Do you remember your first few cover band gigs? You planned everything down to the most minute detail; the setlist was rehearsed and rewritten again and again, and you endlessly discussed how you’d get to the venue, what you’d wear, and who’d stand where. You did all of this planning because you wanted to be the best you could be (and not embarrass yourselves of course)!
The same principle applies to shooting and creating a high quality promo video for your band. Getting from deciding to make a video to actually having one, requires time and a series of steps. The first of those steps is “Planning”, and here are 5 helpful tips to get you started:
1 - Who’s it for?: The answer to this might seem simple: it’s for the people who are going to book us. But you need to be very clear as to who you want those people to be. Remember; you can’t be all things to all people, so it’s advisable to choose a specific target audience. Whether it’s country pubs, 5-Star weddings or corporate media gigs, pick the market you want most and tailor your video specifically to it.
2 - Identify the Look & Feel: The starting point for this is thinking about your cover band’s “performance style” and how you want to be perceived. Whether you’re a high energy party band that gets into its audiences faces, or an easy going ensemble that prefers to let the music do the talking, your video needs to reflect it. Once established, think about how best to capture it using different camera angles, lens filters, and post-production fx.
3 - What are You Filming?: Be selective of the gig you choose to film as it should resonate with your target audience. It must also perfectly capture you performance style, while lending itself to being properly shot. Several things to consider:
- Are there any safety issues?
- Is there sufficient space for filming?
- How is the stage area lit?
- If taking a live sound feed, what are the acoustics of the room like?
- Will the person who booked you mind?
4 - Storyboard: Rather than filming the entire gig in the hope of getting sufficient quality footage, choose a smaller set of 3 to 5 songs. Create a storyboard as to how you want the video to flow. Then semi-choreograph each member and sequence in advance, and rehearse it. This will help put those band members who are lense shy at ease, and make the overall video look more fluid.
5 - Take it Seriously: Creating a decent live band video takes time, dedication, and organisation. Even if it’s your friends and their smartphones recording the footage, make sure they, and everyone in the band, treat it as a professional shoot. From setting up to editing, decide in advance who is doing what and when. Consider electing one person as director, and making them responsible for ensuring things run smoothly.
Having a live band video is not just about getting gigs, it’s about getting the kind of gigs you want. For most cover bands, that equates to higher quality, higher paying bookings. A live video is a great help in breaking into those markets, but you only get out what you’re prepared to put into it. So get your creative thinking cap on and start blocking off time in your calendar!