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How I got into making Music Videos

My whole life all I wanted to do was be a Radio DJ. I loved music and everything surrounding the Radio Business. Those booming voices with their endless tidbits of insider information on my favorite groups or the music industry in general. It was the only thing I ever wanted until August 1, 1981.

On that fateful date I witnessed the change in industry that would eventually change my dreams. On that Hot August day, MTV signed on for the very first time. The first video was “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles, followed by Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run” The fast editing, 3 minute stories, irreverent visuals that spanned from stark to a trippy color palette that almost jumped off the screen. My mind was blown, and all I wanted to know was how did they do that? Where did they come up with that concept and create those effects. I was hooked, but know I wanted to figure out how to be a part of it.

Fast forward a few years and a BFA in Fine Arts (Radio, TV and Film) from Sam Houston State, I found myself trying to make my living as a visual artist, ok maybe it was a little more like a “Video Whore”. I did some time in small market TV, doing Travel Videos for video rental, Corporate Video and finally Sports TV for what is now Fox Sports. It was all good, but how do I get into making music videos.

I wrote a kind of silly rap song when I was in college, and with the help of some friends from the local Hip-Hop community, I was able to record it and it wasn’t half bad.

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I recorded a few more, then eureka, this is how I can get into the Music Video Business. I will Produce my own video. By this time I had been in Television Production for about 6 years and was pretty experienced and had a lot of connections. I called in every favor owed and not owed, and many of my friends worked their tails off to help with their only reward being a hardy thank you and a couple bologna sandwiches made by my Mom (who is in the video).

Not bad! This would launch my career in Music Videos for sure right? Not really, but it did help. From there I Co-Produced a couple low budget videos for an up and coming Houston Rap label called Rap-A-Lot Records. It was there that I met Willie D of the infamous Geto Boys. Willie had started his own label and I started editing videos for him.

Another small Rap Label approached me (and partner at the time) about doing a low budget, ultra-violent video for them. Although I wasn’t a fan of the message of the song, it was an opportunity to blow up cars and create some really edgy visuals and I was in. I Co-Produced this video with a local Hip-Hop Producer/Artist, but it was really my first time Directing/Editing a Music Video from scratch.

From there came more editing opportunities

After years of building and concentrating on my Television Career, the opportunity to step back into my dream business came back in the form of an up and coming Country Artist Junior Gordon. I met Junior (and his lovely wife Cheramy) when they were working on his first album. Junior told me he had a single called Big, and they wanted me to work with them on a Music Video for it. This was the dream client and opportunity. I had a workable budget, awesome crew and almost carte blanche on the creative for the video. This is the first time I really looked at a project and it came out exactly as envisioned. This video was co-produced with Cheramy Gordon, Director of Photography was Jim Coulter.

After Big, Junior, Cheramy and I Produced a few live videos, then last year we started on Junior’s 2nd Video called Country Lovin. I created a script for Country Lovin that featured a young couple battling the stresses their love for each other and their love for Rodeo. It was a large undertaking and a lot of fun

So here I am, ready for the next opportunity. I love working with artists and helping to create their visions. If you are ready to make the next step, give me a call!

Anatomy of a Music Video 2: Making $15,000 look like $50,000

Today we are going to break down Junior Gordon’s Hit Music Video Country Lovin, and see what it took to create it. We will look at the tools, the crew, the actors and the budget. In breaking down the details of this video shoot, you will be able to see how we were able to make a $15,000 Music video look like a $50,000 video.

The video was broken down into 2 parts a storyline and the bands live performance. The storyline is about a young Country Couple’s struggle between their love for each other and the male leads love for Rodeo and Bull Riding. JT is a rising star on the Rodeo circuit, his Girlfriend Kourtney has to deal with other women, fans and friends creating times of doubt and distractions from their relationship.

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We had 5 major scenes, with 3 main locations to shoot in 3 days. The crew consisted of Roy Schneider- Producer/Director, Cheramy Gordon- Co-Producer/Location Coordinator, Jim Coulter- Director of Photography, Jaime Carreon- Key Grip, Focus Puller, Martini Lighting and his crew and 4 interns from the local college for extra hands. Cheramy Gordon  was a major key to getting that big budget look for less. She was able to secure all the locations, bulls, bull handlers, rodeo personnel, show cars and actors without taking money out of our budget. This allowed us to use the budget for equipment, crew, and post.

