The prospect of creating your first music video, whether it be for a school project, your own music or as a fun way of improving your filming skills, can be quite daunting. It can feel as if you need a large film crew, a huge studio or the best camera on the market but you don’t always need a big budget to make something that will resonate with others. When creating a music video for my Media Studies A-Level, my team and I didn’t have the luxury of a big budget. So, we had to make the best out of our limited resources to create our final product. Here are some tips for creating a low-budget music video that I learned from my course.
Top tips for creating a low budget music video:
Find a cheap camera
If you’d like your video to have a high level of professionalism, you could buy a DSLR camera, if you don’t already have one.There are lots of decent DSLRs available online at an affordable price, so you won’t need to break the bank to get started. In my experience, a DSLR would be the best choice, as they’re user-friendly and you can play around with the depth of field to create dynamic shots for an engaging music video.
To keep these shots interesting, you should pay close attention to your composition and framing. Make sure the point of focus is clear in every shot, such as a character’s face or a prop, to captivate your audience. Also, prevent your shots from being too busy and cluttered so that they are more striking. And if you want to go the extra mile for your video, you could brush up on some composition techniques such as:
- Rule of thirds
- Leading Lines
Get friends and family involved
Contact family and friends who are willing to take part in your production, either in front of or behind the camera. Even if they’re not particularly skilled at filming, any extra hands can be useful, as long as you give good direction. And in my experience, when it comes to actors, having friends and family take part in your video can be beneficial, since they will be more able to work around your schedule.
Decide on a strong visual motif
When you’re planning how to make your music video make sure you really analyse and delve into the lyrics of the song you’re using and think of a strong visual motif that you can carry throughout the video. If you’re making a low budget music video, you likely won’t have a huge special effects team to make something spectacular. But sometimes, simple is better! Having a simple but strong visual motif can make your music video stand out more and be memorable in the eyes of your audience. For example, Heavy by Oh Wonder and Heavy by Anne-Marie.
With a low budget music video, it’s best to keep the locations simple and easily accessible. I would advise filming locally, perhaps in a park or leisure centre but always ask permission beforehand. Filming locally will cut down costs of travel and allow you to save money when transporting film equipment and your actors.
Before you start filming anything, you need to create a storyboard, so you have a rough outline of all the shots you’ll take. In my Media course, my team and I spent a lot of time carefully crafting the composition of our shots. We found this was a really important part of the process, as it made filming days run much smoother. However, try not to feel too constrained by the storyboard you make - improvisation can sometimes lead to something better than your original plan!
Share and promote your video
Once you’ve finished your video, it’s time to share it! Use any social media you have to promote your video and share it with as many people as you can. Also, send it over to family and friends and ask for feedback. It’s important to get honest, constructive criticism, so you can improve on the next project you work on.
Check out the music video my team and I made down below, for our Media Studies course: