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How to Make a Killer Video without Breaking the Bank

How to Make a Killer Video without Breaking the Bank

Video is one of the best ways to market a band.

Video provides both audio and visual elements telling the entire story. As compared to other forms of media, it is more memorable and more engaging. It is also sharable across platforms increasing the chances that you might go viral.

Because a video is such a powerful tool, you will want to pool your resources together so you make a great one. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so.

This article will give you tips so you can make a killer video for your band or project without breaking the bank.

It Starts with a Great Theme

Like we mentioned just a few paragraphs ago, videos can be shared across platforms so you may end up going viral with it. But in order to do that, your video has to stand out from the rest.

The easiest and cheapest thing to do will be to rent out a rehearsal room (or better yet just use someone’s garage) and have someone come in and film you playing live. This is a common strategy for many bands including some more well-known acts.

If you choose to go this route, you will need to get a little out there to get your video to stand out. For instance, if you all dress up in bizarre costumes and use a unique backdrop, it will help you get noticed.

You can also get the person who’s shooting your video to add a lot of angles and effects. This will keep things from getting boring.

While this is all well and good, getting a little creative with your video will help you get more views. Here are some tips that can help you make out of box ideas a reality.

Switch Up Locations

A variety of locations will add interest to your video, but it can also make things more complicated.

If you use different locations, you have to get everyone from place to place and you may have to pay to rent those locations. However, there are easy ways to get around this.

For example, say you decide to shoot in a rehearsal studio. How about doing some shots in the lobby? Or outside the rehearsal studio? Get some footage of band members goofing around with each other for a behind the scenes look at how things really are.

These small steps go a long way in making your video more exciting.

Base it on Your Lyrics

Many songwriters write songs that tell their own story. If this is the case, you will have a clear idea of how to develop your theme. The problem is, how?

To tell a story in a video, you will probably need extras, different locations, props, costumes and more. But if you’re creative (and if you’re a musician you better be) you can get away with doing this on a budget.

There are plenty of people who are willing to be in a video. These may include friends, relatives and aspiring actors that are looking to boost their resumes.

You may even be able to get your band mates to double as actors.

When it comes to props and outfits, see what you and your bandmates have lying around your houses. Look on eBay and in local thrift stores to find what you need.

If you have people that agree to be in your video, try to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Offer to buy them lunch and have snacks on hand. You may even want to slip them $20 if you can swing it.


Animation is another option to consider. Videos can be fully or partially animated to take away the hassle of changing location and getting a lot of people involved.

Animation is also a good option because there are no limitations. You can get an animator to illustrate your video in any way you please adding incredible action scenes, sci-fi elements and more.

The one drawback with animation is that it can be quite expensive. If you look around the internet, you will find prices ranging from $30 to $30,000. Prices will be affected by the skill level of the animator as well as what you are looking to achieve as far as complexity, 2D or 3D filming and more.

However, you could just find a diamond in the rough.

A good way to go is to look on freelancer and intern sites to try and find an animator who is trying to build their resume but is also skilled and fits your project’s needs. You just might find the ideal candidate.

Finding Someone to Shoot Your Video

The process for finding someone to shoot your video is very similar to finding an animator.

Of course, you’re lucky if you know a film student or a professional videographer willing to cut you a deal. But if not, you may be best off looking for freelancers and interns who want to build experience.  

You can also try asking other bands who have shot videos who they used and how much they ended up spending.  

But money shouldn’t be your only deciding factor when it comes to finding someone to shoot your video. Here are some other things you should be looking out for.


Style is very important. If you find someone who shoots funny videos but you’re looking for something serious, you’re better off going with someone else, no matter how little they charge. Make sure the person you choose ‘gets’ the band and what you’re looking to get out of the shoot.


When it comes to quality, it depends how picky you are. Today most cameras can shoot high def so that shouldn’t be too much of a concern. But things to look out for are how well their videos are lit, their ability to pick up different angles and their editing experience.

If you are getting a deal, you may be flexible with some of these details or you might just point them out to the person shooting the video. For instance, if you see the lighting isn’t great in some shots, you can mention this to the person you are working with to ensure it doesn’t happen on your video.

How Much Can They Take On

Speaking of editing, if you find someone to shoot your video, make sure he or she can edit as well. This is usually the case as today plenty of simple film editing software is available enabling most camera men to multi-task. However, you will want to find this out in advance. If you need to find someone else to edit, it will cost you more time and money.

You should also make sure that the camera person does not need any other additional crew such as a lighting, etc. This will also cost extra.

Other Qualities

The person shooting your video should also be reliable. The last thing you need is to get everything organized and have your camera person flake at the last minute.

You also want to make sure he or she can work quickly. Ask them how long they think it will take them to complete the shoot. This information will be especially valuable if you are paying by the hour.

Make sure they are not going to take an excessive amount of time. If they quote you a time frame, try to get an estimate on the pricing. That way, if the shoot goes on longer than expected, they will be less likely to try to charge you more for their time.

