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  • Writer's pictureWhitney G. L.

3 inexpensive tools for better music videos [with examples, links & photos]

Making a music video is an art that’s frequently lost and found. As tastes change and the pace of the world changes too, so do the trends in music videos. But, in my opinion, trends in music videos are just like trends in everything else… who cares?

As a music video fanatic, it’s become evident to me that the most successful music video creators are always pushing the envelope, thus keeping them ahead of their

Now granted - most high profile video director’s have massive budgets and equally large teams to help them make their visions come to life... and I know everybody ain't able (It’s me. I’m everybody). However, the journey starts somewhere and even without a robust budget and the extra help (get your coins and build a team though) you can certainly still make some music video magic.

And that's why I have created a short list titled:

“Behold: The low budget music video survival kit”

These are some of my favorite everyday items and low cost enhancers that give me the creative edge I need when shooting a music video with low resources, budget or manpower. In addition to things, of course you need your baseline tools which would be a camera, lens and accessories of your choice. A gimbal, tripod and a good pair of lights would be my suggestion of basic accessories. I won’t get into specifics on cameras and lenses but check out the lens video below.

Onward to the list:

#1. Color lights

You won’t watch a music video that has been created without the help of color lights. As we know colors are valuable for creating mood or ambience and also play a big part in emotional storytelling. Plus, they just look cool. So for me, that’s enough for them to be number 1 on this list.

There are many options of color lights to accommodate any budget. You can purchase a set of LED color lights or buy a colored light bulb from Kroger for use in practical lights. You can even wrap colored saran wrap around bi-colored LED lights to mimic a gel effect. *do not use the previous suggestion for bulb lighting or lights that become significantly warm with use

#2. Haze in a can (atmosphere aerosol)

This is a major game changer… especially in combination with a great lighting scheme. The atomic make up of haze or fog makes this element perfect for refracting light. In addition to that, there are so many moods you can create with haze, from creepy to dreamy to sexy. With a little creativity, you can use haze to enhance your shoot in so many ways. Of course, a haze or fog machine is a more expensive way to achieve this… but who wants to buy that (or carry it around) if there’s a cheaper smaller option, i.e. haze in a can.

#3. Rolly chair

No dolly tracks? No problem. The rolly chair is a golden substitute for higher end track systems, sliders or automated tripod heads. If you want to incorporate dramatic and dynamic movement into your shots, rolly chairs work great on smooth floors. You also have the option of moving yourself or having a crew mate push or pull you around the set. Rolly chairs have the ability to spin and move omnidirectionally which can offer countless combinations to add motion to your shots. Save buying a new office chair as your last result and see if you can borrow one from your place of employment or the location you’re shooting at. Rolly chairs can often be found for cheap at thrift stores and garage sales.

With these tools, you can bring a lot of support to the most valuable tool to use on any shoot… your creativity. There is always space for resourcefulness and imaginative thinking in our field of work and if you’re having fun, that’s over half the battle.

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