6 Tips for Mastering YouTube Music Videos

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

Music as a subject pervades the YouTube landscape in many forms. These include everything from the official video for the song from a recording artist to live concert performances to high school musicals and musicians seeking viral exposure.

When it comes to musicians creating that “breakout” video, consider the South Korean pop star Psy. He became an international sensation with his “Gangnam Style” video. To date, that song has been viewed more than 2 billion times and counting. Of course, music videos, official or otherwise, represent a large share of YouTube’s content, so you’ll have to be creative to stand out.

If you’re making a music video, here are a few tips to follow:

1Get the audio right.

If the music doesn’t sound good, the picture won’t look good. That statement applies to just about any video, but when the subject is music, it takes on an even greater purpose.

2Keep it visually interesting.

Conventional wisdom suggests that some situations require compelling visuals, like in an MTV‐style music video, whereas in other situations, the performances are more straightforward and may work well with merely a limited number of camera angles. Just be sure that the visuals work with the music — just because you’ve got a great tune doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the camera work. Remember that it’s an audiovisual experience, so take advantage of it.

3Listen to the song.

And do it over and over. That’s the only way you can get a true feel for the most effective way to visually depict it.

4Create a concept.

After listening to the song, you should have a better sense of writing an effective script. Just don’t let your vision exceed your capabilities. You can run out of time, exhaust your budget, or maybe embark on something you’re not ready to accomplish.

5Find your locations.

You have to shoot your video someplace, so why not find the best place possible? Uncovering the best spots to shoot the video, obtaining the necessary permissions, and observing the light and flow are all tasks you’ll want to do well in advance. For the music video shown, the area was scouted for proper lighting and setting.

6Communicate with the artist.

A music video is a collaboration between the artist and you. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding concept and ideas. If a disagreement crops up during production, you could find yourself majorly frustrated.