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Shot List for Music Videos


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#1 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 10:41 PM

I'm in the middle of building my shotlist for a music video shoot and was wondering how any of you other "Video" makers have gone about this. Since there are so many shots and cuts I'm coming up with a Baz Lurman type shotlist, correlating to the timecode of the song. In short, it's taking a long time. Anyone have advice for a quicker way to do this?
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#2 Sean Azze

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 10:32 PM

If anything, just make sure you shoot the performance for the entire duration of the video. Whats cool about that is that you don't have to be so precise beforehand with how you capture the performance - you can be more spontaneous on set.

Get wide shots, close ups, tracking shots, maybe action of the singer/rapper/group when they are not lip-synching; just enough footage so that if you don't feel like coming up with a shot for every single waking moment of the song, you always have performance to fall back on in editing.

Edited by Sean Azze, 16 January 2007 - 10:34 PM.

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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 05:20 AM

If anything, just make sure you shoot the performance for the entire duration of the video.

I have to say that I don't agree with this at all. I've done so many shots where you just roll through the whole song, and it seems like you never get anything great that way. Make a plan and shoot 30 seconds at a time. The operator will be better as will the band.
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#4 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 01:22 AM

I have to say that I don't agree with this at all. I've done so many shots where you just roll through the whole song, and it seems like you never get anything great that way. Make a plan and shoot 30 seconds at a time. The operator will be better as will the band.


What I ended up doing was setting up the dolly track and then getting 3 or 4 takes of a dolly shot going both ways through the entire song. So far it seems to be working. We'll see once I shoot the other half of the video and get into editing if it worked.
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#5 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 03:12 PM

Something I am doing for a gig now (if the talent are ok with this)

We shoot rehearsals days or weeks before
I rough edit
then put on my ipod

Means on the set I get a very very quick idea of what is needed and it is very easy to show others what is required

thanks

Rolfe
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 03:29 PM

Rule No. 1.

You can never have too many shots of the singer.
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#7 Sean Azze

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 03:32 PM

I have to say that I don't agree with this at all. I've done so many shots where you just roll through the whole song, and it seems like you never get anything great that way. Make a plan and shoot 30 seconds at a time. The operator will be better as will the band.



I never said roll through the whole song in one pass. You failed to quote the portion of my post where I said to get close ups, wide shots, tracking shots, etc.

The point of my post was for him to know that as opposed to having to storyboard shots from a "b" or "c" story line to cover the entire duration of the song, that if he had gaps in the video he could always cut back to the performance sequence in editing. I would hate to give the impression that I'm someone who decides the concept of the video on the day - in fact I'm entirely the opposite.

I plan every single shot of the video days in advance. I like doing things very much in the style of Hitchcock where all the work is done in preproduction so that shooting is essentially just that task of checking off all the shots you have planned for the day. I simply observed that he was flabbergasted with coming up with so many angles, and figured this was a safe way to get enough footage to have a video to piece together once he wraps.
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#8 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 03:39 PM

In the past when I've shot pop promos, I've shot-listed/storyboarded to the point where I feel 'it works' ie there's enough material to make a good cut, and then when it comes to shooting, if you've planned properly, many more ideas/shots find there way into the promo. There's nothing like standing there with a camera and seeing something different, something better... Probably the most important thing is that the band/talent understand what you're doing and why you're doing it - if they can relax and get into their performance you're on the right road....

Rupe Whiteman

... nb I like the ipod idea... hope it works!
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#9 Keneu Luca

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 04:06 AM

I'm in the middle of building my shotlist for a music video shoot and was wondering how any of you other "Video" makers have gone about this. Since there are so many shots and cuts I'm coming up with a Baz Lurman type shotlist, correlating to the timecode of the song. In short, it's taking a long time. Anyone have advice for a quicker way to do this?


I also happen to be in the middle of making a shotlist for a music video.

I guess this depends on many things. I am not shooting the band. It's more of a narrative...a story. So in that sense, it's like a short film. But I still need to build three acts around the lyrics and the overall pacing and flow of the music.

