How To Make Great Music Videos From The Pros

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Acclaimed director and filmmaker Laurence Warder is Head of Production at Sony Music. He lives in London and has recorded countless promo clips for well-known artists such as Olly Murs and Kasabian as well as emerging bands. Here, Laurence Warder shares how to get a foothold in the industry and how to make great music videos.

Tips To Shooting Cinematic Music Videos

Expert advice from Laurence

Music has always been my passion. I was and am an avid concert-goer. When I was still playing in bands myself, I used to shoot our videos – with an old camcorder that I got myself. We always started right away and trusted that everything would work out. We just shot in daylight without worrying about the right lighting or anything else. But I quickly realized that as an artist you have control over how you present yourself. Here I am now sharing the experiences I have had over time.

Know the functions of the camera

When I started working as a director in 2012, I relied on digital SLR cameras. DSLR is the best camera for music videos at the time. Today I work with bigger budgets – so I can finally use better cameras! I often have to cope with difficult lighting conditions when taking pictures because I like dark, atmospheric pictures. That’s why I like to work with professional cameras, such as the current Sony PXW-FS7. They can hold a lot more information than digital SLR cameras. This is of course great when you’re shooting in a dark club or venue. They also have a wider range of colors that are great for experimenting with.

Think fast: working under pressure

When shooting a video, you often have to stick to a strict schedule. Sometimes bands want to record five songs in eight hours, so you have to work fast and make decisions quickly. Often there is no luxury of repeating certain recordings. And to be honest, I don’t even enjoy filming the same song three or four times.

Music and movement: capture the energy of the performer

I think cameras should move with the music. That’s why I have already experimented a lot with rail dollys, Steadicams, and special equipment. Actually, I’m not a fan of super-smooth camera movements at all. I want the audience to feel that someone is behind the camera.

Stay curious

What advice would I give to someone who wants to join today? Take enough time to learn the basics – exposure, focus, lenses, and lighting. You need to know the options you have as you work. I never stopped learning: I really enjoy discovering new techniques and fresh ideas. And the most important thing: get active and jump into action. Go to concerts. Talk to creative people. Soak up ideas!