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How to Make a Music Video: a Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make a Music Video: a Step-by-Step Guide

f you’ve been wondering how to make a music video at home, then you’ve come to the right place. Creating a music video is a great way to promote your work, but the problem that a lot of independent musicians run into is that making a music video isn’t cheap.

Chances are, you’ve found yourself asking: “How much does it cost to make a music video, anyway?” You might have realized that big names who sign with record labels spend a lot on their music videos, and perhaps this has put you off the idea of making your own.

Here’s the thing, though — it doesn’t actually have to be expensive. What matters most, when making a music video, is having a good idea, a clear budget, and a capable team.

While some production companies charge a lot for simple music videos, you can do it yourself or collaborate with emerging filmmakers or producers who might work at a lower cost, or even for free. You can also use funding from Xposure Music. We’ll be talking more about the cost of making a music video (and how you can secure funding) later on, so just hang tight!

Before diving into production, though, there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration. Follow this step-by-step guide to start making your music video today.

Why Do You Need a Music Video?

The simple answer to this question is: music videos are necessary because they can help you sell your song(s). Of course, actually making a music video go viral is tricky and often unpredictable. Many artists struggle because they lose sight of the main goal.

While it's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes a music video explode in popularity, getting it to be widely liked (generally, your song must be well-liked first) is a good start. Let’s talk a bit more about what the actual point is of making a music video, shall we?

A music video serves to promote your music by evoking a response from the audience. It helps them remember and better understand your song. In other words, a music video showcases and shapes your image while keeping the audience entertained. In the music industry, how you present yourself — through packaging, branding, media, and image — matters a lot.

A music video is basically like a sales tool. It can help boost your public image and create positive (even if it's controversial) word-of-mouth on social media. This, in turn, sells your products — be it downloads, CDs, or even concert tickets.

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6 Steps for Making a Music Video

Are you ready to start making your music video? There’s certainly a lot to think about here, but this process doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming — especially with Xposure Music funding. Follow the steps below, and you’ll be well on your way to making an awesome music video.

Conceptualizing

Before you start making a music video, the first thing to do is decide on two important things — the music and the concept. For example, if you're planning to make a video showing your travels using a montage of images and clips, you already have the visuals, but now you need to choose the right track.

You’ll also want to consider what kind of message you’re trying to send with your music video. The music needs to match the emotions you’re trying to convey, so when it comes to choosing a song (and your images, for that matter), remember to think critically and carefully.

Pre-Production

Making a music video starts with pre-production. This means finalizing the music and concept, like deciding which visuals you want to use for a travel montage or picking the right song to match the video. Whether it's a small or big project, you’ll also need to lock in the cast and crew during pre-production.

To keep costs down, control noise on set, and plan efficiently, create a storyboard and shot list. We’d also recommend getting insurance, especially for bigger projects, to protect yourself against theft or damage.

Location Scouting

Where do you want to shoot your music video? Do you have a specific location in mind, or were you planning on using a green screen? We’d recommend scouting out some locations as this will give you more options when it comes to shooting your music video.

You’ll want to make sure that you’re making your music video in a place where a lot of noise isn’t going to disturb the public. You may also need permits to shoot in certain locations. If you decide that you want to shoot your music video indoors — say, at a restaurant or wedding venue — you may need to rent out the space.

Casting and Rehearsals

There’s no reason that you couldn’t make a music video featuring only yourself. Sometimes, less is more. However, if you want to create a story on screen, you’ll probably need a cast and crew. While it may sound like fun to cast your friends, this isn’t always the best idea. Try hanging up fliers or posting on social media about your casting call — this will bring in the best talent.

Filming

When it comes to actually filming your music video, you’re going to want to think carefully about the style you’re going for, as well as the tone you’re trying to set. Framing also matters a lot more than you might think.

In YouTube videos, three main types of shots are often used. Wide-angle shots emphasize the location or background, giving context to the video. Medium shots work well to connect different parts of footage seamlessly. Close-up shots are great for highlighting specific elements and effectively getting a point across.

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Editing/Post-Production

This is where the magic happens. Editing doesn’t come easily to everyone, so you may want to hire a professional editor for this part. Or, you can work with a pro on Xposure Music. We’ve got the best professionals and mentors available, so no matter which part of making a music video you’re struggling with, you won’t be alone.

Promoting Your Music Video

Promoting your music video effectively involves building anticipation before the release. This means sharing the news with your fans way ahead of time on social media. You should also try to optimize your video's SEO, especially if it's on YouTube. You can do this by aligning the title and description, using relevant tags, and having an eye-catching thumbnail.

Share your video across all social media platforms and encourage your audience to do the same. Use email blasts, run fan competitions, and collaborate with other artists to grow your email list. You should also consider using YouTube Ads to target specific audiences. It might also help to make your song go viral on TikTok.

The Costs of Making a Music Video

A professional music video might cost around $20,000 to make, and that’s actually quite cheap. Taylor Swift’s music videos probably cost around $500,000 to make. For independent artists, though, the costs of making a music video won’t be nearly as bad. Xposure Music offers plenty of flexible deals, and you’ll be working with pros, too! Get an estimate and boost your music career with Xposure Music funding today!

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to make a music video nowadays?

The cost of producing a music video can vary widely depending on various factors such as the scale of production, location, equipment used, and the creative elements involved. On the lower end, a DIY or low-budget music video might cost a few thousand dollars, primarily covering expenses like camera equipment, basic lighting, and editing. For more professional and elaborate productions, costs can escalate significantly, ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. High-profile artists working with top-tier directors, elaborate sets, special effects, and complex post-production can incur substantial expenses. It's important for artists to carefully plan their budget based on their creative vision and financial resources while considering the potential return on investment for the video.

How can you make a music video as an independent artist?

To produce a music video as an independent artist, start by outlining your vision and setting a realistic budget. Consider DIY approaches for cost savings, such as using affordable camera equipment, enlisting friends or local talent for help, and selecting accessible shooting locations. Plan your shots and storyboard to ensure a smooth filming process. Utilize free or low-cost video editing software to edit the footage and add basic effects. Leverage social media and online platforms to connect with freelance videographers, editors, or production crews who may offer their services at reasonable rates. Remember that creativity and resourcefulness can go a long way, so focus on telling a compelling visual story that complements your music while staying within your budget constraints.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregory Walfish
Co-founder of Xposure Music, Gregory Walfish stands at the intersection of music, tech, and culture. With a software engineering background, he's passionate about artist development and technology.

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