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Thomas J. West Music

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5 Steps to Creating a Cool Music Video on a Tight Budget

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 8:15 AM

Creating good music videos is not an easy thing to do. Making videos on a low budget is even more difficult. One thing remains, no matter how big your budget is – the process of making music videos is always the same. When starting to work in this field, a person needs to learn to get the most out of the resources he or she has, and this rule applies even when you climb higher up the ladder and start making some larger budget videos.

If you are really passionate about doing this, sometimes you will be forced to cut your own paycheck to create a video that you really like. When you are starting off, it’s good to know a couple of tricks so that you can create low budget videos that can stand well against some expensive ones. Here are some things you can do.

1. Take Your Time

One thing that you cannot guarantee at the start of your music video making career is that you will be able to create videos in a short period of time. The first reason why is because you simply won’t be that skilled at first. The second reason is that you simply won’t have all the tools and resources, and it will simply take more time to shoot and edit the footage, as it will have a lot of little imperfections.

The three essentials of making a music video are quality, time and price. In the beginning, it’s best to provide quality and cheaper prices instead of promising that you will finish a video quickly, while cutting down on its quality. Work slowly, and both you and your customers will be satisfied with the end result.

2. Bring Out the “Cool” in Cheap

Although low budget videos don’t have the same quality as those expensive ones, they do have a dose of uniqueness, quirkiness and charm that big budget music videos will never be able to have. Instead of trying to hide those “cheap” aspects of your video, you should look to expose them on purpose and do them with style. In my opinion, this is how some of the best video makers were able to do something special, while they didn’t have any resources available. Basically, the most important thing is to have quality camera equipment, all the rest can be made up with a dose of creativity and outside-the-box thinking.

3. Have a Small Number of People in the Video

When I first started shooting music videos, I tried to keep the crew to a small number of people. Why? Simply because you will have less expenses because, let’s be honest, you can’t give them anything for their efforts. You might think that this will set you back, but in most cases, you can accomplish anything you imagined with less people if you organize yourself (and them) properly. There are a lot of moments where a good portion of your crew just sits around and does nothing; instead, you should organize everyone. Keep them occupied during the whole process.

4. Shoot the Video on Familiar Locations

One of the most expensive things when it comes to making a music video can be the location. To get around this issue, you should stay humble and come up with good locations to which you have access. Not only this, but it’s generally a good practice for beginners to shoot at places they are familiar with. The best scenes are shot with natural lighting, and if you understand how a certain location behaves, you can make top notch scenes. To get this natural light effect though, you will need several expensive reflectors and a big, open space, and this is why I encourage you to choose outdoor locations you are familiar with.

5. Hire Students To Work With You

No matter if we are talking about statists, actors or video assistants, you should look to hire talented students that will do these things for pocket money. You can even find students that will collaborate with you on your project for free, as they might need it for an exam or something like that. The important thing is to find people who are talented and creative and, who knows, you might even end up becoming long-term partners.

As a final piece of advice, I would like to suggest that you think outside the box and get creative. For example, there are many ways you can actually simulate things on the scene, without having to implement special effects or additional people or tools that are expensive. Build your knowledge, one step at a time, and you will find various ways to create great videos without a lot of money.


This article is a guest post.

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Categories: Music Education, 21st Century Artistry, Guest Authors

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