Creating a Music Video on a Budget – John Pagano Band “Misbehavin”
The world of the Indie artist has changed over the last 20 years. As the market for CD’s and Downloads diminish, it also has been increasingly important for the indie artist to create video content in order to attract any new market. Let’s Face it, a really good viral music video can actually break a new artist as well as create a valuable income stream.
The John Pagano band has been known for creating professional quality music videos on little to no budget for over 5 years. They have used every day technology, such as Cell phones, Ipads and DSLR cameras, to create video content that rivals that of most professionally produced videos using more expensive video equipment. For their new release they have invested in a Panasonic GH5 Camera and called upon some friends to help them put this together. The results stand on it’s own.
Allen Parker replaced the former drummer in the band last year, He is not only an accomplished musician, but he is also an actor with credits that include “Stranger Things”, “The 5th Wave” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks”. He has an understanding of video production and editing and has produced some of the earlier videos for the band before joining as a performing member. This is a skill set that has proved to be important as the band moves forward.
Some of the Videos Allen helped produce are Trouble on Heels which was shot entirely on an IPhone 7, Make you Shout which was shot with a DSLR and edited on an IPad and “Ain’t Gonna Lose you“. These videos are a testament to what can be done by a band on a budget and are well worth checking out. (see Below)
Here are some of the essential steps Allen Recommends to create an effective Music Video.
As usual, when listening to a new song, Allen immediately started to see images and plot points that could ultimately find their way into a video. In preproduction you brainstorm ideas and story lines that could work for your song. You don’t have to be literal in the interpretation, but get a general gist of the look and image you want to portray for the song.
For this particular video Allen pitched the band the idea where the band would appear to be on their way to rob some establishment with masks but, in an M. Night Shyamalan sized twist, they would actually just be the musical entertainment at a children’s birthday party. John Pagano the leader of the band, who is also a music teacher, was able to tap into many of his students who were more than happy to help the band out, as were their parents. So it seemed like was something that was definately in doable.
Shot List/Story Board
Next phase is fleshing out the story with a list of shots that would correspond with each section of the song. By establishing a visual timeline of the story you will have a complete list of video shots you would need for the Video. The more planning you put in beforehand the smoother everything goes and this shoot was no exception
|Intro||Shots of the band preparing at home|
|Verse1.1||Pick up John in Van|
You don’t want you, your band and any friends or family showing up on shoot day and be standing around waiting for you to decide what you want to shoot next. Having a plan is essential to having a smooth shoot and to a cohesive final product. The added benefit is the shotlist also serves as a roadmap when you start the editing phase, saving a huge amount of time and effort.
Let’s face it no matter how well you plan there are always hiccups, shots that don’t work out like you wanted them to, etc. Once you have run your list of shots you have on your shot list. You can then shoot extra video and ideas that come up in the moment to have other options should your shots in your shot list just don’t work like you thought they would. Having that extra footage can save a video in the editing phase.
When Choosing a location always make sure you have permission to use it in a video shoot. Some municipalities and locations require a specific permit to shot any commercial video.
Fortunately there was a park owned by the homeowners association where John Pagano lives that included a playground, plenty of open space and even a pavilion would be perfect for the primary location. Once they secured the location and date they arranged for everyone to meetup at the location on the day of the shot.
For this shoot they decided on using the Panasonic GH5 DSLR with a 12-35mm F/2.8 Lens. Setting the camera to shoot at 4k 60 Frames per second gave them great footage but also gave the band the option to run any of the shots in slow motion with no loss in quality or stuttered motion.
They also had access to a DJI Mavic Air Drone! This small lightweight drone is easy to fly and the camera gives great footage and allowed for not only aerial shots but gave them some great sweeping cinematic type moving shots.
Now you don’t have to use expensive DSLR’s or even have access to a drone to shoot a good music video. Today’s Cell phones shoot 4K video, many of the DSLR’s on the market today (even the inexpensive ones) shoot in at lease HD 1080, which is more than sufficient to create a music video for Youtube. Don’t get hung up on the equipment as much as the process and planning. What is available today for the budget video producer has leveled the playing field. What makes the big difference is planning and execution.
For this video the band used Adobe Premiere Pro which is not available for direct purchase but can be had for a very low monthly (or yearly) subscription price. This is the video editing software that is held as the standard for video editing. It is not important for you to use such a powerhouse editing software suite for your projects, Final Cut, Vegas Studio, or even Video Director. If you are on an IPAD or Iphone you can download “LumaFusion” which is a great inexpensive Video editing app.
The point is you just need a program that will allow you to import your footage and sync it up with your studio recorded audio. Don’t get caught up on fancy transitions and effects, 99% of what you need is either going to be a Cut (an abrupt transition between clips) or a Fade (A cross fade between clips). Cuts are used for excitement and movement in the story, Fades are used for emotional movement.
Use your shot list as a guide for your editing flow but be ready to make changes and adjustments when something just doesn’t work right. It takes some time to get good at editing but once you get the hang of it you will be able to create music videos quickly.
The bottom line is, technology is now at a point that music videos and video content can be created professionally with little to no budget. It is becoming essential that an artist create a music video for any single release in order for them to get any attention, but you don’t need to hire a professional film crew to pull it off. The John Pagano Band has been making their own videos for over 5 years, and are now positioned with the experience and understanding on what needs to be done to create this essential content for little or no money. It is to your advantage to learn some of the skill sets required to edit and shoot good video. There is no reason why an artist with a Cell Phone and some planning can’t create great video content for their art.
MisBehavin Behind the Scenes Video!
Here are some other videos from the John Pagano Band