How To Make An Awesome Promo Video (and why you need one)

Professional Video Showreel Filming & EditingDid you know that we may never have heard of Adele or Justin Bieber if it wasn’t for their promo videos? Both of these top-selling artists were only discovered after people saw them performing online. From bedroom studio hitmakers to star vloggers, when it comes to self-promoting your act, video is king!

Our own booker feedback shows that bands and acts who have a professional looking and edited promo video get many more enquiries & bookings than those who don’t. You may have words on your website that tell people how wonderful you are but in today’s risk-averse climate, people want proof – and that means seeing you in action!

But aren’t professional video showreels expensive?!!

We’ll show you how to reduce the costs with our latest tips & advice if you are making the video yourself.


1. Grab The Viewers’ Attention 

There may be hundreds of hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube alone but research shows that 20% of people who start watching a video will leave after 10 seconds. Yep, that’s how short our attention spans are!  The answer?…make enough of an impact within the first 10 seconds of your showreel to get people’s attention and then keep them watching!

Be creative. Be unexpected. Build anticipation (but don’t take too long). Use quick cuts, special effects and imaginative camera angles. Show a variety of footage, different gigs in different venues, switch from inside to outside, shift focus from the performers to the audience and intersperse the video with informative text about what you offer e.g. ‘Available for Weddings, Parties & Corporate Events’, plus reviews and interview snippets.

2. High Quality

In your quest for professionalism, you want a showreel with high-quality audio and visuals. Badly filmed, poor-quality footage can do more harm than good.

Whether you are a Band, Singer, Speciality Act, DJ, Magicians or any other type of musician or entertainer, footage of you performing live at an event to groups of people is highly recommended to show potential bookers real proof of the energy that you could bring to their event and the reactions of the audience.

If you really want to make your publicity stand out, invest in a professional videographer who will know how to frame and light your shots and produce in-focus footage that captures your performance perfectly.  Two camera angles and a mixture of distance filming and close-ups create the professional feel. A professional will also do a top-notch editing job afterwards, using cuts of your best bits and bringing it all together seamlessly into a ‘showreel’.

Spending a bit of money on a high quality, professional video will be well worth it in the long run as it will bring in more clients and better paid gigs.

Want to see an example of how an HD-quality video will look? Chris Dakers & The Fabulous Dakers Boys perform hits by Nina Simone, The Script, Stevie Wonder and Dean Martin, showing off their range of styles nicely. With studio-quality sound, high-definition footage including close-ups of the musicians, smooth editing and a great mix of music, it looks totally professional.

Minimal text inserts show reviews from happy bookers, snippets of information about the band and their logo and website:

3. Show your personality

In striving to show off the best of your talent, it can be easy to forget the importance of appealing to bookers on a personal level. People want to feel that they will find you easy to deal with and that guests will enjoy having you at their event. The more people react to you on an emotional level, the more likely they are to book you.

Incorporating interview snippets is a great way to introduce yourselves in a more personal way. Talk about what artist influenced you the most, your first magic trick, favourite DJ (relevant to your act type)…everyone loves to feel like they’re getting the inside story. If you’re a band, describe the different band members. Who’s the funny one? Who’s the bossy one? How did you meet? Does anyone have any unusual hobbies or talents?

When bookers are searching through tons of videos, these are the things that will stick in their minds.

4. Make it Fun!

A promo video doesn’t need to be completely confined to footage from gigs. Sneak peaks of you rehearsing or hanging out backstage add interest and variety.

The main thing is to look like you’re enjoying yourself. Smile, laugh, dance and connect with the audience and each other.

A good example of this can be seen with Counterflow‘s video showreel, a high-energy Function & Party Band. Their video starts with an enticing glimpse backstage as they get ready for a show. The singer is putting on her make-up and the guys are chatting, laughing and warming up. As the pre-recorded music kicks in, we switch from black and white to colour and suddenly the gig is in full swing. Lights are flashing, the band are jumping and the audience is going crazy:

5. Sell Your Act

Think about your audience. What age group are you trying to appeal to? What type of events and venues are you hoping to perform at? Will your audience respond more to a fast-paced, energetic video, or something mellow and atmospheric? Which tracks will they want to hear? How will they want you to dress?

If you can, get plenty of great live footage. People want to see the audience dancing, singing along and generally having a fantastic time. You also want to include how versatile you are.  Display a variety of routines / numbers that you do.  If you are singer, a band or a musician, show your range, include upbeat numbers and slower tunes, electric and acoustic numbers and different line-ups if you have them.

Written reviews, FAQs and clips of audience members saying how much they enjoyed the show can be superimposed over video footage and provide useful information and extra reassurance to bookers.

What is your unique selling point? Do you sing and play the violin? Do you put a vintage twist on modern songs? Are you members of the same family? Let viewers know what’s special about you. If you’re an awesome saxophone player, bust out a solo. If you can dance, let’s see you shimmy! Showcase the best of your talent and don’t be shy!

Finally, be sure to include a ‘call to action’. Showing your website or email address makes it easy for people who like your video to get in touch with you then and there, before they wander off to make a cup of tea and forget all about you.

In this showreel, Magician Ian Souch uses a gentle backing track to create a serene and happy mood. The sun is shining and people are enjoying themselves. As Ian performs his amazing tricks in front of guests of all ages, we see and hear their reactions. The video includes reviews and the act name and website are shown at the beginning and the end:  

6. Keep it Short

When it comes to promo videos, less is ALWAYS more. Be concise, stick to the point and resist the temptation to include long sequences, even if it’s your best ever performance. Pick out the most powerful bit and just use that.

Keep text inserts such as reviews and FAQs short and don’t use too many as this will distract viewers from the main event which is you performing.

Your video should ideally be no more than 3-5 minutes long. Even then, you want to break it up. Use different clips and vary the lighting and the setting.

Remember, you’re only giving a preview of your talents to get the booker’s interest. You don’t need to give away your entire show. Leave them wanting more!

Aerialist / Acrobat Jonny Grundy keeps it short and sweet in this action-packed promo video. With fast-changing, high-impact visuals, we see Jonny performing in all his different guises. Clips are short but show you what you need to know and it’s all wrapped up in less than two minutes:

7. Get Permission

Before shooting a live video, don’t forget to ask the booker and the venue for permission to film. Let the booker know what the filming is for and reassure them that it won’t interfere with the show.

If you want to include footage of the audience, you may want to let audience members know that you’ll be filming or put up signs stating that you’ll be filming the event. If you’re only filming for a promo video it should be fine.

Congratulations…you made it to the bottom of the article 🙂 Did you enjoy it? We hope so and sincerely hope it significantly helps you to attract more bookings in the coming weeks & months…now get planning, filming & editing!


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