Lesson Details

Subject: Business

Title: Equipment


These days, you don't need a lot of expensive equipment to make a professional quality music video. Francisco takes us through some of the equipment you can use for your opus.


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There’s a whole slew of equipment you can use to shoot a music video, It’s easy to go crazy with all the gadgets, like cranes, jibs, dollies and track, but believe me, I’ve directed over a dozen music videos, and what I realize is you don't need much. Let's go over the bare essentials when it comes to gear.

This is your paintbrush. Thankfully, we’re at a point in time when people watch the cool music video regardless of what format of shot on.  Thanks to the viral video phenomenon, the world accepts the lo-fi look of entertainment. However, I think you should shoot with, at the very least, an HD camcorder.

We’re going to be shooting Healing Hands music video on a  Z1, which is a HDV prosumer three chip camcorder, and reason why I chose this camera is because it's inexpensive.

In the end: it ain’t the paintbrush, it’s the painter. A silky smooth fluid head coupled with sturdy legs is a good investment. Using a tripod greatly increases your music video’s production value.

If you're shooting indoors in a dark space, I recommend that you have at the very least one bright light to ensure you have good exposure. Everyone looks fantastic in front of a soft box, and I virtually using all of my music videos.  You simply can’t go wrong with this type of light. Nowadays, LED lights are dominating the scene. They use little power, some are extremely portable, and they run cool, so you don’t have a hot set. There are times you don’t need to plug in a light to get a good shot. All you need to do is redirect with what’s there.

One of my favorite production apparatuses is a reflector, or a bounce card. Aimed properly and you get a nice flattering fill light on the talent’s face.  Not only that, you can add a sparkle in their eyes.

Back in the day I used to use a boombox with a CD with the music on the CD and lots and lots of batteries. Times have changed. We have MP3 players now. So what I did was I imported the song into an MP3 player, brought along a self powered monitor, and make sure that you have the right adaptors and plugs, and playing back is that easy.

One way to make a music video look really expensive, is to find tools to make your camera glide and float. In film language it’s called craning or jibbing or dollying the camera.

In this particular video I made, I rented a jib, which is basically seesaw with a camera on one end and a counterbalance on the other. I've also employ a glidecam. This steadies the camera nicely giving the music video a pro look. Another method that I use are my in-line skates. I love the rollerblade, so I slip on my skates and perform some very effective tracking shots.

On the post production side, here's what you'll need: a desktop or laptop computer; you’ll need a nonlinear editing software, and my software of choice is Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro; you should also have a very good quality external hard drive.

And there you have it, that's all you need to make a great music video. Up next, we’ll talk about where you can shoot your opus.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2016