Making a decent music video with no money, expertise or professional equipment may sound impossible, but it’s not. Although, we will grant you that having at least one of those things will make it easier. That said, money and equipment are no guarantee of success. Imagination, hard work and the creative vision to produce something exciting are much more likely to yield results. Those can be achieved on a budget of nothing except ambition and inspiration. Your DIY music video doesn’t have to look like the trailer for a Michael Bay film, it just has to capture the spirit of your songs. Think small scale yes, but don’t rule out a big impact. Like your music, all your video has to do is connect with people.
1. Rope in your friends
You don’t need expensive professional actors or dancers when you have your mates to call on. They won’t be as versatile or able as professionals, so be sure not to ask too much of them. However, using friends won’t cost you anything, you’ll already have a rapport with them and they’ll have a vested interested in you being successful, so they’ll give it their all. As extras or small parts that don’t require huge performances your friends can serve as admirably as anyone.
2. Use what you have to hand
Don’t set your video in an abandoned aeroplane hangar unless, of course, you have one of those in your back yard. The point is you need to keep in mind what is accessible to you and use that. What do you have? What do you live near? Where would you be able to film legally, safely and without annoying anyone? If you need costumes, head to your wardrobe. Props: look around your house.
Borrow the things you need from friends and family and make cutbacks wherever you can. If you have access to anything unique or interesting that will make you stand out – not necessarily an aeroplane hangar – make that part of your DIY music video. The constraints of having no money or equipment etc. mean you have to be creative – embrace this.
3. Why not try a lyrics video?
Lyrics videos are all the rage, partly, because they’re easy to make and serve a function for the viewer. A beautiful, narrative-driven video with strong choreography and performances is great, but it doesn’t help those who want to sing along. Lots of people enjoy learning the lyrics of songs they love, and your fans are likely no different. A lyrics video is a straightforward DIY music video solution. If you’re unsure how to get started with making a lyrics video check out this guide.
4. Keep it simple and stylish
This refers back to our previous point about using what you have to hand; don’t try to go too big. Your video also has to translate the style and tone of your music and persona as an artist. You’re bringing your sound to life in a visual form.
So, consider your own sound. Is it a gritty, urban sound that conjures images of a concrete jungle, or something more mellow with nature vibes? Decide what images or feelings your music conjures in your mind and then consider how you can capture the essence of those imaginings with the resources you have. It might be straightforward, it might require more creative thinking. Either way, if you accurately depict the soul of your sounds in your DIY music video then an audience will connect with it.
5. Don’t get hung up on what you don’t have
When you realise just how little you might actually have to work with its easy to assume making a DIY music video isn’t feasible. As long as you have a song though, and something to film with – a smartphone really will do these days – then you’re good to go. Let go of what you don’t have and dive into making the most of what you do have. It’s all about vision, creativity and endeavour. If you have those things and are willing to put yourself and your work out there, nothing can stop you.
A DIY music video can be whatever you make of it, so get out there and make it every bit the visual accompaniment your music deserves.
Also published on Medium.