6 Things That Actually Matter for Music Videos - Stereo Stickman

6 Things That Actually Matter for Music Videos


  1. Adobe After Effects

I’m going to rip this band-aid off early: After Effects is 100% the only and best Editor/Compositor you could possibly use. I wouldn’t have been able to say that even three years ago. 5 years ago, AE could barely even export audio and had to have sequences re-imported into Premier to even make any sense as a product. Adobe has, however, Seriously upped their game in the creative cloud. And yes, it’s $20.99 a month, but the plus side of that is you can shoot all of the scenes for your video you need and, as long as you can edit them in a month, only pay $21 for a WORLD CLASS EDITING PROGRAM. After effects is an absolute beast at not only the traditional compositing of layers of film and filters, as well as base color correction and time manipulation (Think Photoshop for moving things), but it now supports enough actual video editing and audio effects to outpace its forerunner, Premier. If you ask me, that’s a steal at $21 a month (And I Swear to you they are not paying me a single cent to say that, I say it from YEARS of editing experience.)

  1. Triune Filters and Tutorials

Triune is a company most famous for their other name: Film Riot. If you’ve ever attempted to do anything cool with a video that shouldn’t be a new name to you. Film Riot has been on the scene for years teaching at home editors low-to-no budget tricks to achieve all of the big Hollywood blockbuster effects. After a few years of consistently wowing the world with Film Riot tutorials, Ryan Connolly decided to release some of his AE presets as well as Foleys, Muzzle flashes, Smoke, Aspect Ratio Packs, etc. These are incredible, and I guarantee you they only get more valuable. I downloaded the Essentials asset pack 4 years ago for about $40, it’s now worth $450. It’s been broken up into different categories since, and you can easily purchase a pack that fits how you want your whole film to look and I PROMISE you it will deliver 100%.

  1. Lenses and Adapters

There are production houses that you can (And most big budget labels do) rent your cameras, lenses, and lights from. And sure, I’d love to spend $3000 a day to borrow someone else’s crap. Chances are, however, your scrounged up for your own little Canon dSLR or have someone who’s using theirs. If that’s the case, what you’re really looking for is lenses. Etsy and ebay have a plethora of lenses left over from the 40s and 50s that are in perfect working order for anyone shooting on Manual rigs anyway. Most of these are M42 mount lenses and require a $15 adapter to pair them with your existing camera. PLEASE DO NOT spend $400 on a new lens for a single shot, a $30 lens and a $15 adapter will help boost your budget early in the game without sacrificing your vision.

  1. Location

Everyone thinks about how cool it would be to shoot their music video in their favorite bar or club, and 9 times out of 10, they’re right. The only issue, from a corporate and legal standpoint, is that releases are 100% required from you if you ever want a deep pocket to fund the release of your video. The most important thing to keep in mind is local film laws and the three big pieces of incredibly generic releases: The Location Permission (This is from the owner signing to say that you are allowed to film at their location and they won’t sue you if someone gets hurt during) The Location Release (This is different, it gives you permission to show video footage containing aspects of the location. Think of Permission as being allowed to be there and Release as being allowed to show people you were there) and the Individual Release from everyone on site (This is the paperwork that makes sure you’re allowed to use someone’s face. Without it, under most laws, they can sue you for NOT blurring their face out even in the background of a half a second of your music video). Typically, you can avoid this paperwork by filming in public locations, as most images capture–even of peoples faces– can fall under fair use. Again, these are all subject to local laws and can be a poison pill to your video if you don’t get everything cleared prior to distribution.

  1. Crew

This is a short, but very important point: Know your people, and know that they know their stuff. Nothing costs more than stupidity. Trust your crew and choose them like you chose your lyrics.

  1. Food

There’s an old adage in film: “Feed your crew cheap pizza, get a cheap pizza quality film.” If you’re unfamiliar, film work is known for certain perks. One of those perks is that regardless of how little or nonexistent a day rate might be for a member of a crew, the promise of food is a given. Everyone feeds their crew. To repeat: ALWAYS FEED YOUR CREW. There are big budget caterers called “Craft Services” providers for big union sets, but for the real low budget sets it’s more customary to order some form of takeout, provide some bottled waters, spring for some granola bars, and bring coffee every morning. If you don’t have the budget, adopt a set mother who would be happy to cook for all of your “Friends”. But always, Always, ALWAYS keep your crew fed, and don’t feed them food that’s going to keep them running to the bathroom every ten minutes to deal with stomach cramps.

Chad Earnest


Chad writes things. Sometimes for fun, sometimes for money. He also cooks & does all sorts of video work. You can follow him on Twitter, or at his old fashioned home built website.

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