Music Videos: Behind The Scenes

Find out about the process behind making a music video with this guest post from Digifish

Music video production is essentially just like producing a film, but it’s just confined to a much, much shorter time frame (usually around 4 minutes), which arguably is just as hard, if not harder! Directors and producers combine their visions and ideas to artistically capture the essence of a given track in the most creative and appropriate (or sometimes not) way possible.


YouTube has quickly taken over the world of online videos and has completely changed the way we consume music. No longer do we need to flick through music channels such as MTV and The Hits to see newly released songs in video form. Instead, we only have to land on the YouTube homepage to be bombarded with a plethora of new, on demand videos from a tonne of up and coming or existing artists.

So what does this mean for music video producers? Well, this development certainly favours the bigger artists and the production companies that work with them, as their budgets are far bigger. However, as YouTube is a completely free online platform, videos can be watched for free without any money going to the artist or the producer. This consequently discourages smaller producers to express as much effort and creativity into their music videos as the reward is often not worth the time and money they put in.

On the other hand, online platforms such as YouTube and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter now permit a far greater deal of exposure for artists and producers to get their name and their music out there. Which is great. The competition of artists and bands now in today’s music industry however, is more intense than ever, and so producing and sharing a unique, creative, outstanding music video that gets people talking can really make all the difference in terms of promotion and getting noticed.

But what does this process actually consist of?

  • Concept Development: All music videos require some sort of main concept or theme that all the other video elements are geared towards. This concept should ideally suit the tone, mood and message of the song or artist. The more far-fetched /ambitious the concept is, the more it is likely to cost to bring to life in video form. However, big budgets can sometimes cause complication and a conflict of ideas; it is often the smaller budgets that end up producing the best videos. So don’t worry you first-timers!
  • Obtaining a License: Music is technically an expression of art, meaning there are of course going to be legal boundaries and regulations producers have to abide by. Every production company will have to pass copyright and ethical restrictions before they are granted with an official license to make and publicly release the video.
  • Production Type: A common choice amongst producers nowadays is to display the video content through the use of animation. This is often a more cost-effective method of production and can also allow for an easier, more flexible scope for creativity. The question is, does animation really have the same impact? Does it take away from the realness?
  • Choosing a Location: Once a music video concept has been formulated, producers then need to decide on a location, or locations, to begin filming. Some locations will have to be paid for/hired out, but others (if you look hard enough) will be completely free – and these are often the best ones. If video animation is the chosen route, location is of course purely studio/computer based.
  • Approaching Actors/Actresses & Extras: Basically, all those people who are in the foreground and background of a video; they all need to be found! Usually, people featuring in the video will need to be paid. BUT, for lower budget productions, people will often jump at the chance of featuring in a music video and you’ll acquire their services absolutely free of charge. The same applies for props – these are often lent to producers for free just because, well it’s pretty cool seeing them in a music video.
  • Filming & Editing: Once everything is decided and in place, producers are all set to start filming their masterpiece and transform their ideas into reality. Once filmed, editing is carried out to pull the entire piece together and ensure it is all visuals are correctly synchronised with the audio.

Need Help With Your Ideas?

After discussing what makes a good music video, you’re now equipped with everything you need to know to go out there and make your very own. So, budding young musicians, that’s where Digifish come in. Digifish are a film and animation production company with offices in York and Manchester. Established in 2007, over the years we have created award winning film productions, branded content, commercials, animations and documentaries.

We encourage you to check out the Digifish projects to see some of the work we’ve done for artists such as The Script and festivals such as V Festival. Furthermore, if you’re eager to get your music out there through the production of quality music video, please contact us to speak to one of our team and together, we can transform your your ideas into reality.