Aside from a quality professional crew, there are numerous aspects of a Music Video that gives it “Production Value” and that “High End” look. First is the quality of the camera, lenses (and types of lenses) and gear used. Another aspect is camera movement and tools to create clean and fluid movement. Great Lighting is essential as well.

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For this video, we were using the Red Scarlet camera, Stedi-Cam for moving the camera with a floating feel, A jib to smoothly lift and lower the camera smoothly, and a Dolly for Left to Right Camera Movement.

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Jib Movement Sample

Stedi-Cam  Movement

Dolly Movement

 

Day 1 was slated for the Picnic Scene and for the Late Night Make Out Scene. Because we wanted to use Golden Hour (the couple of hours right before the sun goes down) for the picnic scene, as well as, various production tools (Jib, Stedi-Cam, Dolly and Video Drone) we needed to work fast and highly efficient if we were to get all the shots we needed before the sun went down. We need a dolly shot and drone shot of the couple coming over the fence, and a Jib, then Stedi-Cam shot of them walking to the island. After that we need the kiss shot as well. All in about 2 hours. In Post we wanted the golden hour feel, but wanted to keep skin tones close to normal with just a little golden glow.

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Above was the initial set-up shot on a Dolly/Slider then picked up by the DJI Phantom Drone. From there we moved to the other side of the lake to pick up the jib shot of them walking to the island for their picnic and eventual kiss. This scene also used stedi-cam, drone, and regular tripod. Now was this time we had to really work with the actors to get them comfortable enough to get a realistic kiss.

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Here is the scene…

 

 

Once the scene wrapped we went right into the night time Makeout Scene. This scene was shot on the frontside of the pond making for a quick transition. We used the Jib as our prime movement here, and lit the scene with soft lights and reflectors. We were looking for a very Dark looking night scene, but wanted our actors to stand out. We wanted it to feel like moonlight with a touch of blue.

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Here is the scene…

 

 

Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director    $800                                                                                                                          

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with Cam and First Assistant  $2,100

4 Interns           $100    

 

 

Day 2 was an early call. We were slated to shoot Rodeo Riding Scenes, reaction scenes, The Bands Performance and Junior Separate from the Band.This footage would be shown throughout the video and it was important to get the exact look we were going for. For this shoot we brought in Gaffer Troy Webb’s Martini Lighting to help us with this set-up. We were in a covered outdoor rodeo arena. The look we wanted to create for this scene that was blown out beyond the main action with a cool tint. Some Blue skin was fine for the look. DP Jim Coulter worked closely with the gaffer to get the look we needed. Lighting consisted of numerous large HMI lights to match the outdoor lighting color.

Jim was using all the tools here, Jib, Dolly, Hand-Held and Stedi-Cam. We started with the Bull Riding and reactions…

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Once the riding was finished, we quickly brought the band in and reset. the band was set up spread deeper back than normal to create the depth of field we were looking for. On the close-ups of Junior we tightened them back up. Were were looking for some quick movement to go with certain hits of the son. We wanted it to look intimate, but big. We wanted you to really feel close to the singer, using slow moving Extreme Close-ups.

 

 

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Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director    $800                                                                                                                          

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with Cam and First Assistant  $2,100        

Gaffer/Full 4 ton Lighting Truck       $1,500   

Rigging Grip     came with lighting truck                                                                                                                                                          

4 Interns           $100     

 

Day 3 was shot at an old Country Drive-in Burger Joint. There were a number of Hot Rods in the parking lot to make it look like it was the local hangout. We had numerous extras to fill out the scene. We shot with Jib and Stedi-Cam. The look was again the blownout tinting to blue.

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Here is a look at the Scene…

 

 

Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director    $800                                                                                                                          

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with Cam and First Assistant  $2,100

4 Interns           $100    

 

 

As for the budget, this video is for an independent artist and mostly coming out of his pocket, so we try to keep the budget as low as possible. That being said, you want the quality to be such that it can air on National TV Networks. I only use Professional folks in Production positions and pay a fair rate. That is how they make their living. Cheramy Gordon did a lot of the leg work and hustle that saved a fortune for the artist.

