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Tips for Shooting 1st Music Video


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#1 bparson79

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 11:08 AM

Hey all,

I'm new to working with video and my independent record label has decided to produce our own music videos. That said we are shooting DV on a Panasonic DVX100B. I wish to know standard/common lighting techniques for the followin location:

- Club (not much natural light at all but want to use plenty of color to light the scene)

We are shooting R&B/Hip-Hop videos primarily. I'm using Final Cut Pro Suite as an editing tool. I'm probably going to be responsible for the lighting while my partner will run the camera so I need to obtain and Intermediate level of expertise in music video lighting.

All suggestions are welcome.

/bp
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#2 Chris Fernando

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 12:00 PM

We are shooting R&B/Hip-Hop videos primarily. I'm using Final Cut Pro Suite as an editing tool. I'm probably going to be responsible for the lighting while my partner will run the camera so I need to obtain and Intermediate level of expertise in music video lighting.

All suggestions are welcome.

/bp


What do you do to pay the bills? Doesn't sound like it's anything to do with photo/cinematography. An "intermediate level of expertise" (whatever that is) may take some a lifetime to achieve and is something, as most on these forums will attest to, that you must devote your life to in order to attempt to perfect (read: it shouldn't be viewed as just happenstance or something that you are assigned to do in order to get something done - unless you're Conrad Hall ;) ).
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#3 bparson79

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 12:04 PM

What do you do to pay the bills? Doesn't sound like it's anything to do with photo/cinematography. An "intermediate level of expertise" (whatever that is) may take some a lifetime to achieve and is something, as most on these forums will attest to, that you must devote your life to in order to attempt to perfect (read: it shouldn't be viewed as just happenstance or something that you are assigned to do in order to get something done - unless you're Conrad Hall ;) ).


I just need suggestions on getting a good quality video shot. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear, otherwise what I do to pay the bills is irrelevant.

/bp
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#4 Chris Fernando

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:44 PM

I just need suggestions on getting a good quality video shot. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear, otherwise what I do to pay the bills is irrelevant.

/bp


Just making conversation. What kind of a G & E package are we talking about here? Are you shooting 24p or 60i?

Word to the wise: if you'd like everyone to chime in you may want to be less anonymous.
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#5 bparson79

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:58 PM

Just making conversation. What kind of a G & E package are we talking about here? Are you shooting 24p or 60i?

Word to the wise: if you'd like everyone to chime in you may want to be less anonymous.


Thanks for your reply. New to this so I don't know all of the lingo, what's G&E? I will be shooting in 24p in a club setting with plenty of extras. Probably moving the camera around a little bit through the crowd. I'm most intrigued by the usage of color in most videos within this genre (e.g. Hype Williams, Benny Boom, etc.) We've found a company here in Indy, that rents out Grip and Lighting equipment, I just don't know where to begin with selecting what I'd need "lighting wise" to get going in the right direction.

I know that there are a lot of other elements that must work in order to make a good video. But, my plan for taking is to start with the most important pieces first and that's the lighting and lighting techniques. I've been researching and absorbing a bunch of information on this subject thus far so I'm a little bit past the general stuff but I'm trying to absorb and take in all that I can.

Hopefully this helps a little bit more.

/bp
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 02:23 PM

You're asking for crash course in skills which take years to acquire. There is no easy, quick way to learn them. If you're serious about learning to light and shoot, rather than just doing it as a way to cut costs, then you should know that books and other people can tell you where to put the lights, but they can't tell you why. Only experience can do that.

Bottom line is: you want good-looking videos, but have no experience in lighting or camera. Answer: hire someone who does. There's quite a few around here, strangely enough.
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#7 bparson79

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 02:38 PM

You're asking for crash course in skills which take years to acquire. There is no easy, quick way to learn them. If you're serious about learning to light and shoot, rather than just doing it as a way to cut costs, then you should know that books and other people can tell you where to put the lights, but they can't tell you why. Only experience can do that.

Bottom line is: you want good-looking videos, but have no experience in lighting or camera. Answer: hire someone who does. There's quite a few around here, strangely enough.


I am very interested in doing this as I have been interested in making movies/videos since I was a child. So it's not just to "cut costs". I have the time and drive to take this very seriously. It's just that where I'm from (Indianapolis) there aren't that many people doing it so the amount of available talent isn't in great abundance.

