How to create a music video of an orchestra

The world of performing arts has dramatically changed in the last year. Live concerts with audiences are all but extinct. Due to pandemic restrictions, musicians are having an increasingly challenging time making music together, and especially having a challenging time making music for audiences. To mitigate the challenge, musical groups have implemented a wide array of creative solutions. Brass players are placing covers, like shower caps, over their horn’s bell; and choirs are performing with special masks designed for singers. Another solution that many groups are turning to is music videos. You’ve probably seen the music videos out there done by choirs and bands alike. I call them Brady Bunch videos because they all have the tile-look. I’m not personally a fan of that look, but if it works it works. If you’re a choir teacher looking at doing a music video for your group, go to ACDA for some inspiration. The purpose of this blog post is to speak directly to orchestras and bands who want to learn how to creat a music video of an orchestra.

Making a music video for your orchestra:

(1) Audio is everything. Get the audio right! My suggestion is to record the audio a few weeks prior to the filming of the video. Hire a professional sound engineer to do the tracking, mixing, and mastering. This is NOT something you should do on your own.

(2) Once the track is mastered, you should hire a PROFESSIONAL videographer. Don’t hire your best friend’s aunt who is a part-time wedding photographer. No! Hire someone with a solid portfolio. Be willing to fly them in, if that’s what it takes. Trust me, it is absolutely worth it. Remember, your video will live on forever. Do not cut corners.

(3) Regarding setting, because you already have the audio pre-recorded, your instrumentalists will not have to play their instruments in full volume or balance while the videographer is doing his work. He’ll match up the video with the audio when he returns home to his editing studio, which is where the magic really happens.

(4) Back to the setting, you can film indoors in a traditional concert hall, or be a little more creative with something outside. It’s up to you. Whatever you do, though, please resist the temptation to get too artsy fartsy. You still want people to believe that your orchestra is truly playing their instruments during the video session. It shouldn’t be fake looking!

(5) Once you get the final product back from the videographer, you may need to request a few changes or minor edits. But please, don’t fatigue him with tons of edit “fixes.” You hired the guy because you trusted his work and his portfolio. A few post-production edit requests are normal. More than a couple requests is too many. It’s called “edit fatigue.”