Tips & Tricks on how to make your videos stick
By Cameron Weller
Recording a set to audio is a smart move. Filming a performance could be an even better one. For electronic musicians and DJs, conveying some physical talent like a vocalist or instrumentalist is not easy pull off. Like anything these days, it’s about pushing your music out there in any form consumable. Live-streaming or posting videos of your longer sets can be fruitful and and a lot more fun than you first imagine.
If you are a knob twisting producer/DJ with minimal performing credentials, tricks and/or aesthetics here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Shoot it well
Filming multiple angles is ideal but not essential. If you are going to post a long set, multicamera footage will help splice up the video. If hardware knob twisting is what you do, obviously shoot a bird’s eye view so to achieve the best vantage point to be appreciated by other gear wonks. One of reasons Madeon blew up was because of this video. It wasn’t shot from the right angle but it works for conveying the physicality of using the push controller.
Since that video was posted, ableton’s push and novation’s launchpad has found lots of copycats and created it’s own YouTube sub-genre. With considerable help from animated illuminating lights that subsequent models incorporated, Push is the most video friendly piece of equipment and it’s all because it looks like a hand held rave, keeping hypnotized on the screen.
Don’t make a music video
Keep unrelated footage out of your performance. Keep it true to the intention of demonstrating your live performance. If you veer off and send it to post production editing, keep it minimal and authentic to the stagecraft of performance. Get caught up in visual effects. You can do something that may enhance the visualisation of the content. Basically don’t try and turn your studio performance into a club show if it’s not intended to be viewed by bookers or promoters. This guy should pull the brakes on all the lights. Your studio is not a club no matter how hard you try.
The obvious exception to this rule is that if you’ve built illuminating stage props that trigger samples and synths when you strike them, why the hell not use them? But you have to commit to the gimmick. Corin from Purity Ring told me it took 6-8 months to program the animated lights of their stage show and that booking agent offers poured in after the video demos were sent out.
Get some camera accessories
A tripod or a fisheye lens. Any sort of aftermarket addition to your camera or device that might make the footage more interesting for your livestream/video. If you can get a video mixer and multi camera setup to make your performance more interesting, do it. If you can talk to some VJs about what looks the best and what innovations are in vogue, ask for help. I spent an hour talking to Hermitude video guy about their set up after a show once. The amount of VJing live video direction was astounding. If you’ve never seen them before here’s a bit of an idea of video feeding that they project on their stage when performing.
Find a corporate partner
Notice Hermitude video was on the GoPro page? If you think that you’ve got a piece of hardware down to the expert level, why not reach out to that manufacturer and partner to release content on their channels? Here’s my favourite example of the corporate synergy from Minilogue teaming up with ableton from a few years back
Avoid shooting a single still shot from the front on
Unless you need it to have your management pitch you to booking agents and promoters, but even then, have some visuals in the background dominating the frame. Otherwise it appears very awkward.
Watch everything out there
If you are a hardware based minimal tech fan like myself, you’d be familiar with Resident Advisors Live music series RA Sessions. It’s awesome and if you are lucky enough to get invited to do it or something similar, a simple request. Smile more than these artists do.
Record, Record, Record
Tape your studio performance rehearsals and review them before posting. Find the angle that makes you look your best, appear like you know what you’re doing, and most importantly R&D yourself and stay conscious of where you can improve. Viewers want a lot. Ensure you capture them with your polished techniques, eye-pleasing aesthetics, innovative production and maybe a dose of huge tunes as well.
Cam Weller has worked with artist on tours and festivals for more than 5 years, mainly in the dance and electronic music world. He has a communications degree from RMIT and produces content for organisations across various media.