Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

How to Visually Spice Up Your Cover Videos

All images via flypaper.soundfly.com

A version of this article originally appeared on Soundfly.

 

Well, we’ve all heard it before the song, that is. And although it’s lovely hearing renditions that sound nearly identical to the song on the radio, it’s also quite lovely to hear and see something totally different. Something creatively infused… something with spice! So, if you’re recording and shooting cover music videos, I challenge you to add some uniqueness to your next cover video. I’ve got a few tips of my own to share with you.

1. Use different camera angles

A lot of musicians do a one-take, one-angle cover, and it’s boring! I don’t mean to offend anyone, but #sorrynotsorry. In this day and age, technology is getting cheaper and simpler by the minute. Adding an extra camera with a different angle is a very easy and effective way to make your videos stand out over those boring one-takers.

2. Add a handmade touch

If you are a musician, you are creative. If you’re creative, you can draw. And even if you’re not creative, you can still draw… ’cause everyone can! So whether you can create beautiful paintings like Rembrandt, or humble little stick figures like me, everyone can draw. If you add drawings to your videos, you’ll be sure to give some amusement to your fans, and they. Will. Love it. I promise.

3. Lyric therapy

Now that you’ve added some drawings in the mix, why not add some lyrics in there as well? One thing that resonates strongly with my fans is the way I try to tell stories both visually and lyrically. Put your own spin on the way you play that tune, but consider writing out the story on screen so that your viewers can follow along. Whether you add text onscreen while you’re editing the video or just handwrite the lyrics and film them with your camera, the results can be fun and will absolutely add some depth to your videos. Give it a try!

4. Did someone say twinkle lights?

Everybody likes a good romantic video every now and then, and moody lighting can really help to accentuate the feelings in your video. The lighting that you add depends on the feel of the song itself, but if you are trying to create something with more emotion, why not add a candle or some Christmas lights to the background? Just as long as you don’t catch your hair on fire, please. Thanks.

Check out Megan Davies and Matt Wright‘s beautifully lit take on Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”:

4. Give Rufus his 15 minutes of fame

This one is my secret weapon. When in doubt, add a dog. If you don’t own a dog, you ostensibly know someone who does. Borrow him! But seriously, if you can incorporate a pet in your next video, kudos to you! Adding clips of you playing with your pets is a really sweet way to show your fans how much you care about them. It helps viewers relate to you on a personal level, and, in turn, will make them care about you, too. Funny how that works!

We are all human here, and we actually like to see artists being normal people, too. We love to feel a connection. Whether it’s dogs, cats, or anything else you love, putting real emotion into your video gives your fans something else to love about you.

Here’s a song from our girl Daniela Andrade with Christmas lights and a furry friend!

5. Give your video a little flair

Here's a clever way to add a surprising visual element and shake up your sound in your next video. Add some colorful shakers, or hand claps and snaps, or maybe even a tambourine if your feeling wild! It will give you that extra percussive boost your song might be looking for, and if you film a close-up of your fingers or your new instrument, it gives you the bonus of an additional camera angle to work with. Just look at all the ways YouTuber Andrew Huang uses a single percussive toy for visual effect:

So there you have it! Next time you set out to record a cover video, or even an original video, try out some of these ideas to spice up your visuals. Experiment, enjoy, and have fun! When your fans get to see your passion and excitement for your music, they won’t be able to help but fall in love with you all over again.

 

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Jessica Allossery is a free-spirited indie songstress. She taught herself guitar eight years ago by watching videos online, and has since earned nearly six million views on YouTube with her unique cover songs and originals (@jessicaallossery). She is always connecting with her fans from all over the world and doesn't let a day go by without sharing a new video, photo, or idea to show her appreciation as a modern-day indie musician.

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