by Alex Cosper (1/15/13, revised 3/18/14)
Adding video to music has become much easier with modern computers using video editing software such as Windows Video Maker or iMovie for Mac. You can also create a slide show from photos set to music, using websites such as Animoto. The key to great music videos is capturing outstanding performances. The popularity of home movies on YouTube has helped elevate independent artists.
Even pocket video cameras that only cost a few hundred dollars are useful for shooting live performances or conducting artist interviews. It's no longer necessary to worry about certain technical aspects of video production that were mandatory in the previous century. Still, some people like to invest in video equipment that costs thousands of dollars because it does provide higher professional quality.
All you need to produce the video is a cable (such as USB) that connects the video camera to the computer and a basic editing program like iMovie. The software lets you add titles and transitions. If you want more advanced tools, Final Cut is a more robust platform that works well with artist videos. Both levels allow you to an audio soundtrack to visuals. If you need to do extensive editing with music, then Final Cut is more suitable than iMovie and both are marketed by Apple. The other popular video software platform is Adobe Premiere.
Keep in mind that music videos have helped drive several labels and artists deep in debt since the 1980s. Most of those professionals never saw a return on investment. That's because they put too much emphasis on high budget videos to try to get into rotation on MTV and VH1, which both used to air more music videos than talk shows. But the idea of the music video still lives on through YouTube, which is a great way to showcase live performances. There's no rule that music videos have to be high budget. In fact, it makes much more economic sense if they aren't. At the same time, avoid uploading crummy sounding videos to YouTube. Many smartphones with video capability now produce clean quality audio.
Uploading video to You Tube is very simple. First you sign up for a free account. Then you go to the video manager section and at the top of the page you'll find a button called "upload," which is how you upload files. It's a good idea to keep videos under ten minutes because they can take a long time, sometimes hours, to upload even with a high speed internet connection.
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