It’s been said that there are truly only two things that you need for shooting music videos. One is a camera, which we’ll go over plenty of options and tips for using below.
The second thing is a killer track, which we can’t help you with. (Unless you want some of the best royalty free music for videos, copyright protected with unlimited licenses and able to be used anywhere including YouTube and broadcast — in which case you should click here).
However, for the sake of this article, we are going to focus on the best digital video cameras for shooting your own music videos. And before we get into the specs, let’s start by highlighting our best cameras for shooting great music video content:
- Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
- Fujifilm X-T4
- Sony a7 IV
- Nikon Z6 II
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Sony FX6
- Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K
As you can see, we have a diverse range of brands and camera types to cover for shooting high quality music videos. But first, let’s dive into some basic tips and tricks to keep in mind when you start filming music videos.
Tips for shooting music videos
Let’s face it, there have been millions upon millions of music videos shot over the history of film and video. And as such, the crux of a music video shoot doesn't just come down to filming music videos with the best cameras and video quality.
It really comes down to creativity. How can you make your artist, song, and video stand out in today’s insanely crowded music video market? Here's a good place to start:
We don’t have all the answers for you. But we can offer a few tips for unlocking your own creativity. We also want to simply make sure that you’re able to shoot some stunning music videos with superb image quality and with all the professional audio recording features that you’ll need to capture your creative vision.
- Start from a performance track base: While not a necessity, it can be very helpful to start your music video by simply recording your artist performing their song. You can add plenty of flair and creativity, but having a full start-to-finish track will provide a base on which you can add the rest of your footage and edits.
- Mix in different locations, sets, and props: Once you have a base, you can start adding in different locations and sets to bring diversity to your music video. These can either include different cuts with your artist, or with other scenes and narrative elements which you’d like to explore.
- Consider different speeds: A cool trick many music video directors use these days is to record their videos at different speeds and frame rates for unique looks. If you are doing this, you can play back your artists’ track at 2x or 0.5x the speed so that they can still lip-sync the performance.
- Don’t get locked into one camera or look: Just because we have our camera selections here doesn’t mean you can’t look outside-of-the-box for your cameras or looks. Music video directors have experimented with all types of cameras for different effects— for example, this music video was shot with a car’s backup camera.
- Go wild in the edit: Once you have your unique and diverse footage to choose from, feel free to go as wild and as free as you’d like in the edit. Remember, music videos are a creative platform which rewards experimentation and new ideas. Go as wild as your heart desires!
The 7 best music video camera options
Alright, now we can actually explore some camera options that offer HD video capability and other important features to help you shoot your music video projects.
With a Super 35 sensor capable of recording 6K video at up to 50fps and a price point under $2,000, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is going to show up on a lot of our camera lists.
While there’s perhaps nothing in particular that makes it stand out too much against its Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and BMPCC 6K Pro counterparts, this 6K specific offering is pretty much the best of both worlds.
It’s also one of the few cameras that will feel as light, small, and easy-to-use as any other mirrorless camera option, but with footage that should rival any higher-end cinema camera. Its downsides mostly have to do with durability, battery-life, and documentary-style functionalities, but for shooting music videos you really can’t do better.
- Active Canon EF/EF-S Mount
- Super 35-Sized HDR Sensor
- Record 6K 6144 x 3456 up to 50 fps
- Dual Native 400 & 3200 ISO to 25,600
- 5" 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen Display
- Record up to 120 fps Windowed HD
- CFast 2.0 & SD/UHS-II Card Slots
- External Recording via USB Type-C
- 13-Stop Dynamic Range, 3D LUT Support
- Includes DaVinci Resolve Studio License
Another favorite camera that pops up often on our lists, the Fujifilm X-T4 is a true game-changer for music videos, and it gets extra attention coming from the popular camera and film brand Fujifilm. Pulling from all its manufacturer’s cinematic knowledge, the X-T4 has proven to be one of the best up-and-coming lines of mirrorless cameras on the market.
Combine the X-T4’s 26.1MP CMOS sensor with some beautiful film simulation modes, a flip-out touchscreen, and high-quality stabilization, and the X-T4 should be perfect for shooting music videos no matter what the budget or scope.
- 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 Sensor
- X-Processor 4 Image Processor
- 5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization
- DCI/UHD 4K at 60 fps, Full HD at 240 fps
- 425-Point Hybrid AF System
- 3.69m-Dot 0.75x OLED EVF
- 3.0" 1.62m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
- ISO 160-12800, up to 15-fps Shooting
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Film Simulation Modes
3. Sony a7 IV
After building a digital camera legacy based on their high-end quality, low price points, and sharp image quality, it makes sense that — for many music video creators — once you go Sony you never go back. And if you feel that Sony makes the best cameras, there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
The Sony a7 IV continues the legacy of a true flagship mirrorless digital camera in the video and photo world that is about as reliable as they come.
With a huge 33MP full-frame digital camera CMOS sensor, 4K video at up to 60fps, and Sony’s iconic color science behind it, the a7 IV is always a solid option for any video shoot — but in particular shooting music videos will look truly beautiful and crisp with images that will pop off the screen.
