5 Tips for Making a Low-Budget Music Video

Andre Austin

If you and your band have just come up with what you’re sure will be your next hit single, you might be interested in helping promote the song with a music video. In today’s video-first social media landscape, music videos can often be shared just as much, if not more, than your song itself. As such, it’s never a bad idea to get the band together and create an awesome music video to not only promote your new song but your band and yourselves.

Of course, for indie bands, it can be expensive to think about paying someone to create a music video for you. In fact, a DIY approach might ultimately be better for your wallets and your exposure, since it can help you execute your exact vision for the music video. Here are five tips for making a low-budget music video on your own.

Come up with a great idea.

The first thing to do before you even pick up a camera or find or a location is to come up with a great idea. Not every great idea needs to be an expensive one. Think about what’s simple to execute but ties in with the song in a powerful way. That could mean taking a more narrative approach or just a great visual metaphor for your song. A great example of a simple but effective music video is the video for the song “A Pillar of Salt” by the band The Thermals. A white room with the band is made more exciting thanks to the ability to spice it up with strobe effects, handwriting, costume changes, and paint — simple, but memorable!

Rent professional gear.


Nowadays, the production value of your video matters as much as the song itself. While it’s true that you could shoot the music video on your smartphone, if you really want to make an impression and look professional, you’re going to need high-quality video equipment. This also includes having a few different lenses to ensure that you can get each and every shot in your storyboard, whether it’s a wide-angle, tight shot, or the ever-popular fish-eye lens.

Thankfully, BorrowLenses can hook you up with Canon camera rental and lens rental to get you access to this kind of high-end equipment for a fraction of the cost it would take to purchase outright. From professional-grade DSLRs that make it easy to get handheld shot to higher-end Canon cinema cameras, you’ll be sure to look great and save money by renting your gear for a weekend shoot instead of buying it.

Dress your set for less.

As exemplified by the above music video by The Thermals, having a simple set can be effective if it’s dressed properly. For example, their white room was relatively straightforward and allowed them to transform it with props and items like paint or markers. You can do the same thing by knowing where to shop for affordable items that will help elevate your music video without costing an arm and a leg.

Take, for example, a hip hop artist making a video that needs to drip in excess and luxury. Unless you have a rich friend, you’re likely going to struggle to find someone to give you a set that looks like it’s from MTV Cribs. That being said, you don’t need to have a real leather couch or fur rug in order to look the part. Chesserfeld Faux Fur Rugs will look amazing on camera and cost much less than the real thing. From faux sheepskin to faux rabbit, Chesserfeld specializes in providing luxury for your home at a significantly reduced cost. Plus, their machine washable and cruelty-free, so if you decide to take the route of The Thermals and spill liquids like paint in your music video, you won’t have to worry about destroying an expensive animal hide.

Get more takes than you think you’ll need.

Also known as “coverage,” it’s important to get a lot of footage to work with when you’re filming a music video. Especially if you have a music video shoot planned for a long weekend and have rented new video gear specifically for that timeframe, you want to make the most of it. Having options means that you can really play with how different angles and takes help convey the emotion and meaning behind your band’s song.

Don’t rush the editing process.

You’re probably eager to get your music video out there, but if you rush the editing process you may end up with a video that you’re less-than-excited about. You’ve spent time and money creating your music and its video, so don’t rush editing. Once you release the video online, you can’t go back—so make sure you get it right the first time by exercising a little patience!

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