How To Make a Music Video Without Breaking the Bank

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock the Dream

So, you’re at a point in your career where you know the value of music videos and how this will definitely grow your following. The issue now becomes . . . doesn’t making videos cost a lot of money? 

Sure, they can cost tons for top of the line production, but you don’t need to create a cinematic masterpiece just to showcase your song. With some creativity, there’s no need to break the bank!

Start with making a budget. Decide how much you want to invest, if anything, so you can then decide whether it will go to equipment, a videographer, etc. Your own skills and equipment, and the concept for the video will help you decide where the money is best spent. For example, most phones record at a high enough quality for great footage, no need for expensive cameras.

If you want an intentional “lo-fi” vibe, which can be very successful, then you don’t need to spend your budget on equipment. If recording quality is important, then save by using free locations (like somewhere outdoors), or consider a live performance video that won’t need much editing. 

Think about concept, this is the most important part. Many videos have been successful or even viral on a low budget because of the actual content. Think about what would go best with the song; a dance, a heart wrenching story line, or maybe something funny. Just like with making great music, creativity is key. The one thing most viral videos all have in common is that they’re original. 

Something else worthy of investing in is lighting. This is probably more important than camera quality. You can find some cheap film lighting options by looking for used equipment or renting it (unless you can borrow it for free!). If you have no lighting, it’s best to film outside, especially if shooting on a phone. 

Filming outside provides a free background, so take advantage of the best nature or city views near you. For filming inside, using a backdrop or an empty wall is much better than seeing your bedroom in the background. A bright colored backdrop can help you stand out, and they’re pretty inexpensive to buy. Or, a green screen, allows you to edit in any backdrop from a number of free sources.

A great idea to save money is to look for free or cheap help. Just like there are countless musicians always looking to collaborate on projects, tons of aspiring filmmakers and videographers are the same. Think of anyone you may know, or look around your area, especially for film students. Chances are they’ll do it for free or very cheap. It’s an opportunity for them, as well as you, to work on their craft and to add to their portfolio.

Finally, a huge difference is made with the editing. You can learn how to use editing software yourself by searching for free youtube tutorials. Or, you may consider putting some money into it by hiring someone to do this part. Even for a lo-fi type video, you need good editing to convey how you envisioned your concept and give it a professional look. 

People will remember you more if they can connect your music with your face, or any kind of visual, for that matter. They also appreciate new kinds of content, especially when it adds to you and your song’s message. So, rather than waiting for the day when you’ll have a huge budget to work with, make a great video today!


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