#168: 6 tips for making a no-budget music video

Music VideoA music video is a practically required these days when promoting new music. But most DIY artists don’t have a budget left for video production after all the expenses of recording, manufacturing, and distributing an album. How can you create a no-budget music video? In this episode, Chris and Kevin talk about six principles for producing a quick, “cheap,” and creative music video. These are guidelines Chris developed while shooting the music video for his song “Anonymous,” which recently premiered on KCRW and cost $0 to produce. Have you shot a low-budget (or no-budget) video that you’re proud of? We’d love to see it. Leave a link (and the backstory) in the comments for this episode.

These videos are mentioned in this podcast:
  • David Cain

    Wertico Cain & Gray video, “All to a Certain Extent.” on Vimeo:

    Spontaneous music. Green paint. Glass. Perspiration. Inspiration. GH4. iPhone. Spontaneous artist. Go. Organic video of natural magic revealed. More details via http://www.wcg.band featuring 7-time Grammy winner Paul Wertico, David Cain & Larry Gray.


    David Cain

  • Marcus Retterath

    A few months back my band BamBoo shot this video for $200. I used resources at my disposal to loan the lights from work. To shoot the video each performer took turns running through the whole song while the other band mates controlled lights, playback and the camera. Because all the shots were the song top to bottom we were able to pick an easy sync point to line up all the footage to make edits a breeze. The only expense was renting a rehearsal room that was in the same building as our room, but had more space and nicer floors and walls.

  • Dave Elder

    This is essentially a no-budget video. I already had the camera, the editing software, the props (binoculars, Mozart bust, drum sticks, globe, blackboard, chalk, etc.), so I spent no money putting it together, though it did take a lot of time — for instance, the 5-second “Charge of the Light-string Brigade” involved a PhotoShop doc with 14 layers for each of the 150 final video images, and I spent about 100 hours working on it. Only after I finished the scene did I realize that I could have achieved the same effect in a much simpler and quicker way — lessons learned! Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys this! Peace!


  • Anyone who has seen Chris Robley’s “Morning Edition (Official Music Video)” might notice a striking similarity in concept between his 2016 video and this 2009 one. While it’s possible Chris might have drawn some inspiration from my video, I expect it’s probably just another case where “Great minds think alike.” Once in a while a particular song will, by its very nature, prompt an obvious, simple and easy video setting, and this no-budget video took only a day or 2 to put together.


  • Mark Maloney

    Nice song, you’re a modern version of Arlo Guthrie. Keep up the great work…

  • Thanks. I’m glad you like it. I certainly appreciate the favorable comparison to Arlo, and yes, I do keep at it — there will be more where these came from, when I can get to it.

  • Jess Kash

    I have made a couple videos with literally no budget, nothing but my android phone and the triller app.. but im a single parent along with being a upcoming artist so while id love to have a budget for putting out my music, i virtually do not. But ive learned to make things happen as needed even when its just minimally. I released my first official album on April 19th 2017 “Street Goddess” and when I knew I had no budget for videos, I took to my phone to see what I could make happen. I think the videos came out pretty good overall.. but here is a link to one so whoever is reading this can be the judge 😉