With sites like YouTube having over a billion users, and social media giants like Facebook putting more emphasis on media content, it goes without saying that video is one of the most important pieces in online marketing
. Due to this, getting visual content to go along with your recordings is more important than ever. Not only are live performance videos are an important part of a strong EPK for emerging artists, but they are also a great way to engage new fans. A live video gives an artist the platform to share another piece of themselves; a visual accompaniment to an already established sound. This 2015 study by Nielsen
shows that the younger demographic listens to music on YouTube more than any other source.
Now before you pick up a camera and hit record, there are a few things to consider:
Quality Video & Audio Recordings
First and foremost - do not film on a smartphone with terrible audio and video quality. It’s completely fine to have fan-filmed videos floating around on the internet, but when they become part of your EPK that's used for grant and showcase applications, you're not exactly putting your best foot forward.
If you are looking to film a live video and get the best bang for your buck, I suggest looking into hiring a small film company that specializes in music videos and live performance shoots. Check out some of your favourite local acts and see who they have worked, or get in touch with local media training schools to see if they have students looking for projects. And if you do decide to go DIY, try to get a take where the audio isn't distorted, the performers are easily visible, and the sounds of the crowd don't drown you out.
Live Show vs Controlled Performance
It seems like a no brainer that the perfect place to film a live performance video would be at a live show, however there are a number of risks to consider. The biggest risk of filming a live show is that you have one shot at nailing the performance, and that’s it. If the bass comes in a bit late, or the drummer doesn’t hit their big fill, it’s all recorded and that’s it. Conversely, if you have full confidence that the band you’re playing in can give an amazing performance, it can turn out exceptionally well, as there’s nothing quite like capturing a magical performance in front of an adoring crowd.
A great example of a live show video is this live performance of Jesse Roper's "Hurricane's Eye
The other option is to have a controlled performance. This means picking a location, setting up all your gear and then doing multiple takes until you get it just right. Controlled performances also allow you to have more creative freedom in terms of decorating the space you are performing in, and helping create the particular mood you are trying to convey with the song. In most cases, controlled performances also produce a better audio recording, as everything is planned out and carefully mic’d up to get an ideal final mix.
A great example of a controlled video is Lydia Hol's "Heading North
Make sure it's a reflection of yourself
This category is geared more towards a video you're specifically using for grant or showcase applications. There's no harm in having acoustic videos that portray versions of your songs, or videos that may showcase a different arrangement, but if you're applying for something specific, make sure the video you submit best reflects you as an artist. If you want to get a gig as a 4 piece rock band, make sure the video you submit is a performance of a 4 piece rock band. The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity within these videos, but just make sure you don't lose sight of who you are as an artist.
There are many more ingredients that go onto a great live performance video, but hopefully this article gets you started on the right foot. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me at the email below.
Mike Noble is the Program Administrator for Music BC, a BCIT Broadcast and Communications grad and all around nice guy. If you have any questions about this particular article, or a suggestion for a topic in the future, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.