HipHop Melbourne - Music, Events, Videos

Music Videos: How to not suck at making them

09 Feb 2016 music biz words by Terence Ill
Music Videos: How to not suck at making them

Wherever you look - websites, social media platforms, everywhere - video content is more popular then ever. Your audience is hit by so much of it every single day, that ‘average’ is just not going to cut through anymore. The fact that you have a video clip alone is not going to get you anywhere in 2016 - it has to be a good one. So how do you make a good clip? While there is no set recipe, here are a few guidelines that will set you off on the right path.

Concept and preparation

It is easier than ever for any msuician to buy a camera that shoots broadcast quality footage. But with all the gadgets at hand and the constant urge to use them for something, it's easy to lose focus. Crate Cartel’s Discourse, who has been directing, shooting and editing clips for the likes of Maundz, 1/6, Tornts, Plutonic Lab and countless more, broke it down for us like this:

“…High quality cameras are getting cheaper and more accessible. But, that doesn’t change the need for a well developed concept. Concept over technology, every day!”

Different types of songs require different types of visuals. Is your song telling a linear story or is it abstract? Think about what you want your clip to get across and how you are thinking of achieving that with images. Write it down - even better, draw a story board. It will not only help communicate what you want to the videographer of your choice, but it will also help you work out what props you need, how many different locations you will need, whether you need additional talent in your clip and a whole bunch of other things that you would have otherwise missed. In other words, come prepared when you approach someone to shoot it. A good videographer will still hit you with ideas that can improve your script and point out any issues, like effects you may want to use that turn out to be too hard or expensive, and will help you find alternative ways to tell your story and stay within your budget.

Don’t be lazy, this is probably the most important part of your video production. Without a concept you have nothin.


If you want it to look professional, your best bet is to get it done by a professional. Yes, a great concept will set you off to a good start, but shooting your clip on an iPhone, from your shaky hands in a room that’s too dark, will not do your concept justice. You have to nail it on every level. As always, getting a professional service means that you will proably have to spend some cash.

Finding the right director and/or videographer has never been easier, thanks to the internets. Find a clip you like and that you feel suits your concept, then check the credits. Bam.

Reality check: No matter how hard you try, your video won’t go viral. Ever.

Seriously, don’t fall for the idea of ‘going viral'. Any digital marketing expert will tell you that ‘going viral’ is a myth. While it might not be obvious to you, most content that is considered a viral success is in fact endorsed by media outlets and has stupid amounts of marketing and production dollars behind it. Don’t believe me? Look up Ecko’s Still Free campaign. That was a viral masterpiece. It also took more money than some people make in a lifetime and a whole agency full of creative masterminds to make. Bottom line is, don’t expect that your clip will just take off on its own and will suddenly have millions of views.

Think about ways to promote your video clip beyond your own Facebook and Youtube account and where and how you can release it. For example there are online magazines that are happy to premier music videos. Think about these things from the very beginning, as some may take longer to organise than you think.

A few examples of well crafted Hip Hop clips out of Melbourne:

Discrouse - The Martyr

Brand new clip, showing how effects are done right and with purpose.


1200 Techniques - Flow Is Trouble

When it comes to the right balance between concept, production value and execution, this clip nails it.


One Sixth - Insomnia

This clip from One Sixth’s latest release is about visualising a feeling, a state of mind, rather than showing a continuous story. It’s a good example of a very minimalistic more abstract approach that still manages to keep you glued to the screen.