How to Make a Music Video

A good video can turn a mediocre song into a smash hit, while a bad video… well, that’s just embarrassing.

You will need

  • A song
  • An idea
  • A shot list
  • A video camera
  • Video and audio editing tools

Step 1 Pick a song Pick a song. Ideally, you want one that’s less than 4 minutes long. Songs that tell a story work well, though non-narrative approaches can also be arresting.

Step 2 Brainstorm Brainstorm ideas for how you’d like to illustrate the song. And don’t feel you have to be too literal; many of the greatest videos represent the emotion or theme of a song, not just its lyrics.

Step 3 Make a shot list Take your idea and make a list of the shots you’ll need to make your video. Draw sketches of particular shots that you think are very important. Planning shots ahead of time will make things run much more smoothly.

Step 4 Choose a style Choose a style for the video. Maybe you want to shoot entirely in black and white, or maybe you want to use stop-motion animation. It’s better to decide now than halfway through the actual shooting.

Step 5 Start shooting Shoot the actual elements of the video. Since the only sound in most videos is the song, you don’t have to worry about audio.

Step 6 Do multiple takes Do multiple takes of each shot, and don’t be afraid to mix things up if a new idea comes to you. The more footage you end up with, the easier the editing will be and the better the video will look.

Step 7 Edit the video Load all of your raw footage into an editing system, turn on the song, and start editing to the music. There are a variety of editing suites available for every budget, ranging from thousands of dollars to free. For starters, try the inexpensive iMovie or Final Cut Express.

Step 8 Add effects Add effects to put the finishing touches on the video. Blur scenes, add slow motion, correct colors—this is just as much a part of the video as the shots themselves.