Recently, I thought it would be interesting to get in touch with a video production company to invite them to talk about why some musicians pay £10,000’s on music video production when there have been many successful videos (from a marketing perspective) shot for just triple or even double digit budgets. This guest blog post from Geoff at Silvertip Films outlines his opinion on the difference between low and high budget music videos and suggests some great tips on where to invest your cash when shooting a music video on a budget.
Also, Silvertip have generously offered all The Musician’s Guide readers 20% off professional music video production and live shoots, which you claim by contacting them here.
Enjoy! – Marcus
Video is almost everywhere online these days and it’s becoming an increasingly important feature to have on your business’ website as an aid to sales – and being a band is no different.
Having a video which is well shot, edited and features a strong performance by you or features an original narrative ideas would be an impressive aid to your marketing repertoire and really help sell the band as a serious act and one to watch…or listen to!
If you are an unsigned or up and coming band, you don’t need to spend thousands upon thousands to make a decent music video – although you can…it depends how big you want it to be from a production perspective.
At Silvertip Films, we have shot videos with a range of budgets from £1000 through to £10,000 and higher. These kinds of budget are not uncommon for unsigned acts and slightly more established ones – big name acts tend to spend hundreds of thousands on their videos and it shows, but it doesn’t mean you cant have a great video on a smaller budget.
It’s important to keep your idea achievable and realistic within your budget. We can shoot a video within almost anything providing it’s sensible – a great location you can get from a friend can be used to shoot a solid performance video for a sensible budget. If you want a green screen video which takes place on the moon…you’ll need more than £1000 to make it happen!
We shoot every video with the same care and attention to detail, no matter what the budget is. But…the bigger the budget, the more you can do in front of the camera – locations, lighting, effects, camera gear, actors, dancers and so on and the more time can be spent on the edit.
The biggest step to take is to have your video shot by a crew of professionals – full time filmmakers who know what they are doing and will bring their best to your video. Using friends or students is fine but if you want a video that will compliment the quality of your music and give you the chance to get broadcast when you get PR onboard, a pro crew is the best way to do it.
When we make a video, we work with the act to find out what their goal is for it – where do you want it to go? Internet only or aiming for broadcast? The difference is the budget – you can create a solid performance video for Internet use only with a reasonable budget but if you want to aim for broadcast, you will need a budget to enable the video to stand out.
What kind of image do you want to portray? Are you wanting to be serious, fun, dark…its your video afterall and whilst we will help with the ideas and to bring it to screen, we need to portray you as you are.
Does the song have a story that you want to tell on screen? Does it lend itself to a narrative at all? Sometimes, for a debut video, the focus should be on the band and not actors and effects but…if the narrative idea is strong enough and interesting enough and features the band, it can work alongside the performance.
When the production is underway, its important to find a good location, somewhere that looks good on screen. Some locations can cost thousands but quite often, its possible to find somewhere visually interesting and for very little, if any, cost via your contacts and by calling places and asking if filming is possible.
A video must have lighting – it sounds obvious but to some bands its not. You may want to appear dark and mysterious but you will still need lights or the cameras may as well be turned off! A small budget can cover basic lighting to make the video clear and well lit and the bigger the budget, the more lighting you can have and the more can be done to create interesting looks for the video.
Additional kit can help enhance the video and allow the camera to do more. If you cant budget for a RED camera or a 5D – one of the new High Def cameras – then a 35mm lens adaptor on an HDV camera will allow for a more filmic look and more depth of field than you would usually get with a camera like that whilst still retaining a broadcast standard picture quality.
A track and dolly – essentially putting the camera and tripod onto wheels on a track – allows the camera to move along a straight or curved line and give more movement than a camera can normally have whilst being smoother than handheld shooting. A crane can give shots where the camera rises up high over the band or comes back down low to see them. Both of these items, for not a huge addition to a budget, can really help raise the production values of a video.
There are of course other things you can feature in a video – dancers, actors, props, costumes and CGI work afterward. All of this adds to the overall look of the video but is of course budget dependent – 4 dancers looks better than 2 but if you can only budget for 2, make them the best 2 you can get.
Green screen videos are increasingly popular and are seen as a cheap way of making a video which to an extent is true, you just need the lights and screen or studio but what will you put behind you? That’s what costs and can raise the cost of a green screen video. CGI falls into two types – cheap and rubbish or good and costly…I know what one I would prefer…how about you?
We’ve shot a range of videos for rock bands, metal bands, pop acts, solo artists and rappers – pretty much every genre. We can work, to an extent, within almost any budget – providing your idea is feasible and you keep your goals realistic. We can create a great looking performance piece on a budget as long as we can source a great location to backdrop you.
Shooting a live video is a reasonably simpler affair – multiple cameras allow for more coverage and more visual interest and go someway to recreating the feel of being at a gig and watching all the different show elements taking place in front of you. Getting the audio recorded by a pro sound engineer and using multi tracks which are mixed afterward will give you a far richer soundtrack than an on camera one will.
So to conclude, you can have yourself a great looking video without spending a huge amount of money providing the goals for the video and its content are kept sensible. If you have a bigger budget, you can do a lot more with the production and enhance yourselves further.
Get 20% off Music Video Production
For readers of Musicians Guide, we’re offering a discount of 20% off the production of a music video or a live shoot – please contact us to get a copy of our rate card which outlines the different options we have and to discuss your idea. We can offer this discount off the costs for the pre production, shoot and edit packages but not external things hired from other companies like camera gear, actors etc.
Image Credit: Joetourist