How to Make a Low-Budget Music Video

September 17th, 2012   l   No comments

You as a musician have surely thought about making a video that is successful in every way – it has the fame, the flash, the coolness and of course people will remember it and experience your vision as well as your music. All of this is achievable, but let’s be honest, all of us do not have the money to produce a real famous and effective music video. That is why we have collected together 10 most important instructions how to make a low-budget music video.


Choose the Right Crew


  • If it is possible, use people you are close to (friends, family). These are the people you can trust the most and they will probably help without asking you for money.
  • Make sure that the people you hire are always on time, so you don’t have to worry about their attendance. Their absence could also cost you a lot.
  • It is important to use a small amount of people – it is easier to travel around and there are less people you have to pay for.
  • You could also find people who are volunteers. These kinds of people want to gain experiences. They work for less and at the same time they give the most effort.


Choose the Right Equipment


  • Make use of cheaper lighting resources such as natural light if it is possible.
  • Try to find different package deals. There are some private parties who own their own lighting and generator equipment. This will be much cheaper.
  • In some cases, buying your own equipment is going to be cheaper than paying for rental costs. If you are going to use such an item over and over again, it may be useful to buy it, so you can use it in the future. Before making this purchase it is important to educate yourself on which video camera will be the best for you.
  • If you don’t have the budget to hire someone to do the job, and if you’re not very creative at directing a video, you can find the help of a film student, who might work for free in order to gain good experience.


Choose the Right Place


  • Always look for several places instead of being stuck with just one. You might have forgotten that your friend or a relative may have access to a property that you could use.
  • Try to find a place, which is quiet and private.
  • The location you have chosen should require a minimal permit expense, or if possible, is for free.
  • If you are able to keep your group small, the permit fees are not that expensive. It´s definitely not good to get caught with having no permit. This could cost you more than you can think of.
  • Parks are also a great choice, as they have a lot of space and also you don’t have to pay for the space you are going to use.
  • Try to prevent complicated sets. It may seem impossible at first, but you have to remember that they are too expensive and most of the time, keeping it easy and clear can be the key to success.


Star(s) Of the Video


  • Do your own casting.
  • Ask the talents to use their own clothes. It saves you money and also some time.
  • If you need new items or clothes, it´s better to rent them. If you decide to rent something, be careful not to harm them.
  • Try to prevent costly agency fees. You can find people for your video from the Internet.
  • Keep in mind that sometimes people who work for little money give much more effort. They appreciate experiences that you are willing to give, and on the other hand, you can save some money.


Post and Editing


  • While others use professional programs like Avid or Premier, you can use simple freeware software. Or use the one that already exists on your computer, for example Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.
  • To cut costs rent a video camera or buy it used from eBay.




  • Try to make promoting your video a group effort. Get your friends and family to share the video in different social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. Make sure you put a short plan together. You need to set a certain length of time, because often the promotion activity lasts for too short periods of time.
  • There are also the possibilities to use free press release services and also use your contacts to help you with that.
  • Even if you have a small budget, you can get different websites to post your video for a small fee. This small investment is worth it.
  • Also, make a list of the blogs you would like to get your video on, and send them the video.
  • Try to think outside the box. There are many creative ways how to promote your video online.


Use Your Creativity


  • There are no limits on creativity. Instead of using a lot of money, use a lot of creativity. Use everything that you can find around your house.
  • Again, the key point is to keep it simple. You don’t need to spend a lot on different props and art directions.
  • You can always borrow stuff.
  • You can make your own special effect smoke and lighting. Just use your imagination.


Other Useful Tips


  • Research your ideas thoroughly before accomplishing them, because there are always other ways to get your equipment, shooting place or crew with less money.
  • The more you learn, the more you see how many possibilities there are.
    By educating yourself you improve your options as a Director.
  • Editing and composing a video does not take long, if you have learned the basics.
  • You don’t need people to do different small things – do them yourself.
  • Always watch out for hidden costs (setup time, overtime, equipment fees etc).
  • You have to realize when it is appropriate to cut the corners.
    Sometimes cutting the corners can cost you even more.


And finally, Charles Mingus once said: “Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that´s easy. What’s hard is to be simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”


If you have other important tips to add, please leave a response in the comment section below.

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