Once you start talking to your camera guy, you will get a feel as whether he or she will be reliable and organized. If they answer messages promptly and provide knowledgeable responses, you can feel confident that you will have a good experience.

Getting Prepared

As you start getting closer to the shoot, you will want to make sure you are prepared to move forward. Here is a check list of some things you should be doing.

Secure a Location

Depending on where you are shooting, you may have to rent a location or confirm with a home or property owner to make sure you are good to go. If you plan to shoot in a public area such as a park, you may have to get a permit first. Get clearance from the proper authorities to make sure your shoot doesn’t get closed down.

Provide Everyone with a Script

It’s a good idea to have a script or itinerary planned in advance. Since this is a music video, you probably won’t have formal dialogue, (except for maybe a few words before or after the music) but there will be actions.

The best way to handle this is to provide everyone with a few pages that indicate what will be happening, where they will be happening and an estimated time frame of when they will be happening.

It’s possible that some people may not be needed on set for the entire day. If this is the case, you can give them a call time. But make sure to leave plenty of leeway for lateness.

In addition, everyone should be given a copy of the song so they can get a feel for the vibe and know what the video will be about.

Also, be aware that your video may not be filmed in the order it will appear in the video. Rather, you will want to film scenes to minimize travel and so that you don’t need to keep people at the shoot any longer than need be.

So if you are filming five scenes at various locations around a park, get all of them out of the way before moving on. If you are using a particular actor, try to group the filming of all their scenes together so they don’t have to spend the entire day on set.

Finally, review your script before finalizing it and sending it out. Every little notion should be included. For instance, a secret smile or sarcastic expression can make or break your video. Be sure small gestures like this are included in your script.

Provide Your Editor/Camera Person with a Script

In addition to the script you provide for everyone else, you should provide your editor with a script of how the video should be edited. Do a rundown of the opening scene, the final scene and all scenes in between.

You can let your editor take some liberties. For instance, if there’s a lot of live footage, they can use it as they see fit to break up scenes. As long as this doesn’t disrupt the plot of the video, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Get Props and Costuming Together

Your scenes will require different props and costumes and it’s easy to forget about this in all the excitement. But if you overlook something, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you’re ready to shoot.

Go through each scene in your mind thinking of exactly how they are going to be carried out and what is required to carry them out. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything when it comes to props, locations and getting the footage you need for your video.

Other Notes

Here are a few other random notes to think about.

For one, when someone is watching a video, ten seconds can seem like forever. Make sure you have enough footage to provide lots of interest. See to it that your editor is aware of this and encourage him or her to keep things moving.

Another thing to note is that it’s really easy to look bored in front of the camera. You may not even realize it, but if you let your expression drop, you will look like you just don’t want to be there.

A good way to keep yourself from looking bored is to smile throughout your video. If this doesn’t work because you are far too serious of an artiste, think of making evil faces, angry faces or using other expressions that will keep you from appearing like you are out of it. Encourage everyone in the video to do the same.

Promote Your Video

Now that you’ve spent a bunch of time and money on your video, you want as many people to see it as possible. Here are some tips for getting it out there.

Plan a Release Date

Once you have an idea of when the video will be ready, plan a release date. Then build excitement around the release.

Tease people by showing them snippets of the video that can be posted on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook and more.

You can also plan a video release party. You can book a gig and see if the club owner will let you use a screen or TV so you can show everyone your video before you play.

Alternately, you can make it more about the video by renting a space for the showing. This can be an exclusive, upscale event where you serve people appetizers and beverages. You may also want your band to perform a set to make the night more exciting.

Make fliers that you can post on social media advertising the video release so people will be looking out for it when the big day rolls around.  

Put it on the Right Channels

There are several social media sites where you can post videos. YouTube and Vimeo are chief among them, but there are other platforms that are great for posting videos including the following:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest


Of course, not all of these are right for every band. Think of the platforms that work best for you and do your best to get your video out there.

Keep in mind that different platforms have different requirements concerning the size and length of the video being posted. You might not have to adhere to their exact specifications to post, but doing so will ensure your video looks great on a variety of devices and gets maximum engagement.

Use the Right Thumbnails

Sites like YouTube will let you create a thumbnail of your video. An exciting looking thumbnail will make people want to learn more about the video, so they are more likely to watch. Scan your video carefully to find scenes that make people ask… WTF? The use those as your thumbnail.


Certain platforms will give you tools that will help you optimize your video so it’s more likely to show up on search pages when people type in relevant terms.

YouTube, for example, gives you the option of adding tags and meta descriptions that will increase your online visibility.

Instagram gives you the option of adding hashtags. That means, your video will show up in the feeds of people that follow those hashtags getting you more views.

A video is a great way to promote a band. But a video that’s fun, engaging and looks great will get your band even more attention.

The tips in this article will help you create a video that is sure to get you noticed. What concepts will you be coming up with to push your music forward?

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