Herstand explains .
He also shares his wisdom on how dealing with limited resources or budgets can help people find more creative ways of conceptualizing their ideas . “ It ’ s not going to be something where it ’ s like a traditional music video ; a high-production music video with a production company and a massive budget . It works very linearly . Traditional music videos are like traditional TV shows or movies . You come up with a storyboard , the concept , the script , you cast it , you ’ d location scout it . Then you hire the director of the film and the production team , etc . It ’ s very linear . There ’ s a very distinct process with this . You ’ re not going to be able to be on set coming up with cool shots and concepts that you ’ re going to create in the moment — and that ’ s great . That ’ s going to be the magic of [ DIY ].”
Platforms such as Peerspace can offer cheap rental locations . Herstand himself hired a location for as low as $ 50 an hour for one his own video shoots , and spent nearly four hours filming scenes for a fraction of the usual price .
And to fill any needed jobs , from camera operators to lighting to editing and so on , networking is essential . The people you ’ re working with need to be skilled , but they don ’ t necessarily need to be professionals . Forming rapports and connections with people who understand the passion behind your project , your vision , and your drive and are ready to help you capture that on film is a huge tick mark on the checklist . According to Herstand , a good director of photography and an editor can make a world of a difference with respect to the quality of your music video . So , to put it succinctly , start gathering your production crew .
The technical gear definitely plays a factor in putting together a quality video , but you don ’ t need to buy or rent expensive cameras anymore . Herstand points out how artist Jack Conte just used his iPhone camera to shoot an entire music video ( in 2013 !) that clocked millions of views . DSLRs are not too shabby , and they can definitely help in imagining some great video . “ Look at Vulfpeck . They make their videos as if they got someone with an iPhone filming their recording session and it ’ s one take and they typically make most of their songs recorded as one take . I don ’ t want to call it low quality , but it ’ s a one-take , grainy looking video , and it works for them . That ’ s their aesthetic ; it ’ s really cool . And those videos blew up because they ’ re there . It matches the essence perfectly of who they are and what they do . They are a band of monster musicians and they appeal to musicians .”
Artists can also consider collaborating with film students who often have access to expensive equipment and sound stages at their college or university . There ’ s always a possibility of getting them to act as interns , extras , actors , or crew , which only adds to a more enriching experience that is beneficial for both the students ’ learning and the musician ’ s final product .
Crucially , remember that good lighting makes for good video . iPhones , for instance , work at their best when they are used to record footage in broad daylight . Herstand says you can save a lot of money on a lighting rig by simply shooting outside , like he did for his “ Home Tonight ” video .
Ultimately , it all comes down to the edit . If you ’ re a DIY creator , Herstand advises that you must master a video editing software , such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro , to churn out a quality cut of your video . That said , “ There are apps out there where you can literally edit video on your phone . So , you don ’ t need to
be a pro video editor .” If this is not something that is up your street , one can always rely on hiring an editor who ’ s adept at putting the finishes touches to your montage .
In terms of performance , do not forget to practice your lip syncing ! If your vocal or instrumental performance in the music video does not perfectly match the studio recording , this can add to a “ jarring experience ” for the viewer . Practice every word , breath , vocal inflection , hand movement , playing technique , expression , and feeling that needs to be captured on camera to give your performance a voice . Acting on cue in front of the camera can be unnatural , according to Herstand , and thus in many ways the actions , cues , emotions , and the body language has to be well thought-out . Also , have a good speaker on set ! You need to hear that track in order to lip sync to it .
“ We know movies aren ’ t real . But it ’ s fun to get into that world . And there are things that will rip you out of that world and bring you less enjoyment , and catapult you back down to reality , if you don ’ t check off these very easy boxes , like learning how to lip sync your own song .”
Most importantly for Herstand , though , is that no amount of money spent on a video can make up for a dismal song . But if the song ’ s a gem — no matter what resources were used for the video — if the video does not do add to the song or takes something away from it , it ’ s just not worth the time . Conversely , Herstand concludes , “ When you show your fans and potential fans that you are investing in this project with a high-production-value music video , it gives it weight . It shows that you care enough about this project to invest in it ”
Ahmed Haroon is an Editorial & Content Assistant at Canadian Musician .