- 33MP Full-Frame Exmor R CMOS Sensor
- Up to 10 fps Shooting, ISO 100-51200
- 4K 60p Video in 10-Bit, S-Cinetone
- 3.68m-Dot EVF with 120 fps Refresh Rate
- 3" 1.03m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen LCD
- 759-Pt. Fast Hybrid AF, Real-time Eye AF
- Focus Breathing Compensation
- 5-Axis SteadyShot Image Stabilization
- Creative Looks and Soft Skin Effect
- 4K 15p UVC/UAC Streaming via USB Type-C
4. Nikon Z6 II
When Nikon first released their Z6 it became an instant bestseller for the brand because of its high-end photo and video capabilities. However, to further focus in on the filmmaking and music video markets, Nikon’s Z6 II follow-up might take the cake for the best music video camera from the brand.
With a 24.5MP CMOS sensor and a fast dual EXPEED 6 image processor, the Z6 II leveled up its recording capabilities to include 4K UHD at 30fps with 10-bit HDMI output and the manufacturer’s own N-Log recording format for crafting cinematic visuals.
It’s also an underrated camera in terms of auto-focus, in-body vibration reduction, and low light performance, which can come in handy for shooting music videos in any indoor or twilight outdoor music video environments.
- 24.5MP FX-Format BSI CMOS Sensor
- Dual EXPEED 6 Image Processors
- UHD 4K30 Video; N-Log & 10-Bit HDMI Out
- 14 fps Cont. Shooting, ISO 100-51200
- 273-Point Phase-Detect AF System
- 3.6m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
- 3.2" 2.1m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 5-Axis In-Body Vibration Reduction
- Dual Memory Card Slots
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include at least one classic DSLR camera on our list of best music video cams. And while the age of the DSLR cameras might be dying in favor of the mirrorless movement, the Canon 5D’s legacy for shooting music videos is real and very much earned.
The last in a line of great video cameras with superb image quality, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is still a very powerful option for music video directors looking for that old reliable-ness and ease-of-control.
The camera itself is also no slouch with a 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor capable of 4K video (even with a crop sensor). However, it’s greatest appeal might be for filmmakers who have used Canon 5D film cameras (or similar ones like the 7D or 60D) in the past and are looking for the best version of this historic camera for their videos.
- 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- DIGIC 6+ Image Processor
- 3.2" 1.62m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
- DCI 4K Video at 30 fps; 8.8MP Still Grab
- 61-Point High Density Reticular AF
- Native ISO 32000, Expanded to ISO 102400
- Dual Pixel RAW; AF Area Select Button
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF
- 7 fps Shooting; CF & SD Card Slots
- Built-In GPS and Wi-Fi with NFC
6. Sony FX6
Moving into the cinema camera section of our roundup, we have to highlight the Sony FX6 for its high-end capabilities and beautiful recording formats.
With a 4K full-frame 10.2MP CMOS sensor which shoots DCI 4K at up to 60fps (and UDH 4K up to 120p), the FX6 might be the best slow motion and HFR camera on our list. It also offers beautiful S-Cinetone gamma for realistic skin tones with up to 10-bit, 4:2:2 XAVC-I recording.
While not quite on the level of a Sony Venice but still a major step up from a Sony a7 IV, the Sony FX6 might be your best “budget” option for any music videos looking for that professional level video quality without having to rent at the highest end.
- 4K Full-Frame 10.2MP CMOS Exmor R Sensor
- DCI 4K60p | UHD 4K120 | 1080p240
- 15+ Stops of Dynamic Range in S-Log 3 EI
- Compact Form Weighs Just <2 lb
- Phase Detection AF/Face Tracking/Eye AF
- Base 800-12,800 ISO / 320-409,600 Max
- S-Cinetone, S-Log3, HLG Modes
- 10-Bit 4:2:2 XAVC-I/16-Bit Raw Output
- Dual CFexpress Type A/SDXC Card Slots
Similarly, the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K also sits in this sweet spot right below the ARRI ALEXAs of the world, yet well above its own middle-market counterparts like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.
Truth be told, if you are looking to shoot music videos with a true A-Cam / B-Cam including a second continuous shooting speed setup, the URSA Mini Pro 12K would pair quite well with a BMPCC option.
However, with its 12K Super 35 CMOS sensor, 12K video capabilities at up to 60fps, and plenty of HFR recording options, this might be the best camera for music videos or any other high-end video production needs.
- 12K Super35 HDR CMOS Sensor
- 12K 17:9 to 60 fps/12K 2.4:1 to 75 fps
- DCI 8K to 120 fps/14 Stops Dynamic Range
- User-Changeable PL Lens Mount
- 4K Super16 up to 220 fps
- 80MP/frame Blackmagic Raw
- Dual CFast or SD Card Recording
- USB Type-C Recording to Disk/SSD
All that being said, we really have to stress that in the world of digital music videos, the best cameras will always be just a tool for the talented creator to come up with a new idea, shoot a new style, or try a new gimmick to put their artist and song out there. Our picks will help with shooting music videos, but the rest is up to you.
If you feel like you’ve have a better of how to choose a camera for music videos, then you might also enjoy picking up other filmmaking tips and tricks on the Soundstripe blog:
To display this right margin box:
Edit the "Source Code" of the "Blog Content" for this post and add:
to the paragraph (<p>) tag where you want this box to show.
Example paragraph code before this change: <p style="text-align: justify;">
Example paragraph code after this change: <p style="text-align: justify;" class="has_right_box">
The "source code" for blog content can be edited by selecting "Source code" from the "Advanced" dropdown while editing the "Blog Content" for a post.