Making a music video can be difficult as an artist, you’ve focussed all of your energy on perfecting your latest release and organising a music video shoot is the next daunting task. You need to recruit the right people, negotiate the right price (how do you know what everything even costs?), come up with your own concepts, and manage and organise the entire process on your own.
This guide to making a music video will cover everything you need to know about getting the best quality music video which gets shared around the world.
Amazing low budget music videos
The more money you invest in a music video does not necessarily improve the quality, some of the best and most popular music videos ever made have been created on a minuscule budget.
Here’s some incredible examples of low-budget music videos which have broken an artist in to the mainstream due to the creativity and quality of the video.
The Black Keys – Lonely Boy accumulated almost 93 million views and is a simple music video where one of the extras (from what was supposed to be the original music video) was caught dancing in the corner along to the track. They asked if they could film him dancing to the entire track and the rest is history.
Going back even further, in 2009 OK GO set up a camera and some well-positioned treadmills in order to choreograph their music video for “Here it goes again”. This was one of the first music videos to ever go “viral” on YouTube, accumulating 44 million views.
Hire a videographer
We always recommend hiring a professional videographer, if you have the resources to shoot the video yourself then absolutely go for it, but to get dynamic and moving shots with the entire band in frame you’re going to need someone there to help, otherwise the entire shoot will be created on a tripod so will look very static and dull.
To find a suitable videographer you have multiple options available to you:
This is the most popular option which artist usually go for, it’s expensive but you’re going to get someone who really knows what they’re doing. You’ll be able to see their previous work either on their website or they can link you to their portfolio.
You should meet with the videographer before the shoot to discuss ideas and ensure you’re on the same page. If the videographer is coming up with ideas that you’re not feeling is right, then don’t work with them and find someone else because this will probably be the case through the editing process too and there will be a lot of back and forth which can not only be frustrating, but it can push your costs up too.
There are many great ways to find a freelancer, but our most effective method is actually to use job sites such as Indeed, they’re completely free to post job roles and you can get 100 – 300 applications within just a couple of weeks.
A Music Video Production Company
This is by far the most expensive option, but you’ll get what you pay for. Established Music Video production companies have a team of highly trained staff who you can rely on to give you a high level of customer service as well as a quick turnaround. They usually have the best equipment to make your music video that little bit more special.
With these companies, ask to see music videos they have made recently rather than relying on large artists they worked on years ago, because the companies usually have a high staff turnaround and you probably won’t be working with the same personnel who created the examples they’re showing you.
A video production company does make you feel safe knowing that you’re going to get a high quality of output the majority of the time, and if anything were to go wrong, you’ll like get a refund or the option to reshoot the video.
The problem with going with companies such as this is that their staff are forced to do this job 9-5, 7 days per week, meaning they have to come up with ideas and shoot on a regular basis. In a creative industry people can become burned out when they’re expected to come up with concepts so often, so you may actually find a freelancer has more passion and creativity towards your project as it’s more of a novelty and they’re be excited to be working with you.
Work with Students
This is the tip that all professional videographers hate to hear, because they know that sometimes passionate University students can do a phenomenal job of a music video and are willing to do it completely for free.
To get hold of a Uni student the best point of contact is the university themselves, universities have dedicated staff members who’s job is to find careers and experience opportunities for the students, so they will gladly help publicise your requirements to any students who are capable of fulfilling the role.
Find a location
Finding a location to shoot can sometimes be the most fun part of the planning of your music video. You first need to decide the tone of your video, whether it’s going to be industrial, city/streets or landscape views. This will help you narrow down where to look for your location to film.
If you’re looking for landscape views, maybe you’d travel to Wales or Scotland for that epic drone footage, or if you want city streets you could head to London at 5am for the sunrise and pick up some epic shots which simply aren’t possible during the day.
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for you, can use a tool such as UKFilmLocation.com which will help you find the best locations to film. This is a database of thousands of places which are available to be used as location for filming, either for free or to rent.
