What to know before going into live music videography

While live music videography can be insanely cool (I might be biased), these are a few things to consider before diving in!  

Never let the fact it's competitive hold you back

The job market can be competitive but don't be discouraged; there's plenty of work to go around. The fact you're based in a certain location might work to your advantage. Maybe you have a unique shooting and editing style that certain people like. Maybe you have a special skill set like drone piloting. These types of things mean you might get offered jobs over other people. Keep improving your skills and networking, and your chance will come. 

Social media and branding are important, but... 

While social media is great for networking and inspiration, don't let it consume you. Build an online portfolio, but be aware of the pressure it can bring. Avoiding constant comparisons with others is a big one. The best thing and quickest thing you can do is to limit your time there.

guy holding gimbal and camera

Know your equipment

You don't need to own expensive gear to produce epic stuff, but knowing how to get the most out of your gear will help. Watch YouTube tutorials, try new things, and diversify your skills. Any experience behind the camera is valuable. This is why I said 'yes' to every job that came my way when starting. Experimenting with various projects will also help you discover your preferences and strengths and what kind of work you like doing. 

The money can suck 

I hate to say it but it's true. Live music videography may not be the most lucrative field, especially when starting. Be prepared to do some gigs for free or at a lower pay initially until you build up some experience. Considering other types of videography work or alternative sources of income can also help to sustain yourself between live music video gigs! 

Expect to work long days and late nights

Be ready for irregular working hours, especially if you're covering festivals. Late nights, weekends, and long days are standard. A good idea is to maintain some level of physical fitness to cope with the demands on your body, especially going into festival season!

computer in dark room with neon lights

Long hours in front of a computer

Expect to spend lots of hours editing in front of a computer. The fast-paced nature of the music industry often requires quick turnarounds. Before long, you'll be smashing out fast edits. You'll notice your speed will increase, you'll also start discovering hacks to make your life easier. Always take breaks from your computer and look after yourself; if you're doing a lot of edits investing in a good computer chair and desk setup can help.  

Gear doesn't define you

Gear matters less than your skills. Invest in what you can afford and focus on building experience. If you need a nice camera or lenses for a big event, you can consider renting equipment for specific events; this is what I often do if I need equipment I don't own for a one-off project. 

Wear earplugs 

This one may seem obvious! You'll often be filming in the pit near loudspeakers, which can take a toll on your ears. Invest in some good earplugs, and always carry a spare set to protect your hearing in the long run.

Want more tips like this? Check out the Live Music Videography podcast.