I realize that there is nothing like experience to tell you "why" (as I am a very polished music produer of 12 years), but I'm very interested in doing this and taking it just as seriously as my music.

All suggestions are welcome. BTW, if you are in the Indianapolis area and you want to lend your time and expertise to our music video projects post here, send me a message or an e-mail to contact@officialmusicgroup.com. Thanks so much for all of your help and suggestions.

/bp
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#8 Daniel Rheaume

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 02:51 PM

BP,
I'll have to agree with the others that it's true that this is a craft that people work at their whole lives...just like the musicians in the video you are shooting. However, I am the type of person who likes to do EVERYTHING myself. I don't like to give someone else control (for better or for worse), and I'm interested in learning about what ever it is that I want done. I am actually a musician foremost, and a wannabe film maker second. I say, more power to you for trying to learn and do it yourself. It may turn out well, it may turn out just ok. My brother and I are in a band together and he is also into film making. He, unlike me, has had a natural skill ever since he picked up the camera. It's amazing what he can do.

Any ways, the reason I even replied to this is that I have to disagree with the last persons post. I think they were a little off base by saying that the books and teachers can tell you where to put the lights, but not why.

Experience is crucial for making quick decisions that will turn out ok. However, it's not just experience that makes for good lighting. You could have years of experience and never get a good shot because you might be missing fundemental principals. It's all very scientific. If you begin working with CG animation you realize lighting is just algorithms essentially. Like reverb. reverb is a natural occurance, but can be modeled because we know it's formula. So, just like reverb lighting has specific properties that don't change. That's why judment is essential, but I believe a book CAN teach you why to put your lights where you do.

Like in audio recording.
It's like learning why you place the microphone somewhere.

Anyways, hope this helped renew any hope of doing something of decent quality.
You've found a good board should you decide to pursue things further. The people on this board are incredible and I've learned a lot by reading all different posts.

-Daniel
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#9 bparson79

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 03:00 PM

Thanks Dan for your comments I was beginning to think that I might be in a little over my head, but I'm driven to learn this b/c I'm not confident in anybody else's abilities here in Indianapolis plus I don't have the money to pay anybody to pump out music videos at the rate that I plan on pumping them out (I might as well invest in my own natural artistic ability and buy the tools myself).

/bp
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#10 Ian Marks

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 03:14 PM

I'd agree with the earlier post that suggests that you'd be better off hiring an experienced DP to shoot your music video... but, I completely understand the drive to do it yourself.

Can I ask, though, why you're planning to shooting on video? Even a "semi-pro" DV camera like the DVX100B is going to give you footage that looks amateurish compared to what you see in most music videos, especially if you're not experienced with lighting. I think you'll get a much better look shooting on film.
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#11 bparson79

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 03:35 PM

I'd agree with the earlier post that suggests that you'd be better off hiring an experienced DP to shoot your music video... but, I completely understand the drive to do it yourself.

Can I ask, though, why you're planning to shooting on video? Even a "semi-pro" DV camera like the DVX100B is going to give you footage that looks amateurish compared to what you see in most music videos, especially if you're not experienced with lighting. I think you'll get a much better look shooting on film.


The reason why is b/c I seen some stuff that Alex Ferrari did with a Panasonic DVX100A (the older model) and Final Cut Pro and it looked damn good. To me I figured that if you master even the "semi-pro" tools and techniques you should be able to achieve some "professional" quality with it, without shooting on film. But, isn't it more expensive to shoot on film?

/bp
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#12 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 04:14 PM

what everyone is trying to tell you is to share the love. There are plenty of people that can help advise you when shooting, or do it for you.

Your video doesn't seem like it's going to be broadcast quality, so don't worry too much.

If you are shooting in a club, you are going to need to pump in a ton of light, since most clubs make it as dark as possible. Work with strobes that can be synced to your shutter speed or frame rate.

Put 2k's on the ceiling with some colored gels to turn on and off on cues, to give a nice blast of light in there.

There are tons of things you can do, but being stubborn about how you shoot this shouldnt be one.

If you are shooting in a club, you are going to need help.

Check out www.craigslist.org and search for help. But ask nicely.
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#13 Chris Fernando

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 04:19 PM

But, isn't it more expensive to shoot on film?
/bp



It's a hell of a lot more expensive to shoot on any film. And therein lies one of the many quandaries you are going to find yourself in, the deeper you delve into this: you've limited experience on MiniDV but you want something that looks as good as film, so shoot film right? But you still haven't even begun to cut your teeth; on even MiniDV.

