I made my first music video in 2002, for an a capella group that some friends of mine were part of. I did it for free. My impetus for undergoing this project was purely selfish; I had my first camera and Adobe After Effects and Premiere, and I was dying to try my hand at the career choice of my childhood: visual effects wizard (I was raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Star Trek, and MTV), and they were more than willing to be my guinea pigs. We shot it here and there, indoors and out, trying this and that, using every technique I knew and a lot I didn’t know yet. We sort of storyboarded some of it, and some we just winged. We made a blue screen in a friend’s basement. We bought heavy duty work lights from Home Depot (cheap!)


The results were mixed.


Did it look amateur? You bet. Was it a learning experience for me as well as the group? Yes, definitely. Did the video fit the group or the song? I have to say honestly, not really, no. I was definitely thinking of my objectives more than the band’s needs, and over time, I have tempered that and sometimes repeated it, but each time learning a little more restraint. I have done live video shoots, concept videos, videos on the humorous side, and even a live comedy troupe. For the most part, I make low budget music videos, and have shot over 50, many for myself in front of and simultaneously “behind” the camera. 


So you need to shoot a video for you or your band, and have very little money. You could find a newbie who wants experience that will offer to do your video for free, but you may get a result that shows a reach beyond their grasp, as I described above. The alternative would be to get an intermediate or pro filmmaker/videographer (I would consider myself somewhere in the middle at this point) who will charge you some money, but you’d be in for a smoother, better organized shoot, and usually a better final product, as this person has gone through the process more than a few times.


Or, you could do it yourself.


If you don’t have any experience, this sounds daunting and time consuming, and it is, or can be, but as both a videographer and a musician who has made videos for other artists as well as for myself, I am here to tell you what I know on how to make a music video on the cheap.


I will be posting videos, of course, to coincide with this blog, and I am negotiating with a friend of mine who is a very talented singer/songwriter to volunteer himself and an original song for our purpose here. I plan on taking you through the step by step of my process of creating a video for his song. We will be covering all aspects: discussing the song and visual ideas, the equipment used, the raw footage, the post-production, to final product. All the dirty details of doing a video on the cheap, that hopefully doesn’t look cheap. Should be fun!


So, stay tuned for video content coming soon, and the rest of this introduction will be continued in Part Two.


Michael Aaron






Originally posted 2011-03-08 03:58:50.