How to Approach Creating a Music Video on a Small Budget

Posted by Kathleen Parrish on Nov 18, 2014 12:00 PM

Independent Music VideoImage via

A music video is often the finishing touch on or the hype surrounding an album. For many independent artists, creating a big-budget music video just isn't feasible. But even if you don't have major label backing, that doesn’t mean putting out a music video is out of the question. If you're unsure about how to release a quality music video as an independent artist, make sure to plan your budget and see what's available within reason. While most DIY music videos can range anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, smaller budgets are absolutely possible to work with if you use the following tips.

Choose your top priority

Assuming you have a small budget, one of the best ways to bring your vision to life is to focus on one aspect of that vision. Is there something you absolutely cannot do without in the video? Focus on putting a large percentage of your budget towards that. You'll likely be happier with the outcome if you allocate your budget to something that will stand out in the video and/or significantly increase the quality. If you haven't yet determined the focus of your budget, consider one of the following:

  • HD camera  This should be one of your top priorities. Viewers have come to expect high-quality videos, which includes high-definition. If there's one thing to not skimp on, this would be it.
  • Lighting  This doesn't have to be expensive. There are some fantastic ways to utilize natural light, but if the mood of your music video is a bit more eerie than you'd find in daylight, having special lighting is a must.
  • Sound  You'll also need to decide if this is a live video or if you're playing to your recording. If you're playing to a recording, the sound will be as good as your mastered track. If this is a live music video, you'll need to either invest in or borrow quality recording gear.

Simplicity is key

Though there are some very elaborate videos out there, that doesn't mean simplicity is boring. Whether it's your band playing all together with alternating camera shots and angles, or focusing on just the singer, there are ways to make these options interesting. Being creative is part of being a musician, so let that creativity flow into your music video.

OK Go's video for "Here It Goes Again" was shot in one continuous take. It's simple, yet interesting, because it was different from anything else at the time. For a video shot in this style, using an HD camera and a tripod would work fine if you can’t find a videographer who fits your budget.

Take your time

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting something out that you're not 100 percent happy with. This is something you'll look back on and that represents your band, so take your time in creating the story and carefully planning your budget and timeline.


It needs to be understood that you will not have the look of a major label music video with this budget; it's just not going to happen. That said, there are some amazing videos out there that were created with a limited budget. If you're struggling with finding the money even for a DIY music video, continue touring and creating a large fanbase. Perhaps consider having the music video crowdfunded. Once you have more fan support behind you, things will unfold more easily.


What are some of your favorite independent artist music videos? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!


Kathleen Parrish is a singer and songwriter from Seattle, WA. While she specializes in lyrics, she enjoys writing short stories, poetry, and journalism. For more information, please visit

Topics: Features, music-videos, Marketing & Promotion


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