I would suggest getting familiar with the format you have easiest access to right now and develop your chops there. Remember everything is just a tool to help you tell your story, it's the execution of how you tell that story that will a hold a person's attention for however long you are asking them to pay attention. Nancy Schreiber just shot an entire feature on the DVX100 called November, which you might consider renting and watching. If for no other reason than to see what the format is capable of, in the right hands with sufficient equipment, of course. Best of luck.
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#14 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 05:06 PM

First off, I'm glad that you are taking this seriously, that you have the same desire as the rest of us to learn our trade. What I said before stands, though - there is no quick, easy way. If you have projects that you need to shoot, hire a DP, and learn from them. Eventually, you'll know enough to do it yourself.

It's all very scientific. If you begin working with CG animation you realize lighting is just algorithms essentially.


This is a quite laughable statement. Generations of painters, photographers and cinematographers managed to produce beautiful images before anyone had ever heard of CGI. Do you honestly believe that the art of lighting can be reduced to a mathematical equation? Show me the formula that Storaro used to light Apocalypse Now, or that Willis used in The Godfather, or Conrad Hall or Jordan Cronenweth.... Please, get real...
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#15 David Sweetman

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 06:14 PM

Definitely go with MiniDV right now, don't even think about film. For the dvx you'll pay max $5,000, and that's a one-time investment. To shoot on film, you need a heck of a lot more experience with lighting, plus the knowledge and theory of shooting on film. All this takes a while to learn, and you have to dedicate yourself to it, especially if you teach yourself like I'm doing. Anyway, if you shoot film you'll need to buy or rent a 16mm camera (as opposed to 35mm, double the width, 4x? the resolution), pay for film stock, processing, and 'telecine' (to transfer the film onto digital media.) It could cost you a grand+ each show. (maybe less if you're frugal.)

The easiest way to learn how to make a movie is to make a movie. The best kind of lights for what you're doing would be an Arri light kit, or a Mole Richardson, either could cost you 1.5 to three grand. You can get cheaper lights, but it will be harder to get a good image. Or buy them used. Or even use PAR cans, if you have those for music shows. As you light your shows, you'll continually learn how to light. It will come to you in small revelations. Either on the set or watching the footage, you'll say to yourself, "That's what I should do," or "That's what I should do next time." It's not a mathematical equation or something you can learn in a book, you have to learn it first hand.

I love shooting music videos, and if I was out there I would definitely give you a hand. Good luck, man, you're getting into some fun stuff.
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#16 Mike Williamson

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 02:54 AM

I have to agree with Stuart, it takes a long time to learn the craft of cinematography.

You're probably better off renting, whether you go with film or video. If it's your first time out, how do you know what's going to work for you down the road? Do want to get stuck with the wrong camera right off the bat?

I'd recommend looking at some of the videos you like and trying to figure out why you like them and how they're creating the look. You mentioned Hype Williams for example, so look at his use of color in something that seems similar to what you want to do and watch it over and over. What color are the lights? Where are they placed? How big of a space are they lighting and how big is the space you have to light? What kind of lenses is he using: wide, medium, or telephoto? That will give you a starting place for figuring out what you like, from there it's a matter of getting experience, so start shooting. Good luck with the project!
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#17 Brian Wells

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:18 PM

if you are in the Indianapolis area and you want to lend your time and expertise to our music video projects post here, send me a message or an e-mail to contact@officialmusicgroup.com.

I'm still waiting for one of these record producers to record my album for free using their personal equipment then offer me complete ownership of the product so I promote myself and earn money from the sales.
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#18 Chris Fernando

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:37 PM

I'm still waiting for one of these record producers to record my album for free using their personal equipment then offer me complete ownership of the product so I promote myself and earn money from the sales.


Brian,
Try Craigslist. Haven't you heard everything's free now. You just pick the apartment or house you need for you and your family (if you've got one), take your family to the set where all meals, childcare, healthcare, etc is provided and all you have to do is lens the project :D
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#19 Rik Andino

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 03:50 AM

Thanks for your reply. New to this so I don't know all of the lingo, what's G&E? I will be shooting in 24p in a club setting with plenty of extras. Probably moving the camera around a little bit through the crowd. I'm most intrigued by the usage of color in most videos within this genre (e.g. Hype Williams, Benny Boom, etc.) We've found a company here in Indy, that rents out Grip and Lighting equipment, I just don't know where to begin with selecting what I'd need "lighting wise" to get going in the right direction.

