Music videos are awesome tools for promoting a release – old or new.
But maybe you don’t have the budget to be able to do a lyric video or traditional music video. Or, maybe you just want to try something a little different.
Despite what you might think, it is possible to create a great video out of still shots/pictures. Think of it this way – instead of scoping out locations and trying to capture the best video footage you possibly can, you can take your time in curating a set of awesome photos that tell a story.
So, what software will you need to make your music video? Let’s take a look.
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You'll Need Image Editing Software For Your Music Video
Instagram filters are great and all, but you’re a little limited with what you can do. Plus, you usually end up having to crop your photos to fit the format, which might mess with your creative vision.
I would suggest downloading and learning GIMP to add filters and text, do quick touch-ups, and make other modifications to your images. GIMP is free, and though it takes a little bit of getting used to, it provides you with all the tools you need to prepare your images for a music video.
If you would prefer to use a mobile app, check out Google’s Snapseed, which is available for Android and iPhone.
But keep in mind that you can do more than just edit photos with GIMP. It is also a full-featured graphic design suite that allows you to modify images and create text and objects. This is something a simple photo editing tool won’t let you do.
You'll Also Need Audio Editing Software For Your Vid
Let’s not get too caught up in the visual side of things and forget that you might need to edit, cut, modify or add a fade to your music to prepare it for your video.
For basic editing, you won’t require anything other than Audacity. It isn’t the most elegant or user-friendly solution in the world, but it gets the job done.
If you can see yourself doing more audio editing and recording and don't have a digital audio workstation, then I would suggest investing in Tracktion or REAPER. Tracktion is only $60, and in my opinion has one of the best user interfaces of any DAW available. You can get a $60 discounted license for REAPER, or a $225 commercial license, depending on what you need the software for, and I also hear really good things about it.
I have no reason to believe that you would be getting too heavily into audio editing while you’re making your photo-based music video, but just in case, it’s worth having a solid audio editing tool on hand.
File-Sharing Software Is Also Useful When Creating A Music Video
It is common to accumulate a lot of files when you’re looking to create a video.
You might need your producer to send you an audio file, your friends to send you photos, or participants to send you their information (names, website addresses, etc.) so you can credit them in the video. Plus, you might have to transfer photos from your smartphone, tablet or camera to your laptop or desktop computer.
Fortunately, you can manage this chaos using a tool like Dropbox. At the very least, it is a far more elegant solution than going back-and-forth with email. Organize all of your files into a single shared folder, and let your team add to it as necessary.
Dropbox can also work as a backup in case you end up losing important project files.
And Of Course, You'll Need Video Editing Software
You probably won’t have to look far and wide for video editing apps. Windows machines come with Movie Maker, and Macs come with iMovie. For most projects, you won’t require tools more sophisticated than these.
Granted, the interface for Movie Maker is nothing special, and some prefer more intuitive and feature-rich tools. Meanwhile, iMovie is a great piece of software right out of the box.
So it mostly comes down to ease of use, your goals and your budget. As a Windows user, Adobe Premier and Sony Vegas are also great options, but they will cost you a pretty penny. On the upside, Adobe does let you use their software with a $19.99/month subscription.
Mac users can also take advantage of Adobe Premier, and other great tools like Final Cut Pro.
In general, I would suggest using the software already available on your hard drive, and if you absolutely can’t stand it, upgrade to Premier – but that’s just my opinion.
Do I Really Need All This Software?
The short answer is “no.” The absolute minimum you need to begin creating a video is video editing software, and that’s it.
Typically, you can drag and drop photos and audio files directly into the video editor. From there, you can determine clip lengths, add basic effects, insert transitions, and so on. Most video editing programs also make it easy to create credit rolls and add basic text.
Image editing software is a nice-to-have, since you might want to touch-up your photos before using them in your video. Typically, for video, you’ll want to create photos for a 16:9 aspect ratio at 300 dpi, and unless that’s how you’re capturing your photos to begin with, you’ll likely need to make some modifications.
Audio editing and file-sharing tools are optional, but again good to have depending on the nature of the project and what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish.
Creating videos with photos is fundamentally a simple process that anyone can learn how to do. Creating an effective presentation, on the other hand, can take some practice. Your first picture-based video may not be great, but you can improve.
Don’t forget that videos can take a variety of different forms. Sometimes a lyric video can help you gain a lot of exposure. Sometimes an acoustic rendition of a full-production song can be powerful.
A music video featuring photos can be equally artistic, so be creative. Brainstorm ideas and come up with a unique concept that’s attention-getting. If you do it right, people will forget that they’re merely watching pictures!