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A garage band guide to shooting a music video

Whether you are an artist, activist or setting up a small business a strong digital presence is essential. Social media has shown us the true power of visuals over text; and while spontaneously taken, low quality phone pictures and videos are in abundance, well-shot, well edited videos are still scarce, and can really make one stand out.

For me, being in a small band is like being part of the global ‘home studio revolution’. I have had learn to produce good a quality music video in its entirety from my home studio. My top priority is getting the audio right – the highest possible quality with the best gear and the best performances. Once that is done, the music video is just a matter of getting done as quickly as possible, while keeping the process ‘fun’. 

A video should just be an advertisement which helps my music reach more listeners.

This video of ANJ is probably my biggest song to date –it was recorded across three studios with different musicians; all takes were subsequently brought to my studio for the final mix and master.

With a day job, it took me eight months to produce this video – I would shoot every weekend and use weekdays to edit in bits and pieces. The video was deliberately given a ‘grungy’ look achieved through heavy color correction and effects.

This article will give you a little bit of insight into how videos can be produced professionally with minimum resources. Since there is no limit to high end editing tools, we will particularly focus on the ‘bare minimum’.   


First and foremost you have to decide whether you will be using a Windows or a MAC based system for editing. I personally prefer Mac for its seamlessness; however an Intel i3 or an i5 Windows laptop or PC with 4 to 8 GB of ram, and a 2 GB graphics card, will do just fine.

As for MAC the most practical option would be getting a standard, used i3 or an i5 Mac Mini (cheaper, but still a beastly machine) and couple it with a 32 inch LED TV or a cheap monitor (utilizing its HDMI input).

Used Mac Mini+ 32 inch LED TV: PKR35,000  

Used Windows based i3 or i5 laptop: PKR30,000 


The great debate – Nikon or Canon – I personally believe that at least in the beginners’ DSLR range, Nikon gives a lot more specs than Canon. With that premise, the cheapest DSLR out there is the Nikon D3100, but if you have a bit more money get the Nikon D5300 – it has a ‘swiveling’ display which gives you a lot more shot control. Also unlike D3100, the D5300 can shoot at 60 fps which is necessary for creating good quality slow motion footages. You can also look for a great used deal – a used D5300 coupled with 2-3 lenses can be had for as low as PKR 30,000.

Also if you have a hi-end phone like an iPhone 6/Samsung S6 or later, chances are footage from those phones will be pristine and can be used.

Nikon D-3100 with 18-55mm lens:  PKR 31,000 or less

Nikon D-5300 with 18-55mm lens:  PKR 55,000 or less

Add roughly PKR1,500 for a cheap, but useful tripod.

Once your rig is in place, download the latest version of Adobe Premiere Pro (if you are using a Windows based system) or Final Cut Pro (if using a MAC). Do learn to properly color correct raw footages through tutorials on YouTube.


Technical Do’s and Don’t’s     

  1. Until and unless you are shooting quickly moving objects (like sports), always set your DSLR at 24 FPS – this particular frame rate gives you a ‘film look’ and room for incorporating gorgeous slow motion footages (slow motion footages are achieved by slowing down 60 FPS footage by 60% to 24 FPS, in your editor).
  2. Mixing frame rates is a recipe for disaster! While slowed down 60 FPS or 30 FPS footages to 24 FPS will work just fine, however mixing 24 FPS footage with 25 FPS will cause huge timing issues.  
  3. Since you are on a budget, natural light is your best friend. A cloudy day or the ‘Golden Hour’ (early mornings and evenings) are ideal for shoots, so is the diluted sunlight through your house windows!
  4. Plan your shoot, storyboard if you can, and always try and build small, innovative sets, no matter how tight budgeted you are.
  5. Never forget to ask your Facebook or YouTube audience to ‘Like’ your video and/or ‘Subscribe’ to your channel!
  6. Remember, a great idea will always trump resources!
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