Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Music Video

Now that practically anyone can set up an account on YouTube or Vimeo, it makes sense for bands to make videos for their songs. It’s an opportunity for people to find them, and if the video is entertaining enough, it will convert a lot of people into fans and maybe even go viral.

People are more visual than ever, so visual content adds another layer of value to whatever you put out. They’re a nice little extra to have for any artists, and with good quality cameras being available for accessible prices, it’s not that hard to put out a great music video. Still, as a first timer, it’s important that you avoid the most common mistakes:

Winging It

Setting up a day and showing up only to improvise is a great way of wasting all your time, and potentially your money. Ideally, you need to have an idea, a message, a narrative. It should be clearly explained in a script and there should be a storyboard so that you know exactly what kind of shots you want. The time from brainstorming is before you even get your camera out.

Organizing all your ideas and thoughts beforehand, will allow you to take stock of what you need in terms of props, wardrobe, locations, and cast. A lot of venues require explicit permits before you shoot, so that’s also a must especially now that shooting with drones have become more accessible and there are a lot of laws regulating their use out in the public. Honestly, the more detailed you can be with your ideas, the better. You don’t have to account for every single second of every shoot you do, but you need to know the technical aspects (shooting angle, color, lighting, etc), and what exactly you need to get out of every scene you shoot. The idea is to make things easy once you sit down to edit.


A classic rookie mistake is not getting all the footage you need. When you’re editing is always best to have to cut down from a lot of material, then having to make up for things you didn’t get. If you want to be thorough, shoot everything that’s on the storyboard, and then some. Get shots of the background, detailed shots of whatever you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to go overboard, cause sometimes that can really help you round up to however long the music is, or it can even make for great transitions from scene to scene.

Looking Formulaic

Everyone knows what a typical music video is supposed to look like. There’s the band rocking to the song and not much else. There will be closeups for each person, a detailed shot of some hands playing the guitars or maybe the drums vibrating, a lot of shots of the singer lip syncing, and then it’s over. That kind of video works for a lot of bands, and you definitely don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you set out to shoot a video, but every once in a while, dare to go beyond what’s expected.