The breakdown of the budget is as follows

Pre-Production– $500.00 (creating storyline, scheduling talent and crew, scheduling shooting times and locations, working with DP to create look and style, working with crew members to make sure all equipment and people are in place

Shoot- $10,500 broken down above

Post- $4,000 (40 Hours Editing and Color Grading) Because this was shot in the RAW format all files had to be color graded before editing could start. Post was highly discounted to bring the video in on budget. I would have loved to had another $2,000 to use an outside colorist.

 

 

The take away from this is that we can create a wonderful Music Video in all price ranges. It is not that you are getting ripped off if the price is higher in most cases, it is that the Producer is adding more production value to the shoot. In a $5,000 video you won’t get all the toys like Stedi-Cam and Jib, but that does not mean we can’t create a great piece, it just means we have to take a different approach.

 

 

As always when considering investing in  Music Video, as with any type of Marketing, you should decide what you want to accomplish with it. How are you going to use it, where are you going to use it, what do you expect the fans to get from it? Once you can answer those questions deciding on the type of Production and Production Value will be easier to choose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Proven New Approach to Restaurant Marketing

The Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Company had one of the most successful launches of any restaurant in the Houston food scene at its time. One of the major reasons for that initial success was the innovative Video Marketing Program we created to help establish their brand and create some noise in the very crowded Houston Restaurant scene and food press. The restaurant had numerous press mentions before they even opened their doors. One of the major food critics even said “What caught my attention was that this little restaurant in the middle of nowhere was announcing their opening with videos.”

CASE STUDY OF THE VIDEO MARKETING PLAN FOR THE BARBED ROSE STEAKHOUSE

In this post we will discuss the Video Marketing Plan, show you the videos we created and discuss what worked and what did not. Let’s begin by discussing the initial plan

THE PLAN

The Barbed Rose was definitely going to be a marketing challenge. We were launching a very high-end Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant in a small, rural town 30 minutes south of Houston. The restaurant was overpriced for its home market, and we were going to have to create a destination restaurant out of it, but there was nothing else in Alvin, Texas to create that Destination feel.

Our plan was to use web video, TV spots and TV appearances to create our destination. We wanted to make our Chef a local celebrity Chef, and wanted to create a connection between him and our customers. The concept was to make him the face of the brand, so when you came to the restaurant you would feel like you had a celebrity sighting. In order to accomplish this, we decided on creating numerous types of videos with Chef Jason Chaney (and his staff and partners) discussing various dishes, ingredients, recipes, Chefographies and a Video Interactive Menu.

THE PRE-LAUNCH/LAUNCH

Our first task was to create some buzz about our upcoming restaurant and Chef. We decided to use a classic TV style Promo with a little mystery to create the initial buzz, then follow up with a TV commercial style video laying out what the restaurant is going to be.

Coming Soon

Chef Intro Video

What is the Barbed Rose?

These videos (in tandem with our other PR efforts) created the buzz and excitement we were looking for with many mentions in the local food blogs and newspapers even before we opened. Once we opened our doors and had some reviews we followed with our reviews are in web video commercial

During our launch we also wanted to create informative videos that not only branded our Chef as an expert, but should the customer beautiful shots of our wonderful food, and all the efforts the restaurant undertook to create that food. These videos were created to catch the interest in the real foodies and were very successful in establishing the Barbed Rose’s commitment   to quality.

Quality Meats

Buying Local

From Scratch Cooking

Video Interactive Menu

In keeping with our original concept of creating the personal connection with our customers and our “Celebrity Chef”, we decided to create a first of its kind Video Interactive Menu. This allowed us to highlight high profit Chef specialties with quick little videos of the Chef explaining his dish. Because we eat with our eyes, this concept was highly successful. Most customers would come into the restaurant saying I already know what I want from seeing those yummy looking videos online.

Sample of an interactive Menu Video

Link to Interactive Menu

http://www.restaurantbyclick.com/clients/barbedrose/menus.html#menu3

We also wanted to highlight the other talent in our kitchen so we created Chefographies to introduce them. This again re-enforced our message of quality in kitchen talent, ingredients and techniques.

Lastly we tried to have some fun with special event videos. These were created to advertise special nights and events.

Winedown Wednesdays

Wine Spotlight

Monday Boy’s Night Out

COSTS

Almost all the footage for these videos were created out of 1 master, fully crewed, shoot. The shoot was 4 days at a cost of about $2,000 a day. We did do a couple of one man band pick up days at around $800 a day. Editing for these videos was around $5,000. We used the videos very actively for 2 years, so the total investment was around $625 a month.

