Question: I would like to create a music video to use to market my demo in local clubs/venues. How can I do this w/o spending a fortune? I don't mind if the production is not like a++, I just want something that will be artistic and compelling.
Answer: Flying by the seat of your pants probably isn't going to get you where you're looking to go... whether its just to get a few local gigs or to "hit the big time". Securing a decent paying venue or increasing your fan base is, in most areas, almost as tough as getting your demo before a label. If you have to cut corners my advice would be to try and do the thing piecemeal using professional people and/or professional equipment wherever and however you can. Remember, once your video is in circulation who knows where it (or you) will end up some day!
Preplanning and Scripting:
A music video, like a drama, should be planned, even scripted, before you shoot. If you can't afford a professional consultant you might find someone to help you plan and script out your video at a local theatre company, drama club, or college for little or no cost (Did someone say intern?).
If you have to script it yourself do a little homework. Study music videos and performances featuring music of the same genre and note techniques that impress you. Try to figure out how and why the directors took the shots and made the cuts that they did. You don't have to duplicate what you see, but it won't hurt to borrow some ideas from the pros.
Every song has a story and the goal here is to find and visualize it. To help you decide on the pictures you need, make a simple storyboard. Don't worry that you can't draw. All you want to do is make sketches of the shots you need. Stick figures and visual shorthand are fine. After all, who's going to see these pictures except you?
Shooting the Video/Audio:
A freelance videographer can often be hired at a reasonable price. If you can't find one you can afford, rent or borrow a professional camcorder and tripod because the video quality of a professional camcorder is far superior to that of a consumer grade "handycam".
Sound tracks can (and should) be recorded separate from the video in order to ensure you get a good, clean recording of the performance. An on-camera microphone won't make a good live recording. To get better sound, either plug an external mike into your camcorder or (if possible) get a feed from the house sound system. Be sure to ask the sound technician for a mike-level feed! A line-level feed plugged into a camcorder's microphone input will not only sound heavily distorted, it can cause permanent damage to the camera's circuitry.
Set up the camcorder framing a medium close-up of the performer(s) and allow them to play the number all the way through without stopping the tape. This will give you a continuous audio track to work with. This shot will also provide the primary video for your project, with lips perfectly in sync with the music. Cutaways of fingers on the piano, guitar strings or other video clips can be edited in later.
It's a good idea to shoot your star performing the number several times, from various camera angles. If you are shooting a group of musicians, get coverage of each member. You may find that you need to tape the same song six or eight times to get the shots you need, especially if you are covering a group of performers.
Important! Keep all your takes regardless of mistakes and bloopers because sections of the video can be edited into the final production.
Editing & Producing the Video:
Once you have your video and audio if at all possible you should hire a post-production company to edit it. Because editing is not dependent on location like shooting is, the world is your veritable oyster! Get on the internet and shop your project out... you'll probably be surprised at what you can get for your buck. Companies such as Real2Reel Multimedia ( http://www.r2rmultimedia.com ) can put the pieces together and add in graphics and special effects thereby creating a music video that will rival todays hottest music videos.
Best Wishes For Your Success!