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Producing Music Videos  by Bruce Blackwell

In our 27 year history we've had the opportunity to work with a variety of bands, choirs and performers in producing high quality music videos. Most of the music videos we've produced have been in a live concert or night club settings. Some of our busiest periods has been at SXSW (South By Southwest) in Austin during the music portion. Bands from all over the world gather to perform, promote their label and negotiate with potential investors and promoters. Many bands credit SXSW as the event that provided them with the opportunity to be discovered by the music industry's movers and shakers.

When videotaping bands, choirs and concerts in a live setting we prefer to use as many cameras as possible. When you're attempting to produce a high quality and almost "perfect" video it seems as though there's never enough cameras. We like to video as many camera angles as possible, include audience reaction and participation, gather more footage than we need and use the post-production process to fine tune the final master video. At the very least we prefer two cameras.

For audio we always make an effort to patch into the house audio board or mixer. Our goal is to get very high quality audio from the mixing board while also utilizing premium camera microphones. Probably the most ideal situation, whenever possible and the budget allows, is to bring in our own mixing board, a variety of microphones and cables to do a mixture of sound.

In addition to live performances we occasionally have the opportunity to mix the band or performers' music with live action and drama - much like the traditional music videos you experience on MTV and VH1. These productions require a significant time commitment, take a great deal of planning and sometimes multiple settings. The post-production process is quite tedious and sometimes hours of footage end up on the cutting-room floor.

Whether a live performance in a traditional music venue or a more elaborate MTV-style video, the final production can bring the band, performers or single artists major returns on investment. Producing and promoting a DVD and sharing your video on YouTube and other web sites can have a very positive effect on your bottom line and future success.

Bruce Blackwell
American Video Productions

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