Basic ideas for creating simple yet interesting music video projects running on a tight budget

A simple guide for producing powerful music video projects on a tight budget

Creative and powerful music video production ideas that will help you get a project done with a small budget
Published on: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A music video can be an extremely complex project to complete and it all depends on the idea and the production costs necessary to bring it to life. If you are working on a music video under a tight budget, these are some tips that can help you simplify the project while giving your viewers an interesting visual experience.

  • Just go with photos and lyrics:

    If your budget is extremely tight, you can still create a powerful video by carefully selecting meaningful images and edit them in synchrony with the music beats. You can add some of the lyrics in important parts of the song to give it another layer. Be creative with the introduction of the lyrics by using cool and dynamic fonts with multiple sizes and animations.
  • Shoot the singer in one single continuous shot:

    At first, this sounds like something quite easy to do, but be aware that doing a continuous shot can also be an extremely hard technique to get done depending on the multiple actions going on surrounding your subject. For simplicity, you can just have the singer walk toward the camera while it travels backwards on a dolly or steadycam, and some open space serving as the background, such as a beach, park, lonely road, etc. The background or the outfit of the singer can go according to the overall message or mood of the song.
  • Use public domain footage:

    Many artists create really solid and interesting visual projects by using public domain clips from a variety of online sources and with multiple subject matter. The key here is to find a way to edit these clips in an effective way that goes according to the overall message or lyrics. Make sure that the footage is at least in HD quality, otherwise the final product may not be great, unless you are aiming for that low resolution or pixelated look.
  • Film yourself with a HD webcam:

    If you are the musician and have no budget for a music video, you can just record yourself playing an instrument and singing your song by using your computer webcam. There are lots of cool apps out there that can help you add some cool effects to the webcam capture so that you can give a unique style and look to the final video.
  • Use a clapboard or a simple clap to synchronize sound and image:

    For those who shoot the singer, it is essential that your footage will be in synch with the song, for this reason don't forget to use a clapboard or just take some seconds before actually singing, to record a clap in front of the lens and proceed with the actual video action. The clapping hands and their sound recorded by the camera will help you synchronize the footage with the song.
  • Use an interesting model as your main subject:

    If shooting the musician is not the idea, another way you can do it is by using a model. Attractive or interesting looking people are ideal for this since they keep the viewer connected to the actions in the video, no matter how simple, mundane or stupid they may be. Some directors also make use of masks on their subjects as this also attracts attention and creates a sense of mystery which keeps the viewer connected.
  • Action camera footage:

    Another simple way to make a music video is to combine multiple shots of footage from an action camera while performing activities such as swimming underwater, riding a bicycle on a country landscape or driving a car on a dusty or snowy road. This is especially good when the mood of the song is about life and the paths we explore in it. With these cameras going lower and lower in price, you can't go wrong using this technique plus they are pretty cool to use!
  • Try the Andy Warhol approach:

    If the lyrics are as simple as the footage you want to achieve, you can really go as extreme as some of Andy Warhol's films. The entire music video can be a continuous shot of a couple kissing, a man eating a burger or any other mundane activity. Think about lighting, backgrounds, outfits and props to give this approach an interesting touch.

Behind every music video lies an idea and this has to be the main focal point in deciding which production strategy best fits your budget and the intentions of the artist. In lots of cases, "less is more", but this truly depends on the intelligence and creative skills of the people involved producing the project, otherwise "less" will simply be taken as a lack of budget.

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