The Difference Between a Music Video and a Live Session

The world of music video production is full of creativity, innovation, and technical expertise. While both a music video and a live session involve recording performances by musicians, they are fundamentally different in their approach and final product. We’re going to jump into these differences:

live session live music recording at arcus sounds studio east london

Understanding Music Video Shoots

Music video shoots are typically pre-recorded performances that are meticulously planned and executed. They often involve elaborate sets, costumes, choreography, special effects, and post-production editing to create a visually stunning piece that complements the song. Alternatively, they can be deliberately lo-fi in their aesthetic or punk production quality, shot in DIY style on budgets that are more familiar to working musicians than the major labels. Either way, the aim is to create a captivating visual narrative that enhances the listener’s experience of the song.


Music video shoots often require extensive planning and preparation, to create that extra layer above all the artistry of the music and its live performance. The process includes storyboarding (creating a visual representation of each scene), location scouting, casting actors or dancers if needed, rehearsing choreography, setting up lighting and camera angles, shooting multiple takes for each scene, and finally editing all the footage together in post-production.


In a music video shoot, artists usually lip-sync and mime to a pre-recorded track during filming. This allows for complete control over audio quality as it eliminates background noise or inconsistencies in live performance.

Exploring Live Session Shoots

On the other hand, live session shoots or live music video recording focus on capturing raw performances as they happen in real-time. These videos aim to showcase an artist’s talent in its purest form.

Live session shoots can take place anywhere – from professional recording studios like Arcus Sounds, to intimate home settings, or even outdoor locations. The key element is that they capture the raw power of an authentic performance, the artist in their natural environment – performance, without hiding that live talent behind a storyboard version of the song.

For live session shoots, audio is recorded simultaneously with the video using high-quality microphones and other audio equipment. This results in a more organic sound that reflects the artist’s live performance abilities.

Comparing Music Video Shoots and Live Session Shoots

The primary difference between a music video shoot and a live session shoot lies in their purpose and execution. A music video is designed to be an artistic interpretation of a song, often involving complex narratives, visual effects, and choreography. It aims to create a polished, high-quality product that enhances the song’s appeal.

Conversely, a live session shoot is all about authenticity and raw talent. It showcases the artist’s ability to perform live, often with minimal editing or special effects. The focus is on capturing the energy and emotion of the performance rather than creating a stylized visual narrative.

Another significant difference is in the sound recording process lip-sync to pre-recorded tracks versus audio recorded simultaneously with the video to capture the nuances of a live performance.

Choosing Between A Music Video and A Live Session

The choice between a music video and a live session shoot depends on what an artist wants to achieve. If they wish to create an elaborate visual narrative for their song or showcase their creativity with special effects and choreography, then a traditional music video shoot would be ideal.

However, if they want to highlight their raw talent and give fans an authentic glimpse into their live performances, then a live session shoot would be more suitable. At Arcus Sounds, we can film, record and produce completed live session video for 3 tracks for the average cost of making just one music video from conception through to completion.

In conclusion, both music video shoots and live session shoots offer unique ways for artists to express themselves through their music. While they differ significantly in terms of production process and final product, both types can be highly effective tools for engaging audiences and promoting an artist’s work. 

At Arcus Sounds we pride ourselves on being able to deliver some of London’s most creative and authentic Live Sessions. Get in touch today for a free call about how we support you to create the music video content you need to get your music out into the world, the way it should be.

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