Crafting Cinematic Live Music Videos: Behind the Scenes

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Behind the Scenes, Lighting

I recently had the opportunity to shoot live performance music videos for a talented local singer, Matt Cates. Today, I’m excited to share with you the behind-the-scenes process and some essential tips for shooting captivating live sessions.

The Project Overview

Matt Cates, a singer who has mastered the voice of Frank Sinatra, approached me to create several live performance videos. The goal was to showcase his talent and secure live gigs. We chose to film at Ridiculously Cool Recording Studios in Worthing, a perfect setting for our project.

Filmmaking Tips for Live Music Videos

1. Know Your Space

  • Importance: Understanding the filming location is crucial. I visited the studio beforehand to assess the space, ceiling height, and discuss using haze without triggering fire alarms.
  • Decision Making: Knowing the space helped in choosing the right room and planning the lighting setup.

2. Plan Your Look

  • Flexibility: Matt gave me creative freedom, allowing me to plan a unique aesthetic.
  • Inspiration: I sought inspiration from other music videos, which helped me reverse-engineer and create a similar look with my equipment.

3. Test Shoots Save Time

  • Efficiency: Conducting a test shoot at home helped me save time during the actual shoot and appear more professional.
  • Preparation: Knowing exactly how to set up the scene beforehand was a huge advantage.

4. Lighting Breakdown

  • Backlight: I used a bi-color COB LED spotlight with a blue gel for a strong backlight.
  • Overhead Light: An Amaran F-22, a lightweight LED mat light, provided warm top lighting.
  • Additional Lights: Two tube lights were used for edge lighting, and another to highlight a vintage microphone in the scene.
  • Haze: A small smoke machine created an atmospheric haze, enhancing the cinematic feel.

5. Camera Setup

  • Primary Camera: Sony A7S III with a 55mm lens for wide shots.
  • Secondary Camera: Sony A74 with a 70-200mm lens for tighter angles.
  • Handheld Shots: Additional handheld shots added motion and detail to the final edit.

The Cinematic Edge

  • Backlighting: Backlighting is a powerful tool for creating dynamic and cinematic shots.
  • Haze: Adding haze brings atmosphere and depth, significantly altering the video’s look.

Final Thoughts

This project was a fantastic journey in creating a unique visual experience for live music videos. Remember, knowing your space, planning your look, and experimenting with lighting and haze can elevate your video production to the next level.


Check Out the Final Videos

Head over to Matt’s Channel to see the final music videos.


This blog post accompanies my YouTube video on the same topic. For a more detailed discussion and visual examples, make sure to watch the full video here.

Let’s keep creating and sharing our stories through the lens!

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I'm Will Chidlow, passionate about creating visually captivating content that tells a story. Whether it's through video production, photography, or content creation, I'm here to help you share your ideas with the world. Learn more about my work. Follow me on Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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