Whether you’re shooting the runway or a stylized documentary, here are a few great examples and tips for creating engaging fashion filmprojects.
Above image fromDANSE À DEUX TEMPS
Fashion filmsare a cinematographer’s dream – moody, stylized and often experimental. Unlike commercials, whichare forthright in theirmessagingand typically utilize an“appeal to the masses” approach,fashion filmsaim for a softer sell and typically target aniche audience. The proliferation of web video has led to an increase in this ‘genre.’ Brands have taken notice, using this platform as way to forge deeper connections with their audience.
Whether it’s through product placement in narrative form, documentary-style personal profilesor simply through a video lookbook, the following projects represent some of the bestfashion films. Then, read on for considerations on gear, music and talent when shooting your own fashion film project.
This post comes hot on the heels ofNew York Fashion Week, the industry’s preeminentbi-annual event. Our friends over atShutterstock are covering this year’s NYFW, with loads of footage and photos that you canlicense for your own fashion related projects.
Fashion Films: Story & Style
Your story will differ depending on your audience, product, and client, but the goal is all the same… inspire people to buy the product.Obviously this looks much different than simply creating a commercial. In fact, mostfashion filmsdon’t mention the products at all. Instead, goodfashion filmsoften highlight the products in a subtle way. What story do you want to tell?
Different Fashion Film Genres
Although ‘fashion film‘ is a bit of a nebulous term, we can break it down into a few potential subgenres…
1.Product Placement Films
Unlike traditional commercials where the product takes center stage, the following videos don’t push the sell.
For example, this film created byJessy Moussallem forVaninais agreat example of an inspiringfashion film. Part music video, part choreography video…you wouldn’t overtly know they were pushing a product at all. Some incredible cinematography work went into creating thisstunningfashion film.
The following video created byÖctagonwas designed to inspire people who like skateboarding to buy their products.It’s an unconventional approach for a skate video – highly stylized, black and white color grade, visual effects. It’s futurusitic, a bit dystopian and edgy…and it works.
In this skateboarding video created forNew Balance, we see a few skateboarding celebrities using the products. The video is a little more“corporate” than the other videos in this genre, but it’s a good practical example of that sweet spot where a commercial meets a film.
2. A-Day-in-the-Life Film
“Day-in-the-life”documentaries are arguablythe most popular style offashion filmout there right now and for a good reason….the “lifestyle” approach connects with audiences. These documentary-like films showcase a subject doing various things which the potential audience would find interesting, but unlike ‘Cool People Doing Cool Stuff,’ day-in-the-life films focus on the beauty in the mundane.
In this film created byFree People, we follow a girl as she travels throughout a mountain landscape. Notice how the style of the film complements the clothes she wears. This is a topic we’ll discussin more detail below.
The day-in-the-life style has become so synonymous withfashion filmsthat it’s become a parody initself. In this mockumentary,Viva Venaflips the script and makes fun of the day-in-the-life films that they frequently create. While you’ll probably want to take a serious approach to your film, it’s definitely a funny watch.
3. Narrative Films
One popular way tocreate an artisticfashion filmis to use a narrative approach. A narrativefashion filmtypically focuses on thematic mashups where the filmmaker will try to combine different styles and themes to complement the clothing or products.
This film created for Bibi Lou showcases two themes that were clearly an objective for the filmmakers: class and fun. The cinematography, location, and clothes highlight the high-class nature of the clothing, while the content, music, and VO make it more fun. You’ll notice that the narrative isn’t quite as traditional as a ‘normal’ short film.
This film created forTed Bakeris more traditional in its approach to storytelling, but you’ll notice that theclothing seems to ‘pop’ a lot more than in a traditional film. This is because when making a fashion film, there’s a focus on makingthe productslook good. This also translates intomaking meaningful setdesign choices and spending extra time on color in post.
This film created forLove Storiesis exactly what the name brand implies. The film is simply a narrator talking about his love for a girl, with lightheartedcinematography to make the entire film feelmore empathetic.It’s interesting to see that, instead of focusing on spectacular cinematography, the filmmakers focused more on creating a fun story.
4. Music-Driven Films
Amusic-drivenfashion filmwill highlight the clothing by cutting incredible cinematography together with a good music track that evokes the right tone for the clothing being presented. If you’re looking for the right music forfashion films,I highly recommend checking out our library here atPremiumBeat.
This film created forJT by Jessica Trosmanis one part music-driven video, one part experimental film. The film definitely complements the artistic nature of the clothing Jessica is trying to sell.
Another great example of afashion filmis this music video called Snoozecreated forForty Five Ten, Tootsies, and Haggar. The film is essentially indistinguishable from a traditional music video. This style can be a fun way to showcase your client’s brand in a non-traditional way.
5. Experimental Fashion Film
If you want yourfashion filmto stand out, experimental is the way to go. However, the biggest challenge when creating an experimental film is to create an engaging film that doesn’t isolate the audience. You don’t want someone to be so weirded out by your unconventional storytelling that they don’t look at the clothing! It’s a fine line… but when done correctly, anexperimental fashion filmcan be quite effective.
This film created forUpton Beltsuses contrast to emphasize the bold nature of the belts being sold. The film is successful bybeing visually stunningand approachable for mass audiences.
This film created forIoana Ciolacuis a little more experimental in it’s approach to storytelling, but if you investigate the brand, it actually falls right in line with their clothing style.