How much does a music video cost?
The cost of a music video very much depends on your ambitions and which videographer you chose from our options above.
A good quality music video can be anywhere between £500 and £8,000, with the average music video costing around £2,000.
Usually to finance your music video the band member would split the cost between themselves, so if the music video costs £2,000 that’s £500 each between 4 band members.
Coming up with Creative Concepts
The best concepts come from the core message behind the song. It doesn’t have to follow any of the lyrics within the song, but if you keep the message the same but through video this will result in a remarkable music video which gives the song the true representation it deserves.
Coming up with a new concept isn’t something you can force, give yourself a week to brainstorm some ideas, creating a dynamic within the band which allows people to propose ideas no matter how stupid or impossible, because one of those ideas may just end up being a genius one. Sometimes all it takes is going down to the pub with a notepad and pen and having a few beers!
The simplest concepts can work best, especially for an emerging artist, you may not have the credibility to capture someone’s attention to watch your full video until the end, so plot twists may be one to stay away from. A video of the band playing in a unique location could get just as many views as an in-depth story line with incredible cinematography and actors.
Once you have your concept, storyboard the entire video. This will give you an indication of the flow of the video and whether it’ll be interesting for the viewer. You can go as detailed as you like to include camera angles and costumes.
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Decide which song is best
To decide the best track from your EP for the music video, we always recommend anonymous voting. The problem with being an artist is that your close friends and family won’t give you their true opinion. If they think your track is terrible they’re unlikely to break the bad news to you. This doesn’t help your career and will only hold you back.
We recommend allowing people to vote on tracks anonymously using a simple app such as Strawpoll. This will allow you to send everyone a link which lists each of your tracks (and the option of none in case they don’t like any of them). This way you’ll get the true opinion of people on your music and prevent you from wasting money on a music video for a track that people don’t even like. This can be tough news to take as an artist, but the best way to improve is to receive critical feedback.
Arranging the logistics
There are a lot of people involved in a music video, especially if you’re asking for help from friends or you’re employing extras. So making sure everything goes smoothly on the day is important to get the best shoot.
Schedule your shoot
When people are volunteering, it’s difficult to be firm on the dates that they’re needed as they may have other commitments, and after all they’re helping you!
Not only this, you need to find out everyone’s availability and find the date which everyone is available (or at least the most available date). This is best achieved using an app such as Doodle which will allow you to send everyone a list of potential dates, and they can let you know which are available. Eventually it will become clear which is the best date for everyone.
You’ll need to get everyone to the location if the shoot is taking place out of town. The most cost-effective method of transport would be to hire a mini-bus. Not only does this save money, it makes sure everyone gets there at the same time and doesn’t get lost. It allows you to stay in complete control on the day by keeping everyone in one place.
The Editing Process
After the shoot the video will need to be edited. This is done by the videographer who will probably already have an idea in their head how they’d like the video to look. It is best to leave the videographer to do their thing for a few days and then allow you to see the first draft. It is here you can let them know your opinion on whether they’re on the right lines or not.
With your videographer, set milestones which allows you to understand the time frame they’ll be working under. If you don’t do this they make take longer that you’d like to edit the video, sometimes time pressure can result in a better video. Be aware that every time the video editor sends you a draft, it can take up to 30mins to export the video then a further 10mins upload it to a drive such as Dropbox, so all of this can take up time.
Once the videographer has finished their next draft, you can start getting involved to make smaller tweaks. Remember, all of the colour adjustments can be made at the very end.
How to promote the music video
Once you’ve released your music video, you need to get people watching it. This can be done using social media, YouTube ads or pitching it to major publications.
You can read up in detail on how to promote your music video here:
To make the best music video possible, you need a combination of creativity and organisation to have the best outcome which has the potential to go viral across the internet. Remember to use the tips to make sure every member of the team knows what is happening and you don’t end up wasting your money on a failed day of shooting.