Making Low-Budget Music Videos: 5 Simple Tips

QWith YouTube now being one of the biggest sources for music discovery, having some form of music video to accompany your latest club banger is practically essential. That said, the weighty price tag often associated with music videos can be a major source of concern for most, so here we look at some key tips for keeping the camera rolling on shoestring budget.


Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

A music video for a song is pretty much a requirement these days since YouTube is such an important tool for getting music out to both current and potential fans. That said, video production can get crazy expensive, especially if you’re hiring pros, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can do it cheaply and still come up with a product that can be totally effective. Here are some ways to cut the costs way down and go the low-budget route, yet still get results.

1. Plan everything ahead of time. Whether you’re paying for production help or not, the key is to work fast and that takes planning. Have a shot list prepared ahead of time so you know exactly what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and what you expect to accomplish.

2. Shoot in a single location. Multiple locations cost time and money, and may not actually add anything to the result that will make a difference in the end. Find an interesting location where you can do multiple setups and make them count.

33. Find some free help. You’d be  surprised what your friends or friends of friends know how to do that can be a great help during a shoot. There’s always somebody in the crowd that’s gone to film or broadcast school that can fill in the aesthetic blanks when there’s a question.

4. Don’t sweat the gear. Major television commercials have been made on iPhones and that technology is only getting better, as are GoPro’s and their less expensive equivalents. HD camcoders are now super cheap as well. That said, lighting is important so borrow what you can because you usually can’t have enough. This is where you’re film school friend can really come in handy.

5. It’s all in the editing. Your shoot can go well and you can have the greatest footage in the can, but the story telling is in the editing. It’s pretty easy to do it yourself these days as the tools are fairly inexpensive or even free, but it helps if you know someone with a little experience to help you make it look professional. When in doubt, watch a few of the videos that you like and try to copy the editing style.

Is it better to have pros handle everything? Yes, usually, if they’re on the same artistic page as you are, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself and still come up with something that totally works. Just like with creating music (especially mixing), creating a video sometimes comes down to finding something that you like and trying to duplicate it. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to exactly copy it no matter how hard you try, which means you’ll come up with something that’s very much you in the end, and that’s exactly what you want.

You can read more from The Musician’s Video Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

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