A behind-the-scenes or documentary approach can giveviewersa behind-the-scenes look, while humanizing a brand.
This documentary simply showcasesNaked and Famous Denim’sprocess and values through interviews and b-roll footage.As far as craft goes, the film looks fairly easy to create, yet the content makes it just as good as the other videos in this post.
This film created forHelen Rödelis a simple VO with b-roll footage of the creation process. But the thing that really makes this film stand out is the cinematography. The shots are up close, intimate, and raw… just like the clothing brand.
In fashion, a lookbook is simply a booklet that showcases clothing or products that will be released ina given fashion season. Some companies are choosing to createlookbook filmsas well. These can look very different depending on the brand/intent.
This lookbook created forUrban Outfittersis simply a series of models on a white backdrop wearing the clothes with a very unique motion graphics effect applied to them. The result is a cool overview of the clothing styles and an entertaining video.
This is another example of a lookbook created forEzekiel.The film pairs footage of a small European village with the clothing to supplement the tone that Ezekiel was going for.
Finding Music for Fashion Films
Behind every greatfashion filmis a great music track. Music has the power to radically change theway your audience perceives your film… and subsequently the clothing. When picking the right track, you want to focus more on how the track will complement the clothing. This all depends on the type of clothing you will be selling. For example, if you are creating an ultra-sleek modernfashion film, you might want to choose anedgy electronic track. Whereas if you are creating a lifestyle video for a sweater brand, you might want to choose something a little morefolksy.
When it comes to selecting the right musicfor afashion film, you have two options: pay an artist to create a custom track or license a royalty free track. Paying an artist can generate some amazingresults, but it can also be crazy expensive. Not to mention the process of creating a custom track can take a lot of time and effort.
So your best option is to license a track from a royalty free music site. Here onPremiumBeatwe have thousands of custom tracks designed to be embedded seamlessly into yourfashion films. Our artists handmake tracks with character and emotion. I especially recommendPremiumBeat’s fashion pagefor upbeat fashion-inspired tracks (also perfect for covering runways and live events).
Color Considerations for Fashion
If you want to take your footage to the next level, then color needs to be a cornerstone part of your post-production workflow. This is especially true if you’re creating afashion film. Color, or more specifically color palettes, can make the clothing ‘pop.’ While the example below is a bit extreme, it does highlight how important it is to think aboutall of the colors in your scene.
You’ll notice in the video thatthe colors seem to be more vibrant than most videos you watch, but that’s simply not the case. Instead, the colors are emphasized because they contrast well with the other elements in the scene. You won’t just see someone wearing a bright shirt… you’ll see the shirt as it stands in contrast with the mountains and snow.
The entire frame was colored to make the clothing colors stand out the most. It’s basiccolor theory. When you intentionally draw out colors in your video through set design and post-processing, you can make your footage look very professional and inspiring.
One color resource that I like to use isCoolors.co. On their site you can lock in certain color valuesand see what colors gowell with them. When fashion designers are designing clothes,they use color palettes…sowhy should you abandon color palettes when you edit the footage? Spend a little extra time planning out your footage color and you’ll be amazed by the result.
When making afashion film,tone is king.Before you select your camera, you need to figure out the overall tone of your scene. Will it be modern, hipster, authentic, etc.? After you’ve chose a style and tone, then you should select your camera. Mostfashion filmswant to showcase how beautiful the clothing is, so you probably want to get a camera with a high dynamic range. Also, for color purposes, recording in RAW is a must.
If your budget is slim, you could go with a Canon DSLR like theMark IIIwith amagic lantern hackor aBlackmagic CinemaorPocket Camera. If your budget is middle-of-the-road, you could use something like aRED SCARLETor aBlackmagic URSA. If you’re going high end, you will always get good results with aRED EPICor anARRI ALEXA.Be sure to bring enough cards as well. RAW footage ills up cards incredibly quickly.
While the camera is certainly important, don’t forget about lenses. If you’re wanting to get really up-close shots, you’ll want to make sure you rent or buy a macro lens. And while we’re on the subject, you should probably use prime lenses only when shooting afashion film, as they will generate a shallow depth of field and a crisper image.
Where to Find Models for Fashion Films
If you don’t already know a good model, then there are a few online resources out there to help you find the right model for your gig. The most popular siteto find models online isModel Mayhem, butthe modelsare almost all amateur. They’ll require quite a bit of direction once they get on set. Model Mayhem is cheap though — sometimes free, actually — so if you’re working on a low-budget fashion film, it’s probably the best way to go.
Another option would be to call amodeling agency in your area. They will likely be able to find you an experienced model, but you’ll pay for it. If you’re working on a medium to high-budget shoot, this is the way to go.
For more fashion film inspiration, check out thefashion section on Vimeowhere they hand-select only the best fashion films.
Have any other tips for shooting a fashion film?Share in the comments below.
How do you film a fashion video? ›
Think about the frame composition. And leave some room for titles on the right or left choose theWhat is the purpose of a fashion film? ›
Fashion films now shine the spotlight on costume designers, simultaneously illuminating the design process and advertising brands. In particular, fashion films are used in addition to runway shows to introduce new collections or fashion lines to people all over the world.How long is a fashion film? ›
These films can be anywhere between just about a minute long to being a full fledged 40 minutes short film – most, however, lie in the lower range of the spectrum. Due to its length, most fashion films are watched online and not on TV – most TVCs are only about 15-30 seconds long.