The Barbed Rose started out as a huge success thanks to this innovative way of marketing. It is hard to deny that when someone sees a juicy grill marked steak coming of an open fire, that it makes their mouth water. Video is one of the strongest tools you can use to market your people and your product.

For more information on Web Video Marketing and what it can do for you, please feel free to reach out to me at any time

Roy Schneider

Executive Producer

Vintage Production Group

516-659-4596

New Toys for Big Boys!

I built Vintage Production Company to be be light on it’s feet, not dragged down by owning tons of very expensive gear and overhead. This way we could pick the best tools and people for every project. It has been a very successful formula and we have created so many Projects we are very proud of.

https://youtu.be/W5_y0fR2SlY

As we grow and technology improves, we decided it was time to make an investment in some new Big Boy TOYS to improve our in-house abilities, and give our clients more bang for their Production buck. This investment allows us to create a more Production Value and still bring your project in on budget. So let me introduce you to the stars of our post.

SONY PXW-FS7 SUPER 35 CAMERA SYSTEM

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From Documentaries, Non-scriped TV and Corporate Video to High end Commercials and Music Videos the FS7 was created to be a flexible production tool that fits in every workflow. We chose this camera because this flexibility and it’s ability to be used on a 1 man band shoot just as well as A fully crewed Production.   You are going to love its 4k Ultra-HD image and it’s mesmerizing detail. Add to that the ability to shoot both time lapse and beautiful slow-motion right in camera, and you can see this camera was a no brainer for us!

DJI Ronin-M

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The Ronin-M will add a totally new dimension to our Productions. The 3-axis, Gyro-stabalized Gimbal will allow our camera to move with a silky smooth motion, and allow us to create those Wow shots that take your production to another level.

DJI Phantom 2

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For the last year we have been playing with this bad boy, and the results are amazing. It instantly takes your production from 0 to a 1,000. Aerial footage, tracking shots and a whole lot of Production Value all wrapped up into a little flying machine. I know it sounds cheese, but with the Phantom the sky is the limit!!!

There it is! Our new Big Boy Toys! Looking forward to showing you what we can create together with them!!!

Anatomy of A Music Video

Today we are going to dissect a Music Video that I Produced and Directed for the Junior Gordon Band. By opening up this video and evaluating the inner parts, I am hoping to help you understand what is involved in a production and what you are paying for when you do one. So let’s start with the backstory…

Junior Gordon called me to discuss producing a music video for his first single Big. Though he had no set budget, I knew he was an indie artist and this was his first album so we had to keep the costs down. The video was to be used for both Network Television and Web Marketing.  He had a few concepts, but really wanted me to pitch my concepts, which gave me the ability to build the video concept around a few assets we had in our pocket to make the production look bigger without costing a ton.

Let’s take a look at the video.

That was fun wasn’t it? So how much do you think it cost to Produce? I have had answers as low as $25,000 to as high as $75,000.  The actual budget was $14,700, Let’s break this down so we can see where the money goes.

It was obviously a professional production we can tell by the quality of the video, the audio, shot selection, Camera movement, editing etcetera. There are 2 parts to the video a story line and a live concert scene. Each of those parts were shot in a 10 to 14 hour day. Each of the shooting days were done in a single location (meaning 2 total locations) to get the most out of our shooting time.

By working together with the artist (and his wife Cheramy who served as a location coordinator) on locations, props, a commercial generator to power lights, talent (Professional Actors) and extras we were able to keep costs down. Instead of me arranging all this they, were able to handle this and save a couple thousand dollars.

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Pre-Production- Producer Makes all arrangements, plans, phone calls (charged for 1 day, but really it’s more like 2), finds and books crew and talent      $800

Day one was a live concert scene. It was shot in a barn (air conditioned) in Alvin, Texas. The Cheramy secured the location, extras, dancers and decor at no cost to the production (location fee’s can range from nothing to thousands of dollars). We rented stage lighting and truss for $1,000.

We shot with a single Red Scarlet camera package (4k Ultra-HD) film style, We had a jib (Long arm that allows the camera to move up and down and fly above the crowd), a Stedi-Cam (Harness that allows the camera to move freely as if floating through the air) and a Dolly (allows the camera to roll and move). By creatively putting package deals together I was able to get camera package, jib, dolly stedi-cam Director of Photography and First Camera Assistant for a special price.

Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director    $800                                                                                                                          

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with Cam and First Assistant  $2,000        

Gaffer/Full 4 ton Lighting Truck       $1,200   

Rigging Grip     came with lighting truck                                                                                                                                                          

4 Interns           $100     

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Day 2- We shot at the home of a local businessman. Through the artist and his friend, we had a beautiful house, a Bentley and Classic Motorcycles to complete our storyline without spending from our tight budget. There were multiple scenes shot from this single location making the video look much bigger. Our DP had enough lighting gear to light the scenes on day 2 so we were able to shoot without the expense of the Lighting Truck and Gaffer.

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Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director           $800

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with camera and First Assistant      $2,000

4 Interns      $100                                                                                                                                                                                                

Once Principal Photography was finished we moved into Post Production. Since I was also the editor, we were saving on having to pay both a Producer and Editor for the Post Production Process. Since we shot in 4k, but were delivering in HD, the first thing we had to do was convert the footage. We needed a couple of very fast Drives ($400) to convert the footage which took a day. Editing is charged by the hour and usually includes both the editor and the edit equipment in the price. My rate is $125 for editing. That is a steal considering I have 4 Emmy Awards for my editing work.

Post Production

8 Hours File Convert, and Color Correction. (when you shoot Raw Video Files they are very flat and need they eye of a professional colorist bring the most out of the footage and give it the feel intended on the shoot.  N/C

40 Hours of Editing      $5,000                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Mastering to HD Tape for delivery/Post to various Social Media Sites        $500

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The Total of this Music Video was $14,700. As you can see there is no profit added anywhere, the prices shown were the prices paid to the professional people that worked on the production. It takes a lot of work to do a Professional job, and you want a team that will get the job done right. I gave a few things away to keep them under the $15,000 mark.
 
A Music Video is really just a Marketing Tool. The most important thing is that it is capable of delivering the Marketing results you want from it. I can Produce a high quality Music Video that will work for you for a few thousand dollars or for a hundred thousand dollars. We just need to figure out what really works for you and for your goals!

How Much Does it Cost to Do A Music Video?

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I get asked that question at least once a week from independent artists and small labels, and I wish I had a simple answer for you. It’s like asking how much does it cost to eat in a restaurant? Are we going to Taco Bell or The French Laundry? Are we sitting at the Chef’s Table? Are we Drinking Fine Wine? You get the picture, we have to answer a lot of questions to determine how much it will cost to produce YOUR Music Video.

A Music Video is simply a promotional tool produced to Market you as an Artist and drive sales of your music. As such, the first question is how are you going to use this video? Where will it be seen? Broadcast TV?  Internet? DVD? Theater Projection? All of the Above? Do you have technical specifications that have to be adhered to? Is your music video a performance piece or is it a story? Again you get the picture, so how much will it cost to Produce Your Music Video?

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I Know you want a quick answer without having to read this whole post, so here it goes…

Your Video will cost between $2,000 and $100,000. Realistically if you are looking to get something that is Professionally Produced and Network Ready you are looking at a starting price between $7,500 and $15,000 (based on a 1 shoot with a full professional crew and Professional Post Production and File Delivery). That does not mean We can’t Produce a really nice Music video for less then that, with today’s technology and a little creative juice anything is possible. It all comes down to what you want to create, how long it takes to shoot and edit it and what equipment and crew it takes to do it right.

A Music Video can be shot by a single person with a single camera or a crew of 15 with several cameras, Lenses, jibs, Dollys stedicams, it really comes down to using right tools and crew to create the Music Video you envisioned. Once you decide on a storyline,locations and where the final piece is destined, then you can evaluate your equipment needs and your crew needs and therefore your budgetary needs.

Next time we will breakdown a Produced Music Video so you can see where your budget goes. Please let me know if this is helpful!!!

Until next time The Best of Everything Always!

Roy

We are Vintage Production Group

Vintage Production Group (VPG) is an Internet/Local Business Marketing Agency with a reputation for developing breakthrough web content and design. VPG develops a Madison Avenue style of web strategy for local businesses that heightens consumer engagement and inspires action. VPG is led by Six-Time Emmy Award winning Producer/Editor Roy Schneider, and supported by a team of highly experienced filmmakers, artists and web designers – all working to create a leading web experience for your business, and helping you to leverage this for the highest ROI possible.
Vintage Production Group is “Where Madison Avenue Meets Main Street”.