I think the same needs to be done if you shoot a band. Therefore, just shooting random coverage in various ways doesnt seem to be good planning. I think you still need to be concerned with the shot before and after, and how they match with that specific point in the song, and how it all builds.

How you shoot the band and their performance can be symbolic of the specific song.
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#10 Sean Azze

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 06:50 PM

How you shoot the band and their performance can be symbolic of the specific song.


Sounds like someone is reading too much into an industry whose primary goal is to advertise an artist to consumers.

If you can intellectually dissect the performance sequence in a Young Jeezy video, I'll print up a certificate for you this second.

Edited by Sean Azze, 20 January 2007 - 06:51 PM.

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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 07:24 PM

Sounds like someone is reading too much into an industry whose primary goal is to advertise an artist to consumers.


Not at all. The characteristics of the song - mood, tempo, instrumentation, all contribute to the way the video is shot.

I'm not pretending that promos are art, but the best promos complement the track they are advertising in tone and mood
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#12 Sean Azze

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 07:38 PM

Not at all. The characteristics of the song - mood, tempo, instrumentation, all contribute to the way the video is shot.


Yes, but the mood can be achieved with the lighting. The tempo can be matched through editing. These are not things that have to be meticulously planned with shot lists.

Again, as I said in a previous post, I am one who likes to determine every shot before hand, but thats just me. I'm sure a close up I've designed to appear at 1:20:00 is perfectly interchangeable with a wide shot. My suggestion to just grab various shots of the performance was to solve the problem of the topic starter who was feeling overwhelmed by all the work he was doing in preproduction.


I'm not pretending that promos are art, but the best promos complement the track they are advertising in tone and mood


There are some videos from time to time which IMHO are absolutely art (Eminem's "Guilty Conscience", Cibo Matto's "Sugar Water", Prodigy's "Smack my Bitch Up"), but I'd consider them more the exception than the rule.
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#13 Igor Trajkovski

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 10:16 PM

The tempo can be matched through editing. These are not things that have to be meticulously planned with shot lists.



Well, camera moves should be planed to match with the mood
of a particular song part. It may happen later while editing:
"If this tracking shot could have been a bit slower..."



About some MV's being art....

Yes there are videos that leave lasting impressions,
that are differend from the bunch.

When i feel hunger for something different,
i watch Alternative Nation, Flipside, Headbangers Ball...
Those are the places where Art can be more easily found.


Damn, i miss MTV's Party Zone from the 90's, hosted by Simone Angel....
Techno ruled, weird videos, the begining of computer
videoscapes/longforms (3Lux, Xmix)... Feast for the eyes...Escapism...

Today, (in the world of freedom...:)), most of the dance videos are too pollished, same motives repeating - girls dancing, showing of skin,
slo-mo,... Not that i am against that, just i wonder does anybody
makes something different and more artful or raw.


In the caffe played Fat Boy Slim's "I praise you".
I could not but smile as i remembered the video. :)
Low tech home video taped public dance performance.
Interlaced!!!


Regards

Igor
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#14 Keneu Luca

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 03:55 PM

Sounds like someone is reading too much into an industry whose primary goal is to advertise an artist to consumers.


I don't know exactly what this means. But if you could elaborate, Id like to read more.


If you can intellectually dissect the performance sequence in a Young Jeezy video, I'll print up a certificate for you this second.


I don't know who Young Jeezy is. But I never said that all existing music videos are of "good quality" - lack of a better term. It seems as if many of them could have been planned better. They don't always seem to fully realize the song.

And while I do believe in a well prepared shot list, I also believe in improvisation. Nobody has to stick exactly to their well planned shot list, but it's a good thing to have.

Edited by Keneu Luca, 21 January 2007 - 03:57 PM.

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#15 Sean Azze

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 05:44 PM

I don't know exactly what this means. But if you could elaborate, Id like to read more.


Why do record labels and artists pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into music videos? To advertise the artist so they can sell records, merchandise, and tickets to their concerts. What is the primary purpose of a performance sequence in a music video? To show how the artist delivers as a performer. To show their personality. I think if one gets too bogged down in shot lists they miss out on the spontaneity that the artist can deliver to express themselves. Sometimes (and not necessarily all the time) its good to just sit back, observe, and let the artist do their thing.

