Help! I’m Doing A Video Shoot

filming music video

I’m on a video shoot in a couple of weeks’ time with the function band I’m part of. We’re doing this to be able to send to agents, venue, event planners etc. in order to get some gigs and make some money!



So that is the aim. How we will be going about it is interesting. We’re not recording a gig – although we will be shooting completely live and won’t be overdubbing later. Think of it, if you will as a “staged performance”. With each song, we’ll record a few times and then chose the best one to publish, again all live with mistakes and all.



So What Makes This A Challenge?

I’ve spent a lot of time doing studio work. The name of the game is to get the best performance down on tape (well, on to Pro Tools!), usually trying to keep it simple and get the sound spot on – and only take one or two takes! This of course is its own challenge, and the pressure can be immense – even before the red light has gone on.



Live work on the other hand is the opposite; you want people to enjoy coming the performance. The focus in a lot of ways isn’t the individual playing but the overall sound and the interaction both on stage and with the crowd. Live you can make a few minor mistakes and no one will really notice (unless they’re a diva).



Filming however, is the combination of the two skill sets. For example, if you look bored in the studio – it’s fine because you’re probably concentrating on nailing the take. If you look bored on stage, it could be the end of your playing career, as no one wants to pay to see a bunch of people on stage looking bored but playing the music completely correct!


The only problem is there will be no live crowd at the filming, just the band and the crew – that means we’ll have to work extra hard to keep our energy up and feel/look excited. Sometimes being a muso means being a good actor as well!!


It’s a tall order and balancing act. BUT….



It’s All In The Prep

The great thing is I can practice up the songs, the parts, get the tones dialled in and prepare myself mentally, for what will add up to a really long and tough day.



The Songs

Let’s start with songs; we have a list of about 6 songs that we want to cover that day. With each I’ll start by listening to the original. The other head start I have is everything has been charted for me by an arranger. However, most of this isn’t written correctly for guitar as I believe the person who wrote them is a piano player (shock horror!!). It does, however gives me a head start.


The first thing I do always is learn the arrangement both the original song and the version I’ll be recording. Is there an introduction? Is there a double chorus after the second verse? Guitar solo? Is there a break down section after the bridge?


I do this to save time, as usually a verse is a standard length and so is the chorus. For example, once I’ve learnt the chorus – I’m good and I don’t need to spend any more time on it as it’s usually the same each time.


Next I’ll work on the “hard” sections – usually they feature a lot of guitar or maybe it’s a solo section and therefore needs some work. It could be a section with a simple guitar part that is the hook and therefore has to be right and needs to sound confidence – nothing sounds worse!



Next up, chords – I’ll decide what kinds of chords I’ll play. Will it be a low power chord type thing or do I need a capo to place up high, so I can play open chords? Is it a funky thing up high and I can simplify the changes?


Then I’ll divide in and try to nail the song all the way through. I might do this completely clean and not worry about effects or if I’m using the “right” guitar.



Guitar Gear

I plan on taking more guitar gear than I need to the shoot. It just means if something breaks I’ll be able to work around the issues. Secondly, if a guitar or pedal doesn’t sound right, then I can seamlessly change it out for something that will.


I’ll be mostly using the gear I outlined in my rig run down, with a few new additions. I’ve since purchased two Joyo Pedals – The vintage phase (I believed modelled after a Phase 90) – sounds better than the phase 90 I once owned and is more subtle (read usable!). The other Joyo effects pedal  is the Ultimate overdrive (again another clone – meant to be a clone of a OCD drive).  I’m not sure about this pedal, anyway I’ll do a proper review of both sometimes soon.


I’ll probably take my 535Q Wah as well and use that instead of the standard CryBaby (which I’m using at the moment).


I’ll try and get some photos of the set up for you while I’m practicing!


I might be adding a 335 to my collection, which I’ll use if I have. Currently looking out for one and with a few going on eBay for next to nothing and seems like the perfect time to buy!


Anyway the gear I’ll take will be versatile and will be able to handle everything I need to do. Plus spare cables, picks, capos, strings etc.



Guitar Tones

After the songs are learnt, it’s down to choosing the right guitar, pedals and setting the EQ right on the amp for that song.


I believe the room which we are using is fairly medium and hopefully somewhat dead so we can get a great sound. Hopefully there’s no echo (I’ve recently played a large church with a massive echo – didn’t touch the delay pedal once! Everything sounded disjointed.)


I’ll try to get as close as I can to the actual sound – I’ll keep thinking about what type of guitar does it sound like – a Strat? Les Paul? P90? How much delay – and what type? Is it a big muff fuzz sound or is it just a rat? Etc.


With most of the songs, it’s likely to be a clean sound for the majority of the time with one or two pedals switched in now and again.




As I’m one of the managers of the band, I’m planning the shoot. So I’m currently thinking about what songs, clothes, set up – should I have my guitar rack in shot or not? (Tough question!!). How many lights do we need? Etc.


The one thing I have decided on is to have a clear list of results from the day. It’s obvious we want a video from it! What’s not so clear is the contents of the videos. We’re thinking about cutting the 6 songs into a 3 minute promotional video and then using the other footage for like 6 x 2 minute videos to showcase a single song. We’re also hoping to get some photo of the band in action and get some good individual shots of each member to replace the ones we currently have up on the site. We have some other cool ideas in the works and I’ll share them if we use them!



So that what’s I’m spending a couple hours on here and there at the moment. Have you ever done a video shoot for your band? What was your process?

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