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Making Your Music Video

Is a polished & professional music video always worth making?

The hit a cappella group Basix has just completed production of their first dramatically themed music video.

We’ve caught up with their musical director John Kjøller ask him about the perils and opportunities of polished music videos.

Why this video? Why now?
Basically, we did this to help create some “buzz” prior to the release of our new album. The title of the featured song is “sommersang” = summer song – the idea is to help people get into the mood of the season.

Why make a music video rather than a less-expensive, less-produced YouYube performance?
A less produced video can be great as well! This polished video is really an experiment for us, to see if we can generate new/different interest in Basix. Honestly, it’s too early to tell if it will be a success.

How are you “pushing” this video?
So far just on YouTube. But we’re also going to send it to TV stations across the country – especially local stations, in each of our neighborhoods. Local “heros” are always interesting during summer, when there may be no “real” news. :-D

How much do you have to pay for a quality production?
A polished production is fairly expensive. Prices will vary from country to country, and will also be dependent on the kind of equipment you will need for your video. Our video was actually shot with one camera – not the most expensive one, but a good one.

Getting low for the perfect shot!

Is there any way to cut costs without cutting quality?
We also needed a live-video for promotional use / bookings – so we made sort of a “package-deal” with the video-guy, to make both live video and music video for an agreed price.

How do you find the people to help you do this?
Our video guy is a photographer as well, and he as taken pictures of us before, so we knew him and he knew us. :-) The “actors” in the video are actually “real” actors/performers -but they are also people that we know as friends (actually, the female lead is Christoffer’s girlfriend).

What have your learned through this experience?
That it is not a good idea to release a summer-song in late July! Everybody is away on vacation – or outside – not next to their computer. We should have released this in May. Other vocalists may want to think through the issue of release dates.

What kinds of things would you warn fellow vocalists about when making a music video?
If you choose to lip-sync, make sure to actually sing while you do it. Don’t “save your voice” or try to look “relaxed”. You can tell immediately when the amount of “power” doesn’t match the sound. Of course, you can choose the “relaxed” look – if you don’t want the clip to actually look like you are singing. Also: study the recording carefully, so you get your timing right.

The Director looking at the Storyboards with the Actors

How does having a more polished music video help you in your marketing?
A polished video doesn’t actually do much for the live-booking aspect of our PR. You see, bookers and promoters need to see what we look like, how we do things, how we sound for real, and how the audience responds to us – a live video is much more relevant. So, the polished video is for our fans, to give them something that they can share with others.

Should all singers try to make a polished video ‘production’?
I think VoiceCouncil readers should really think hard on this one. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a lot of fun to make this – and I love the result. I even think we may do it again! But I’m not sure how much we actually gain from this – the jury is still out. If you take this route, ensure you have a strong idea, a plan and a storyboard.

What should vocalists spend their money on?
If you are focusing on getting more live performance gigs, I would encourage you to spend your money on good live video material – rather than a polished “rock video”.

With a grand total of 4 international CARA awards, including “Best European Album” and “Best Holiday Album” the Danish vocal pop group Basix has proven themselves to be among the very best of a cappella groups worldwide. Follow the group on www.basix.dk or on www.facebook.com/basix

  • Gro

    I like the idea of low budget productions, but still, the storyboard has to be really good. In Basix case, it is not, I’m afraid.

  • HQ89

    This is useful
    advice, especially when considering between live and production videos. I agree
    with your point about live videos being more useful for live bookings and a
    production video being more for the public.

    I can see
    why you used this to create some ‘buzz’ for your album. The summer theme
    certainly came through in your video and I feel your sound and visual elements
    worked harmoniously together.

    All the
    best with your album release!