I don't know who Young Jeezy is.



He's a down south rapper - http://www.youngjeezy.com/


But I never said that all existing music videos are of "good quality" - lack of a better term. It seems as if many of them could have been planned better. They don't always seem to fully realize the song.


Thats probably the case 9 times out of 10. Because of the rush rush of the corporate machine, its more important to churn these things out at a high rate then to truly turn them into a well thought out piece of cinema.

And while I do believe in a well prepared shot list, I also believe in improvisation. Nobody has to stick exactly to their well planned shot list, but it's a good thing to have.


I think ultimately, you and I share the same opinion. I just feel like I've had to defend the piece of advice I gave because I simply told the gentleman who started this topic that he can get away with being less stringent in planning the performance side of things because so many videos lend themselves to ad libbing the action. I think if he really wanted to sketch every shot out precisely, he would have gone ahead and done it and not seeked out help from this forum.
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#16 Keneu Luca

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 09:40 PM

Why do record labels and artists pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into music videos? To advertise the artist so they can sell records, merchandise, and tickets to their concerts. What is the primary purpose of a performance sequence in a music video? To show how the artist delivers as a performer. To show their personality. I think if one gets too bogged down in shot lists they miss out on the spontaneity that the artist can deliver to express themselves. Sometimes (and not necessarily all the time) its good to just sit back, observe, and let the artist do their thing.


Perhaps in their debut music video, the artist or group may want to just showcase their act, their energy, and their performance. Or even once in a while as an artist reinvents themself or evolves. But to continue to just showcase, video after video, without regard to the individuality of each song seems highly irresponsible; a series of wasted opportunities.
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#17 Sean Azze

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 01:37 PM

Perhaps in their debut music video, the artist or group may want to just showcase their act, their energy, and their performance. Or even once in a while as an artist reinvents themself or evolves. But to continue to just showcase, video after video, without regard to the individuality of each song seems highly irresponsible; a series of wasted opportunities.


OK - now its your turn to elaborate. You tell me how one would fine tune a performance sequence to match the concept of a song. Explain to me how the performance sequence in a song about love and a song about a jilted lover vary in the way they are shot...
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#18 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 03:07 AM

Hmmm....if you want to match specific shots to certain parts of the song, I guess a close up of the guitarists's fingerwork during the guitar solo is one idea that I could throw up.
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#19 Ram Shani

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:09 AM

Sean one can be hand held one on dolly one one shot one with multi cuts etc... etc... its like how shoot a scene
i think its beater to know the mood of the shooting (talking about preforming) and go with the right shooting style after you talk with the director

that's what works for me in the 20 music video i shoot

if there is a story to tell or any spacial shoots we have a shooting list and same time storyboards

i think its all saw help you not to forget anything

Edited by Ram Shani, 23 January 2007 - 11:10 AM.

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#20 Keneu Luca

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:26 AM

OK - now its your turn to elaborate. You tell me how one would fine tune a performance sequence to match the concept of a song. Explain to me how the performance sequence in a song about love and a song about a jilted lover vary in the way they are shot...


I don't think you can fine tune a performance sequence to match the concept of a song. The fine tuning comes from the fine details of each individual song. "Love" and "a jilted lover" are generalized themes that probably make up about 85% of all songs. It's not the generalized theme that dictates how a music video is made, but rather the various elements within that song that make it unique. Just like in narrative filmmaking, you don't plan how you shoot the film based solely on its theme.

Random coverage with various angles, focal lengths, and moves doesn't seem very creative. It seems purely technical; almost by-the-numbers. Practicaly anyone competent in operating the necessary equpiment can do that.

If you were going to shoot a live performance, be it one song or a concert, it would seem to make sense (if possible) to get as much information beforehand (days or weeks in advance), such as listening to the recorded songs that will be played, knowing the set list, and talking to the band, to plan your shoot accordingly . Of course, and hopefully, there will be surprises along the way. Just like in narrative fiction filmmaking.

Edited by Keneu Luca, 23 January 2007 - 11:29 AM.

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