Setting up, Filming, and Editing a Musician’s Promo

Last weekend my brother and I teamed up to help out a musician friend of ours, Josh Woods, to record a short promo video of his talented guitar playing skills. I was delighted when he asked me to help help him shoot this video and was happy to help. I knew straight away that this project had to been made quickly and cost effectively. Very early on, I came up with the simple concept of filming Josh in front of the camera with nothing nothing but fairy-lights behind him. This is the final piece.

As we were limited in both time and budget, my brother and I both agreed that the best place to film would be in our own garage. We had recently cleared it out so we had a decent amount of space to work. Most importantly this gave us enough time to properly set up the shoot without any interruptions before our musician turned up. I currently own a couple of fluorescent umbrella lights that came with a photography studio kit I bought a few years back on Amazon. I used those to light the subject and then set up fairy-lights in the background. We also placed blue fairy lights underneath the subject with foil to add a subtle blue hint to the shadows. After this we began testing each light to see what effect we were getting from them. Below is a few photos taken during setup, testing the different lighting options available to us.

After we were happy with the lighting setup, my brother and I moved onto to framing our shots. This shoot consisted of a two camera setup, my brother operating a Canon 700D with 18-55mm kit lens would film a stationary mid-shot of Josh performing whilst I would operate my Canon 60D with an 75-300mm lens handheld. John would focus of having a solid shot that we could use as our base for editing whilst I shot a series of close-ups from different angles to use in the edit.

Still taken of 'John' whilst setting up shoot.

Still taken of ‘John’ whilst setting up the mid-shot of the shoot.

The main reason for wanting to have fairy lights in the background was because I wanted to create some interesting looking bokeh to make the shoot more atmospheric.  I feel like I achieved this on the close-ups but unfortunately we just didn’t have enough space in the garage to make the wider shots work. If I had more time I would have looked into finding a larger space to film or investing in a better lens that could achieve the look I was after.

Close up 'Bokeh shot' of Josh.

Close up ‘Bokeh shot’ of Josh.

Once the shots had be setup, we were ready to go! Josh performed four songs, recording the audio on his ipad. Filming went smoothly. We went on recording for a bit longer than we originally thought but most importantly we got the shots we needed.

I edited the piece in Final Cut Pro X. I have been using the software for a few years now and am very comfortable with using it. The first thing I did was create a log sheet matching all of the clips files together (something that should have been done in production but wasn’t enough time to do). I then imported all of the files into FCP X and synchronized the two camera shots from each performance. This left me with the editing setup below.

Multicam Setup in FCP X

Multicam Setup in FCP X

I could now watch the whole performance live from all angles and decide which shots to cut to at any point. I then tweaked the footage with colour corrections, added a few bits of text and ta da! I am very happy with how the project turned out and am wish the best for Josh hoping this this video has helped. If you enjoyed reading this post then please click ‘like’ and follow my blog. Any questions or feedback is also much appreciated so feel free to leave a comment below and I will be sure to message back!

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