Music Videos in Music City – Nashville

Working audio for music video shoots, seems like they go hand in hand right? Ironically, low budget music video shoots rarely use an audio technician or audio director. Think about it, the music for the video is already produced and now they are shooting a video for the song they have already made. However, for a music video to be done well, on schedule, and maybe have a little bit more than music, an audio technician can be a handy and inexpensive person to have around the shoot.

In today mass media market, popular music videos can range from a budget of $0.01 to $Millions. Music videos from artists like “OK, GO!” and even Fat Boy Slim’s original and iconic video “praise you” are excellent examples of low budget music videos that left everyone in the business asking “why didn’t I think of that???”. So, if you are ridiculously original, creative, and stupid lucky you can get away with an extremely low budget music video and gain adoring fans across the globe and never need an audio technician on site… good luck and God speed.

However, in this instance, let’s assume you are a normal human being without creative super powers only possessed by elite creative savants… they are the creative 1% :)

Most music videos have a script, some choreography, a lighting crew and a video crew, directors, a few “grips” and 1 guy in charge of audio play back. I recently was that 1 guy at a music video shoot in Nashville, across the street from “The Standard” restaurant. It was for a pop artist, and the shoot was professionally standard. It will be a great representation of the artist and very useful for promotion, ┬ájust what the video needed to be!

┬áThe lighting was four teirs of programable LED lights, back lighting, and a green screen opposite to the wall in the photo. The video was shot on a new Red Scarlet camera, and had wandering DSLR cameras to integrate the “behind the scenes” moments into the video while maintaining true 1080p HD footage.

This video will also have some live sound, a scene was shot in front of the building with a crowed of adoring fans as the limo pulled up and the pop star runs into the building. This audio was captured using Rode mics attached to a series of Canon DSLR cameras.

So, there you have two forms of audio needed. Play back and secondary footage that will be used as an open or close of the video. The use of the Rode mics simply attached to the top of the DSLR isn’t ideal in most cases, however, this is a great use when trying to recreate the illusion of paparazzi photos (this is basically how they capture their content for the tabloids) and will make some pretty fun content.

Play back on the other hand is a little more involved when professionally prepared. The job of the play back technician is to know the song, and map out key times and locations of specific instances in the song. Keep in mind, a music video is rarely shot in sequential order. The director may shoot the last verse first and the third chorus second (whatever) depending on what that scene calls for. It is the job of the play back technician to know EXACTLY where each part of the song is on the time line and be able to synch playback to that point quickly, in order to keep the shoot running smoothly and on time.

So, why did I say that a playback technician is relatively inexpensive comparative to other video shoots? Simple, there is very little gear necessary. A powered loud speaker and something to play the song on (ipod, ipad, 8-track tape). The gear itself is not that important, because the sound playing back is not what will be used for the video, it is just for the people in the video and to synch the footage to the song when being edited.

This blog post is becoming longer than I expected… so for a break, here is a picture of the awesome choreographers!









Totally worth it to keep reading wasn’t it? This shoot was a lot of fun and the cast and crew had a blast. If you are planning a music video soon (and if you are like me and live in Nashville, who isn’t?) you should consider finding a great audio technician to help make sure the shoot runs smoothly. A good audio technician will help you keep on time and get extra sound that might be fun in your video. Plus, it never hurts to have an extra set of hands on set… it is a team effort!

If you are interested in finding a professional audio technician for your next music video, just use the contact button at the bottom of the post. It is an inexpensive and smart decision that will make your production process much smoother.