I know that there are a lot of other elements that must work in order to make a good video. But, my plan for taking is to start with the most important pieces first and that's the lighting and lighting techniques. I've been researching and absorbing a bunch of information on this subject thus far so I'm a little bit past the general stuff but I'm trying to absorb and take in all that I can.

Hopefully this helps a little bit more.

/bp


I don't know why I'mk giving you anyy advice...

I work doing music videos--mostly for small music labels that don't know how...
If you're idea of a Music Label shooting their own video with in-house people were to spread...
Soon all those cheap Music Labels that would hire me
Would go out and buy cameras and shoot the crap themselves.
I'd be out of business--scary thought!

Anyways while it seems easy to most of us experienced filmmakers...
Shooting a video isn't as easy as it sounds--there is some (not much but some) skill involved.
You can buy the tools but learning how to use them is the trick...
And that's why we (experienced filmmakers) cost money.

My advice to you is to learn all you can about Post production.
It's amazing what one can achieve with a computer--using Fincal Cut Pro and After Effects.
Most videos are made through Post Production...

The other thing I recomend is to watch plenty of Music Vids (yes I know most of them are crap)...
Soon you'll learn to identify the tricks they use--and the next step is to learn how to do them.

There is no way we can really teach you how to become a filmmaker
Writing a few quick paragraphs...it's not going to happen.


So go shoot you're first music video...it'll be crappy,
because that's the way it always is...
We all once were student filmmakers who shot a few crappy videos at first.
But soon you'll learn from your mistakes...and if you're dedicated you'll pull through.

& if you're not dedicated you'll soon learn why they pay us to do the job.


This always reminds me of the guys who think they can do their own plumbing
Until they flood the house and their wife has to call in a professional---<I'm sorry honey I thought... :huh: >



Good Luck (you'll need it)
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#20 brian hendry

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 01:04 PM

I don't know why I'mk giving you anyy advice...

I work doing music videos--mostly for small music labels that don't know how...
If you're idea of a Music Label shooting their own video with in-house people were to spread...
Soon all those cheap Music Labels that would hire me
Would go out and buy cameras and shoot the crap themselves.
I'd be out of business--scary thought!

Anyways while it seems easy to most of us experienced filmmakers...
Shooting a video isn't as easy as it sounds--there is some (not much but some) skill involved.
You can buy the tools but learning how to use them is the trick...
And that's why we (experienced filmmakers) cost money.

My advice to you is to learn all you can about Post production.
It's amazing what one can achieve with a computer--using Fincal Cut Pro and After Effects.
Most videos are made through Post Production...

The other thing I recomend is to watch plenty of Music Vids (yes I know most of them are crap)...
Soon you'll learn to identify the tricks they use--and the next step is to learn how to do them.

There is no way we can really teach you how to become a filmmaker
Writing a few quick paragraphs...it's not going to happen.
So go shoot you're first music video...it'll be crappy,
because that's the way it always is...
We all once were student filmmakers who shot a few crappy videos at first.
But soon you'll learn from your mistakes...and if you're dedicated you'll pull through.

& if you're not dedicated you'll soon learn why they pay us to do the job.
This always reminds me of the guys who think they can do their own plumbing
Until they flood the house and their wife has to call in a professional---<I'm sorry honey I thought... :huh: >
Good Luck (you'll need it)



pretty much what everyone else said, haha...... check out darren doane (http://xdxfilmcore.com/)...ive shoot two of his videos before, and he wants to use nothing more than the dvx100a and a set of 2k's. sooo my package is 3 2k's, a pepper kit, china balls, photofloods, loads of practicals, scoops, and thats about it. ha...oh and an 8x a 6x with about 5 rags and some cstands,cutters, diff, and random other crap.

there also HAS to be some college kids around there that would love to help. some broadcasting programs or some kind of film program there, go look into it, ask around, post some flyers, maybe if they hop on board they can borrow equipment from there school for the shoot. i still do that. haha. ...then again im 24 and really immature.
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Metropolis Post

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam