I've now completed making the music video for the upcoming single The Blue Pill, which will be out on Friday 7 June. Here’s a teaser for it, so you can get a taste of what's coming.
This is now the eleventh (!) video I’ve been involved with and the sixth video I’ve produced myself, so I thought I’d share a bit of the process here on the blog.
When we started with my band Velcra we got some pretty big budget videos made. The first one “Big Brother” was made by a film school. We shot the video for three days and they had built an entire big room full of different sets. One of them was a little cube filled with water.
The second one for “Can’t Stop Fighting" was an even bigger production. We had over 100 volunteers joining the shoot, big army trucks hired for the purpose, police riot shields with our logos taped on, a purpose built stage built in an old train depot… it was big and crazy.
Obviously as music videos go, these were awesome and I’m still very proud of them but as an artist, I wasn’t very involved with making them. I just turned up and tried to look good.
Making our own videos
For our second album we produced our first video ourselves, for the track called “The Bong Song”. It was an interesting experience and it encouraged us to produce the subsequent two videos for the third album.
The budget was pretty much zero, but we had a great professional crew to work with, and we found some great spaces to use for the shoots. The main video we made was for “Dusk Becomes A Dawn”, which we shot for several days in a few different locations.
As we were working on that video, I had the idea for "Quick and Dirty”. We put together some props and we just shot it quickly at the end of the final day once we were finished with Dusk Becomes A Dawn. In the end it was a bit more work that we expected but I’m glad we did it. It’s still one of my all time favourite videos by Velcra.
Making those two videos taught me a lot about producing videos, and I’ve been putting all that knowledge into work on my own videos.
The videos you’ve seen for this album are made by me from start to finish. Now crew. No sets. No props. No hired army trucks. Just me hanging around in a Maleficent dress and a camera.
It’s been a lot of fun. I don’t claim the production value to be anywhere near my older videos, but I’m not sure that is so important.
How I Make Music Videos
I start the video with a simple visual idea. I like music videos that are not trying to say too much. I like to have a simple visual idea that I play with; like the Disney villainess costumes in Villainess, or the synthwave mood of driving-in-the-night in Dark Heart, and then I mostly just focus on the performance.
The idea for the lyrics of The Blue Pill is that it’s a love song from Agent Smith to humanity. It’s a song that’s both sad and sweet at the same time. I wanted to use the elements and emotions of the song as the elements of the video, too, so I took some of the movements inspired by the movie, and combined them with a simple singing-to-the-camera performance. With blue lipstick, obviously.
My current setup for making videos is super simple. I have a big backdrop with a few different colour options and some basic lighting. I use a couple of different cameras, but they are quite basic too. And then I have a proper full size tripod, which I can get to the right height even when I’m standing up.
The most important piece of equipment is the editing software. I use mostly a program called Screenflow. It’s simple but powerful and I know how to use it, so it’s perfect for me right now. I tweak and colour balance all footage, which makes a world of difference and then I spend quite a lot of time editing.
So that’s how I make music videos. Feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments.